Live Commentary: Leicester City 1-2 Liverpool – as it happened

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Hello and welcome to Sports Mole‘s live text coverage of the Premier League clash between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes come into this match knowing that victory would temporarily take them level with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table, having bounced back from their opening-day defeat with successive wins.

Liverpool, however, are yet to drop a point or concede a goal during their perfect start to the season and could win their first four games of a Premier League campaign for the first time today.

Make sure you don’t miss a moment of the action courtesy of our minute-by-minute updates below.

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11.30amGood morning! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today’s early Premier League kickoff between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium!

This match pits two form teams against each other as Leicester look to continue their recovery from defeat on the opening day against a Liverpool side that tops the table in the early stages of the season.

It promises to be an entertaining affair, hopefully with plenty of goals too, so let’s waste no time in getting started with a look at the team news…

11.32amLEICESTER STARTING XI: Schmeichel; Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Ghezzal, Ndidi, Mendy, Albrighton; Maddison; Gray

11.32amLEICESTER SUBS: Ward, Evans, Amartey, Fuchs, Iheanacho, Okazaki, Iborra

11.34amLIVERPOOL STARTING XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mane

11.34amLIVERPOOL SUBS: Mignolet, Keita, Sturridge, Moreno, Lallana, Shaqiri, Matip

11.36amWhat can we make of those two teams, then?

Well, we’ll start with Liverpool and the first thing to note is that Jurgen Klopp has made a change to his starting lineup! After named the same XI for the opening three games of the campaign, the German has brought captain Jordan Henderson back into the fold this afternoon.

Henderson replaces Naby Keita in the team, despite the summer signing having impressed in the embryonic stages of his Liverpool career.

11.38amIt is otherwise as you were for the Reds, though, with Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner joining Henderson in midfield after both impressed once again during the victory over Brighton last weekend.

This is a landmark appearance for Milner too as he turns out for Liverpool for the 100th time in the Premier League, becoming only the fourth player – after Rory Delap, Gareth Barry and Garry Speed – to reach a century of Premier League appearances for three different clubs.

Liverpool midfielder James Milner in action during his side's Premier League clash with West Ham United on August 12, 2018© Reuters

11.40amMilner has arguably been one of Liverpool’s most important players so far this season, but it is the front three who will continue to make all the headlines, with Mane started the season with three goals in as many games and Salah just one behind.

Liverpool have actually failed to win any of the eight Premier League matches which Salah has started but failed to register a goal or an assist in, although the Egyptian king netted three times in the two Premier League clashes between these sides last season.

11.42amFor the first time in a while, Liverpool look as reliable at the back as they do exciting up front, so it is no surprise that Klopp leaves his defence untouched, with Gomez once again partnering the imperious Van Dijk.

Behind them is Alisson, who is yet to concede a goal since arriving at the club in the summer and could today become the fourth goalkeeper in Premier League history to keep a clean sheet in his first four starts, joining an eclectic bunch which includes Alex Manninger, Anders Lindegaard and Pepe Reina.

11.44amAs for Leicester, the glaring absence from their lineup is Jamie Vardy, who continues his suspension this afternoon following his red card against Wolves a fortnight ago.

Vardy is, of course, a huge miss for Leicester against any team having ended the last three seasons as the club’s top scorer, but he seems to come alive even more in these big games and has scored 27 of Leicester’s 63 league goals against the big six since their return to the top flight in 2014-15 – that’s a whopping 43%.

Vardy has a particularly good record against Liverpool too, having scored seven in his last five games against the Reds. Leicester as an entire team, including Vardy, have only got nine goals in that time.

11.46amThere is plenty of responsibility of the young shoulders of Demarai Gray and James Maddison, then, both of whom start as the most forward-thinking players for Leicester today as Kelechi Iheanacho is left on the bench.

Both Gray and Maddison have shown plenty of promise and are already off the mark for the new season, but this will be a big test for them against a defence which is yet to concede a goal in the Premier League.

