Trent Alexander-Arnold had a goal and two assists as Liverpool wore down sloppy Leicester City 4-0 at the King Power Stadium on Thursday.
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Roberto Firmino scored twice to join James Milner on the score sheet as Liverpool moved 13 points clear of the second place Foxes, who’ve played one more match. The Reds are 14 ahead of Man City.
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Notes from an onslaught
1. Alexander-Arnold at full bandwidth: Twenty-one years old and oozing with class, Liverpool’s English right back was nearly impeccable on Thursday.
The pinpoint crosses are nothing new, though they seem to grow in audacity, but the young Liverpool right back showed some show-stopping defensive chops in the first half when he raced back to cut out a Leicester City counterattack.
No one will be mistaking him for Philipp Lahm any time soon — he was dribbled by Caglar Soyuncu late, but Thursday’s showing was reason to believe he can become the total package.
It's only fitting that Trent gets his goal ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/i9uTYeELye
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) December 26, 2019
2. Liverpool joins Man City in putting Foxes in proper place: Over two matches in four days, Leicester City did almost nothing to inspire belief that they are a legitimate threat to Liverpool or Man City.
There’s no shame in that; The Man City and Liverpool projects are a lot further along than Brendan Rodgers‘ efforts at the King Power Stadium, but the Foxes’ miraculous history had plenty prodding their second place status as the harbinger of something more.
Look at these numbers from Leicester’s three matches versus the Reds and Citizens this season.
- Thursday: Foxes out shot 15-3, 41 percent possession.
- Leicester 1-3 Man City: Foxes out shot 23-5, 37 percent possession.
- Liverpool 2-1 Leicester: Foxes out shot 18-2, 49 percent possession.
City will drop into third place if Man City gets a point or more on Friday at Wolves, and it seems more likely they’ll have to worry about fending off Chelsea, Spurs for a Top Four place than dislodging either of the two teams above them.
first half xG map for Leicester – Liverpool
the one good thing you can say for Leicester is they've been comprehensively dismantled but only losing by one goal pic.twitter.com/SklnYpdM9n
— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) December 26, 2019
3. Qatar awakening spurs Firmino forward: The Brazilian center forward scored in the Club World Cup semifinal and final, and made it four goals in three matches with his brace on Thursday. Firmino has not scored in the Champions League and has just one goal in his last 11 Premier League matches before leaving for Qatar. He’s back.
Man of the Match: Alexander-Arnold.
Liverpool didn’t look jet lagged in the opening minutes, flying out of the gates to trouble Kasper Schmeichel twice in the first 90 seconds.
Leicester had a rare look at a 10th minute counter attack cut out by Trent Alexander-Arnold for a corner.
Naby Keita then used a counterattack to set up Mohamed Salah, who shot clumsily into the outside netting instead of cutting back for Sadio Mane.
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Ben Chilwell was exposed at the back post as Liverpool opened the scoring with a second chance ball off a corner kick. Alexander-Arnold served a ball to the back post and Firmino rose high to nod home.
The second half was essentially an exercise in wondering if Liverpool would find the second goal to erase thoughts of a dramatic equalizer. Firmino just missed turning a cross home in the 56th.
Jamie Vardy won a rare free kick in the 62nd minute, but James Maddison sent a wayward effort high and wide of the goal.
Caglar Soyuncu conceded a penalty in the 70th minute with a handball in the box, and substitute Milner did what he does from the spot.