Leicester City got revenge on Liverpool in their latest Premier League meeting. Having lost one nil to the Reds at Anfield in December, for me it was always on the cards. In fact I had an uneasy feeling all day about this game and all my usual match day rituals couldn’t help Jürgen Klopps team get a valuable win over the League leaders, which would have given fans and players the belief that top four is a real possibility. Now Liverpool fans are left dejected and back to feeling that the Brendan Rodgers curse still lingers at Anfield. But as I saw someone say after the match, if you buy mid table players, where in the league do you expect to finish up. The days when teams could pluck players from lower leagues and turn them in to league winners is all but gone.
Jamie Vardy is the man of the hour. For ninety minutes he torremented the Liverpool defensive pairing if Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho (and I don’t care what Graeme Kelly says Liverpool DO NOT need Martin Skrtel back). The defence this season has been Liverpool’s achilles heel. The constant chopping and changing of centre backs I believe has led to a lack of confidence amongst the likes of Lovren, Sakho, Skrtel and Kolo Toure. As bad as Liverpool were defensively, Leicester were as good offensively. They look like they belong at the top of the table, they look like they can beat all the teams around them and go on to win the league, which would be a fantastic achievement by them. I don’t think any team had ever gained promotion from the Championship and won the Premier League the next season. (Check out the piece I did on Leicester on EPLIndex from s couple months ago).
Liverpool’s slim hopes of possibly getting a Champions League spot via the league are all but done. Especially with Spurs moving ahead of Arsenal In to third in the league, in my opinion only Manchester United can over take Arsenal at this stage in the top four. I’m sure Jürgen Klopp will be brutally honest as he usually is about the latest defeat but I think he missed a trick by benching Cameron Brannagan and Joe Allen. It was clear, Jordan Henderson wasn’t at hundred percent fit. Lucas for me was ineffective and, because of his midfield pairing Emre Can had one of his less influential games. At times he was vritually inuisance. He suffered the indignity of being substituted for Allen while Lucas stayed on the pitch which to me was unbelievable. I’m not going to second guess Klopp and his thinking behind the team selection but I think now is the time for him to blood in the younger players, the likes of Brannagan, Sheji Ojo, Joao Teixeira, Danny Ward, forget about the Premier League and just concentrate on the three cup competitions Liverpool still have an interest in, otherwise this season will go down as a complete shambles.
What next for Claudio Ranieri and his team? First up is the meeting of title rivals (am I the only one who thinks that sounds just wrong?) Manchester City at weekend. If they avoid defeat to them, then maybe they can start to believe that they can go on to win the title. Ranieri is a manager if vast experience and I’m sure he’s drumming it in to his players that being top of the league at the start of February counts for nothing if they’re not there come May. But if they keep on performing like they did against Liverpool there’s no reason why they can’t go on to win it. They’ve already taken points of all the teams around them this season and they now have nothing to fear. This season is already deemed a success for them. They’re safe from relegation and will only benefit from the TV money that’s coming in to effect next season and hopefully they invest it wisely and hold on to their key players because if they do I think they might just become a regular feature at the top of the Premier League for years to come.