11.48amLeicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel will be celebrating a new contract today having committed his future to the club yesterday, and he will once again be protected by the defensive duo of Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire.

The latter of those scored a dramatic late winner against Southampton last time out to increase his growing reputation even further, and he will be a danger from set pieces again today, which could be a good way to break Liverpool down for the hosts.

Leicester City defender Harry Maguire in action during a Premier League match against Burnley in April 2018© Reuters

11.50amManager Claude Puel has made two changes to his side for today’s match from the 2-1 win over Southampton last weekend, with Iheanacho and Amartey both dropping to the bench as Ghezzal – who scored during the midweek EFL Cup win over Fleetwood Town – and Marc Albrighton come into the starting XI.

That is likely to mean a deeper role once again for Pereira, who has made a very positive start to life as a Leicester player.

11.52amLeicester should come into this match full of confidence, but this will be their biggest test since the opening-day defeat to Manchester United – and some would argue it is an even bigger test than that trip to Old Trafford.

The Foxes were perhaps a little unfortunate to end up on the losing side in that game, but Puel will have been delighted with the way they have responded, winning back-to-back league games to take them up to 12th in the table.

11.54amA 12th-placed finish at the end of the campaign would probably be a bit disappointing for the Foxes, but there are signs that they are heading in the right direction, despite a lingering air of uncertainty surrounding Puel’s style of play at the club.

Leicester were a little fortunate to beat Wolves 2-0 a fortnight ago, although the fact they did so with 10 men would encourage Puel, and they then needed a stoppage-time winner to come from behind and beat Southampton – who themselves were a man down – last weekend.

11.56amThe loss of Riyad Mahrez in the summer does not seem to have had a major early effect on Leicester’s form, then, and a victory this afternoon would take them temporarily joint-top of the table, alongside Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Watford on nine points.

The growing feelgood factor at the club will have only been helped by a 4-0 win over Fleetwood Town in the EFL Cup on Tuesday too, with Fuchs and Ghezzal both scoring fine goals in the rout of Joey Barton’s side.

Christian Fuchs celebrates scoring during the EFL Cup second-round game between Leicester City and Fleetwood Town on August 28, 2018© Reuters

11.58amLeicester could win four games on the bounce – and three Premier League games in a row – for the first time since December 2017 this afternoon, and they have looked strong enough here at the King Power Stadium so far to suggest that they are capable of giving Liverpool a run for their money.

Both of their home games so far this term have resulted in wins and clean sheets, beating Wolves 2-0 in their only such Premier League game and then easing to that victory over Fleetwood earlier this week.

12pmAnother victory today would hand Leicester wins in their first two home games of a top-flight campaign for the first time since way back in 1966, and including a victory over Arsenal at the tail end of last season it would be a third successive home league win.

The Foxes have not managed that since a run of five came to an end in May 2017, although that streak did start with a 3-1 triumph over Liverpool at this very stadium.

12.02pmHowever, Leicester do not have the best record against teams who sit top of the table when they come up against them. Indeed, it is a rather miserable run of zero points from the last 30 on offer.

The Foxes have lost their last 10 league outings against the leaders at the start of the season, scoring only four goals in that time while conceding 25. Of course, it should also be noted that they spent the vast majority of one season sitting top of the pile themselves en route to the title.

12.04pmOne thing Leicester will be keen to avoid today is a red card, as playing against Liverpool 11 vs. 11 is difficult enough.

Puel’s side are already without the influential Jamie Vardy, and there have been eight red cards in Premier League games involving Leicester since the start of last season – second only to Everton (11) in the top flight.

12.06pmLiverpool, meanwhile, will travel to the King Power Stadium looking to maintain their perfect start to the season – not just in terms of results but also in terms of not conceding a goal.

It is still very early days of course, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side are the league leaders after three games of the campaign courtesy of three wins, three clean sheets and seven goals scored so far. Today’s match is arguably their biggest test of the campaign so far, though.

