Liverpool defied their injury woes again with a dominant 3-0 win against Leicester City to rise above them in the Premier League table and extend their home unbeaten run to a record 64 league games.
Despite the international break adding the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson to their long list of absentees, the home side showed no sign of being fazed by it.
A couple of fantastic saves from Kasper Schmeichel should have been wake-up calls for the Leicester defence but Jonny Evans’ own goal in the 21st minute showed that they were still fast asleep.
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The Northern Irish centre-back was too busy wrestling with Sadio Mane in the penalty area to notice where the ball was when James Milner whipped in a corner and it went in off the back of his head.
The home side doubled their lead in the 41st minute after a wonderful passing move that started with Curtis Jones in midfield and ended with the onrushing Diogo Jota heading the ball into the back of the net from a fizzed Andy Robertson cross.
Leicester had a few half-chances of their own on the counter-attack but they will be relieved to not have lost by even more goals, especially considering how many times Liverpool hit the woodwork or had the ball cleared off the line in the second half.
However, the Reds sealed the win when the unmarked Roberto Firmino headed home a Milner corner in the 86th minute to make it three.
They will be playing host to Atlanta in the Champions League on Wednesday night before travelling to Brighton for their next Premier League fixture at the weekend, whereas the Foxes have a midweek Europa League match away to Braga before their weekend game against Fulham.
Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - Diogo Jota is good. Really good.
Many raised their eyebrows when Diogo Jota joined Liverpool from Wolves in September for £41million plus add-ons. While some fans saw the need for an extra rotation option to supplement their front three, spending that much money on someone who only scored seven Premier League goals the previous season and was potentially losing his starting place at Wolves to Daniel Podence seemed to be a rare misstep for Liverpool's sporting director Michael Edwards.
However, the Portuguese international has added even more star quality to one of world football's strongest attacks and rather than simply easing the burden on Firmino, who last season struggled to convert his chances at Anfield, he has likely surpassed the Brazilian in the pecking order at the club, for now at least. That is thanks to his four goals in his first four home league games - something that no Liverpool player had ever achieved before. His usefulness to the team is benefited by the fact that he is more adept at playing centrally than Mane and Salah, yet is equally as comfortable as them playing out wide or even behind the striker.
If this rich vein of form continues for Jota, Firmino might have to find other ways to make an impact. His ability to influence the game even when not scoring is an often lauded trait of his and now more than ever is the time for him to demonstrate that.
MAN OF THE MATCH - James Milner
The Reds' utility man was typically industrious filling in for Alexander-Arnold at right-back. Both him and Robertson did really well to provide the home side with additional width and supply the attackers with plenty of dangerous crosses. The first and third goals both came from his venomous corners - a great way to celebrate a door being named after him at Liverpool's newly opened training ground.
Liverpool: Alisson 8, Matip 8, Fabinho 7, Milner 9, Robertson 9, Jones 7, Wijnaldum 7, Keita 8, Jota 9, Firmino 7, Mane 7. Subs: Williams 7, Origi N/A, Minamino N/A.
Leicester: Schmeichel 8, Evans 4, Fofana 6, Fuchs 5, Justin 6, Albrighton 5, Tielemans 6, Mendy 5, Barnes 5, Maddison 7, Vardy 6. Subs: Praet 5, Under 5.
21' - GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Leicester (Evans og). Leicester concede in calamitous circumstances! Milner sends in a darting corner and Evans was so preoccupied with grappling Mane that he lost sight off the ball and it hit the back of his head before flying past Schmeichel.
41 - GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Leicester (Jota). Wonderful move from Liverpool! Jones switches it to Robertson on the left with a pinpoint pass, he beats Justin and whips in a fast-paced cross. Jota sprints into the box to meet it and guides his header into the back of the net to make it 2-0! He's now scored in four consecutive home games for Liverpool.
56' - OFF THE LINE! No clue how the Foxes have managed to keep that one out! Schmeichel makes an acrobatic save to take the sting out of Mane's curling shot but the ball looks to be spiralling into the goal until Fuchs somehow manages to get back in time and clear the ball off the line!
57' - OFF THE POST! Almost a second own goal of the evening for Evans, as he heads the ball onto his own post after yet another great save from Schmeichel. He's having a torrid time out there.
62' - DOUBLE SAVE! How has Alisson managed to keep the ball out?! Mendy is fouled by Wijnaldum and Leicester win a free-kick in a dangerous area. Maddison tries to dink it over the wall but his lofted pass is quite weak and has to be helped on by the head of a Liverpool defender. The ball finds its way to Vardy through on goal but he can't get around Alisson and Tielemans tries to score on the rebound, but it wouldn't have counted anyway because the flag is up for offside.
77' - OFF THE POST! It's honestly a miracle that Liverpool aren't many more goals ahead! Firmino's low strike ricochets off the post for starters, then Mane has a shot deflected onto the post too after Albrighton struggled to get it away.
86' - GOAL! Liverpool 3-0 Leicester (Firmino). Liverpool convert from another Milner corner to make it three! Firmino is completely unmarked as he rises to head the ball past Schmeichel for his second Premier League goal at home this season. He only scored at home in the league once in 19/20.
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