An understated Jurgen Klopp during the Premier League game between Liverpool and West Ham United on August 12, 2018© Reuters

12.08pmThe Reds were tipped by many to be the main challengers to Manchester City’s crown this season, and their early-season form suggests that they could indeed mount a challenge.

City have already dropped points this season, but it should also be noted that Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea – along with the less-likely Watford – have also made 100% starts to the season. Tottenham’s win at Manchester United on Monday night in particular had many backing them to sustain a title challenge this season too.

12.10pmJurgen Klopp will know that it is far too early to be looking at the table or considering title challenges, though, and his rhetoric in the buildup to this match has been aiming for three points, rather than making it 12 points from a possible 12.

Should Liverpool achieve that then it would be their best ever start to a Premier League season; the last time their won their opening four games of a top-flight campaign was under Kenny Dalglish in 1990-91.

12.12pmLiverpool could also keep clean sheets in their opening four games of a Premier League season for only the second time, with the first of those coming in 2005-06, so the signs are certainly pointing in the right direction for the Reds.

For years, Liverpool’s defence has been the Achilles heel of their team and the thing which has, on occasion, prevented them from winning the title. The arrivals of Van Dijk in January and Alisson in the summer have brought an air of confidence at the back, though, and suddenly they can boast one of the strongest backlines in the division.

12.14pmIndeed, including the final game of last season Liverpool have now won their last four Premier League games without conceding, beating West Ham 4-0, Crystal Palace 2-0 and Brighton 1-0 so far this term.

Should they win again today and keep another clean sheet then it would be their longest such run of wins without conceding since December 2005, when they went on an eight-match streak under Rafael Benitez.

12.16pmAny victory would make it five Premier League wins in a row for the first time since March 2015, and there is certainly an increased level of consistency around the team nowadays, having won 21 and lost only three of their last 32 Premier League outings.

Key to that has been their improving ability to win when not playing at their best, and they showed that both away to Crystal Palace and at home to Brighton in their last two matches – a crucial element to being able to win titles.

Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah celebrates with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane after opening the scoring during his side's Premier League clash with Brighton & Hove Albion on August 25, 2018© Reuters

12.18pmLiverpool’s 2-0 win at Selhurst Park was their first in their last four Premier League away games, though, and today they are bidding to win two on the bounce for the first time since February.

All five of their defeats last season came away from home, and they would have finished outside the Champions League places if only away form counted, so it is in these matches that they need to improve if they are to fulfil the pre-season predictions of title challengers.

12.20pmPREDICTION: Right, we’re 10 minutes away from kickoff at the King Power Stadium, which means that it is time for a prediction!

The loss of Jamie Vardy could be crucial to Leicester’s chances today. The Foxes have the ability to cause Liverpool problems, but the Reds are full of confidence. We’re going for a narrow away win!

SPORTS MOLE SAYS: Leicester 1-2 Liverpool

12.22pmLiverpool do not have the best record here at the King Power Stadium, having lost three of their last four visits across all competitions.

However, the Reds did win their most recent trip to this stadium, with Salah, Coutinho and Henderson all on the scoresheet during an entertaining 3-2 win last September.

12.24pmThat victory ended a run of three straight defeats at the King Power for the Reds, and they completed the double over the Foxes on December 30 too, with Salah scored twice as they came from behind to win 2-1.

Leicester did record one win over Liverpool last season, though, triumphing in the EFL Cup here before losing those two Premier League contests.

12.26pmLiverpool may have lost this exact fixture in two of the past three seasons, but their overall league record against Leicester in recent years is encouraging.

The Reds have won eight of their last 12 Premier League meetings with the Foxes, with two draws and those two defeats in that time.

12.28pmRight, the players are out, the sun is out and we’re almost ready to go at the King Power. A reminder of the team news before we get started…

LEICESTER STARTING XI: Schmeichel; Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Ghezzal, Ndidi, Mendy, Albrighton; Maddison; Gray

LIVERPOOL STARTING XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mane

1 minKICKOFF:  Here we go, then! Liverpool get us underway at the King Power Stadium!

3 minLiverpool have seen the majority of the ball in these opening exchanges, as expected, but nothing in terms of attacking chances for either side in the first few minutes.

4 minCHANCE!  Scrap that, Liverpool do create an early chance and they really should be ahead here!

The ball is played in low to Firmino inside the area and the Brazilian only has the keeper to beat, but drills his low strike too close to Schmeichel. The ball rebounds out to Salah, who simply has to score, but he puts his effort wide of the target!

6 minLiverpool look like they are in the mood today. Salah threads a good ball through for Firmino down the left channel, but the Brazilian is muscled off the ball having reached the byline.

8 minGood response from Leicester now as they press high up the pitch, increase the intensity and get the volume of the crowd up. This one has started at a really good tempo!

10 minGOAL!  LEICESTER 0-1 LIVERPOOL (SADIO MANE)

10 minLiverpool do have the early lead, and it is Sadio Mane who breaks the deadlock at the King Power Stadium!

It is Robertson who creates it with a powerful run down the left flank, going through Pereira too easily before pulling the ball back for Mane. There is a stroke of luck as Maguire gets a toe to the ball but hits it against Mane, and the ball runs kindly for him to poke it past Schmeichel.

Liverpool striker Sadio Mane scores the opening goal during his side's Premier League clash with Leicester on September 1, 2018© Reuters

12 minThat is four goals in four Premier League games for Mane this season, taking him to the outright lead in the very early stages of the Golden Boot race.

14 minLiverpool have enjoyed 66% of the possession in this opening quarter-of-an-hour or so, and they are looking rather comfortable at the moment. They have created the chances to deserve their lead, and Leicester are yet to really get into this game.

16 minSHOT!  Half a chance for Liverpool to double their lead as Milner swings in a corner which Gomez rises to meet, but he cannot get over it and sends his effort well off target.

17 min

19 minIntricate football from Liverpool once again as Salah threads a pass through to Firmino on the byline, but his cutback only finds a blue shirt in the middle with Mane having made a different run.

21 minLiverpool are looking dangerous almost every time they come forward now. Again they break into the box and the ball eventually falls to Robertson, whose low cross into the middle is cleared away by Maguire. The pressure is building!

23 minCHANCE!  Better from Leicester as they make their brightest break forward so far and force Alisson into action for the first time. The ball is slipped into Gray inside the area and he gets his shot away, but Alisson is down smartly to his right to parry it clear.

23 minCHANCE!  Much better from Leicester as they make their brightest break forward so far. It ends with Gray getting into the box and releasing a shot, but Alisson is down smartly to his right to parry the danger away.

25 minLeicester are starting to grow into this game now and the crowd are beginning to react too. The hosts are seeing more of the ball now and are beginning to ask a few questions of the Liverpool defence.

27 minHere is the only goal of the game so far, with Mane capitalising on some good work from Robertson down the left…

29 minWe’re approaching the half-hour mark in this match now and Puel will certainly be happier now than he was about 10 minutes ago. His side no longer look vulnerable when Liverpool come forward and they are starting to impose some of their own game on the visitors now.

31 minJurgen Klopp will be wanting his side to just get hold of the ball for a while again here. Their early stranglehold has been loosened now, and while they are still ahead, they cannot afford to drop off too much here.

32 minSHOT!  Leicester win the ball back in midfield again and Albrighton carries it into a bit of space before going for goal, but he is a long way out and his effort is never troubling Alisson.

33 minSHOT!  This time it is Maddison who twists and turns before letting fly from range, but his strike flies over the crossbar. Maddison wants a corner, but the referee says no.

35 minLeicester are on top at the moment and Liverpool are unable to get out of their own half right now. It has been a huge improvement from the Foxes over the past 15 minutes or so.

37 minLeicester are getting through some really good work off the ball. They are enjoying the majority of possession, but also managing to quell Liverpool’s threat on the counter-attack with some hard work in midfield.

39 minSAVE!  Leicester have largely been limited to long-range efforts for all their pressure, and Chilwell is the latest to have a pop here, but it is easy for Alisson to collect.

41 minThis has been a strange performance from Liverpool in the second half of this first half. They looked very dangerous during the opening 20 minutes or so, but since then the tempo has completely dropped and they have been on the back foot.

43 minSAVE!  Suddenly Salah finds himself in a bit of space and immediately looks to take advantage of it, cutting onto his left foot and trying to feed one into the bottom corner. Schmeichel does well to get down and parry it away, though.

45 minGOAL!  LEICESTER 0-2 LIVERPOOL (ROBERTO FIRMINO)

45 minLiverpool have their second right on the stroke of half time, and it comes very much against the run of play!

A corner from the right goes over the head of Gomez, and Firmino is waiting there to plant a header of his own into the corner past Schmeichel. The Brazilian’s first of the season!

45+1 minHALF TIME:  LEICESTER 0-2 LIVERPOOL

1.24pmThe first half comes to an end at the King Power Stadium, then, and it is Liverpool who take a 2-0 lead into the break against Leicester.

The scoreline is harsh on the hosts, who were on top for a large chunk of that opening 45 minutes, but Liverpool have taken their chances and are now well on course for a fourth win from four in the Premier League this season.

1.26pmThe opening goal took just 10 minutes to arrive, and at that stage it was fully deserved for Liverpool following a really bright start to the match.

Robertson was the architect with a powerful run down the left which saw him shrug off a challenge from Pereira before playing a low ball into the box which Mane poked past Schmeichel for his fourth goal of the season already.

Liverpool striker Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the opening goal during his side's Premier League clash with Leicester on September 1, 2018© Reuters

1.28pmLeicester certainly grew into the game as the first half wore on, but Liverpool’s second goal right on the stroke of half time has left them with a mountain to climb in the second half.

Firmino’s goal came from a corner, with the Brazilian escaping the attention of Maddison before plating a firm header into the bottom corner past Schmeichel – his first goal of the season.

1.30pmLeicester manager Claude Puel will justifiably feel hard done by that his side are behind, but despite seeing plenty of the ball in that first half they have found clear chances difficult to come by, with Gray’s shot which tested Alisson he closest they have come.

Liverpool, meanwhile, should have broken the deadlock even earlier than they managed, with Firmino seeing a fourth-minute strike saved by Schmeichel before Salah somehow put the rebound wide.

46 minKICKOFF:  Leicester get us back underway at the start of the second half!

48 minSHOT!  Ghezzal cuts inside onto his left foot and feeds a cross/shot into the box which has Alisson a little worried. It fizzes across the six yard box, but there are no blue shirts in there and it ends up bouncing wide of the far post.

50 minSAVE!  Maddison has arguably been Leicester’s best player so far this afternoon and he finds space to shoot here, bending an effort towards goal with plenty of power from 25 yards out. Alisson makes it look easy, though, catching the effort and immediately looking to launch an attack.

52 minCHANCE!  Brilliant defending from Gomez as he throws himself in the way of Maddison’s powerful effort from inside the box after some dancing footwork from the midfielder in the area. Really good play from Maddison, but that is brilliant from Gomez.

53 minSAVE!  Leicester keep the pressure on as Ndidi goes for goal, but this one is easy for Alisson.

55 minYELLOW CARD!  Leicester have picked up where they left off from the first half here, and Maddison is really starting to cause problems for Van Dijk here. The Dutchman goes into the book for a foul on the Leicester man, gifting the hosts a free kick in a very good position…

56 minMaddison takes the free kick on himself, but the wall does its job and blocks the effort.

57 minCHANCE!  Big chance for Leicester to pull a goal back, but it falls to the wrong man! An inswinging cross arrives from the right and it is flicked on into a dangerous area. Morgan is there, but he isn’t expecting it and can’t sort his feet out in time.

58 minCHANCE!  Liverpool respond with a quick counter-attack as Milner wins the ball in midfield and gives it to Salah, who cuts inside but turns down the shot and instead tries to find Milner with a return pass which allows Morgan to step in.

60 minLeicester are not short of belief that they can get back into this game. They are putting Liverpool under plenty of pressure and the next goal in this match will be crucial.

61 minLEICESTER SUB: Leicester make the change as Kelechi Iheanacho replaces Albrighton.

63 minGOAL!  LEICESTER 1-2 LIVERPOOL (RACHID GHEZZAL)

63 minLeicester get the goal they deserve, but it is a horror show from Alisson!

The keeper has been praised for the start he has made to his Liverpool career, but his first goal conceded for the club is entirely his fault. He tries to be too clever with the ball at his feet and is tackled by Iheanacho, who turns down the shot from a tight angle himself and plays it back for Ghezzal who fires home before Aisson can recover.

65 minThat really was shocking work from Alisson – the keeper was almost caught by Glenn Murray last week and this time he does get punished. It almost looked like he was trying to take Iheanacho on just for the sake of it.

67 minLeicester are swarming all over Liverpool now, and the visitors do not look comfortable in possession at all. The Reds will do very well to escape from this one with all three points.

69 minAlisson has had the ball at his feet on a couple of occasions since that mistake, and both times he has put his laces through it and cleared the danger. Back down to earth with a bump!

71 minLIVERPOOL SUBS: Interesting double change from Liverpool here as captain and last season’s top scorer are replaced. Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita replace Salah and Henderson.

73 minCover your eyes Liverpool fans, here is that Leicester goal…

75 minLEICESTER SUB: Another change for the hosts here as Gray is replaced by Shinji Okazaki.

77 minThose Liverpool changes do seem to have helped stem the tide a bit for the visitor, who have been second best in this match since around the 20th minute. Leicester deserve something from this game for sure.

79 minJust over 10 minutes remaining in this match now and Liverpool have finally managed to take the sting out of Leicester momentarily.

81 minChilwell needs some extra treatment here after being struck in a very tender area of the body. That stoppage only helps Liverpool as they look to weather Leicester’s storm in this second half.

82 minCHANCE!  Half a chance for Liverpool to restore their two-goal advantage as Mane climbs highest in the area to meet a cross, but he cannot direct his header on target.

83 minLEICESTER SUB: A third and final change for the hosts sees Daniel Amartey replace Maddison, who has had a really good game today.

85 minJurgen Klopp will be much happy with how this game is looking now than how it was about 10 minutes ago. Liverpool have regained some semblance of control over proceedings, but they have been really poor in this second half.

86 minSHOT!  Robertson gets forward down the left before playing a ball back into the middle which Alexander-Arnold meets with a first-time strike, firing his effort over the crossbar.

88 minYELLOW CARD!  Mendy picks up a late yellow card for a cynical foul on Mane.

89 minLIVERPOOL SUB: Liverpool make their final change as Joel Matip replaces Alexander-Arnold.

90+1 minThere will be five minutes of added time at the end of this match.

90+3 minLeicester win a free kick in a good position, but it is cleared behind for a corner. Up comes Schmeichel…

90+5 minYELLOW CARD!  Ndidi picks up a late yellow card for a challenge on Keita.

90+6 minFULL TIME:  LEICESTER 1-2 LIVERPOOL

2.28pmLiverpool hold out for the victory, then, and it is one which they are very fortunate to get away with. Leicester were the better team today quite comfortably, but Liverpool once again win ugly to make it four wins from four at the start of the season.

Goals from Mane – when Liverpool were on top – and Firmino – against the run of play – gave the Reds a flattering two-goal lead at half time, and even though Alisson gifted Leicester one back with a shocking error in the second half, Klopp’s side just about managed to hold on.

2.30pmRight, that is all we have time for this afternoon!

Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today’s match as Liverpool make it four wins from four at the start of the new season – albeit in fairly unconvincing fashion. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.

From me, though, it is goodbye for now!

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