The Reds restore faith in Kop faithful with win over league leaders
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool won 1-0 to defeat surprise league leaders Leicester City, following their 3-0 defeat to Watford last weekend, was not enough to dismount the Foxes from the top of the league, as Arsenal lost at Southampton.
1. Liverpool suffer Origi setback
Reds fans were left disappointed as Belgian striker Divock Origi was forced off after just 38 minutes with a hamstring injury which could keep the 20-year-old out for Liverpool’s next two or three fixtures according to Klopp.
Origi hadn’t been able to show what he was brought to the club for, having returned from his loan spell with Lille last season, under previous boss Brendan Rodgers. However, he has excelled under Klopp and led the line for the Reds as they desperately looked for three points against in-form Leicester.
However, his replacement, Christian Benteke, was able to find the net with the only goal of the game to ensure the three points stayed at Anfield.
2. Burn out for Foxes?
Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri revealed that top scorer Jamie Vardy played with a fever while Riyad Mahrez was tiring in defeat at Anfield. Both players have been vital in Leicester’s unexpected rise to the top of the Premier League, scoring vital goals in a memorable campaign for the Foxes.
However, Leicester seem to be struggling with both players burning out after an intense opening half to the campaign and Ranieri will be hoping their substitutions in this afternoon’s fixture won’t have an impact on the rest of the season, as they look to return to winning ways.
It was Leicester’s first loss in 13 matches, and now the side who were fighting relegation this time last season will have to show good character to recover from defeat and regain their winning mentality over Manchester City.
3. Klopp short of Striker options
With Origi now out for a short period there are certainly questions to be asked over Liverpool’s lack of strikers available to Klopp, with the January transfer window looming.
The Belgian may return soon, but will not want to be rushed back by the German to avoid causing further damage. Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge’s injury saga continues as the England international has no sooner returned to action to again be sidelined for a short period of time.
Danny Ings was ruled out for the season and Christian Benteke isn’t unknown to the treatment table, so Klopp may need to delve into the transfer market for a quality striker who could be a reliable asset to the Reds and answer their injury woes.
4. Benteke must prove his worth
Benteke arrived at the Anfield in the summer for £32.5 million and although the fans have warmed to his presence, the Belgium international is yet to show a consistent run of goalscoring form to impress the Kop.
He is the club’s top scorer, but, with fellow Belgium international Origi out for a short period of time, Benteke is likely to lead the line and the expectation will be on him to produce the goals that will get the Reds closer to the top four.
Benteke isn’t unknown to the Premier League and was very successful during his time with Aston Villa, who are certainly missing his goals, and now it is time for the Belgian to give Liverpool, Klopp and the fans the goals they all know they are missing out on.
5. ‘Long’ thoughts for Ranieri
Ranieri may have to think about his long ball approach going into the New Year, as their first defeat in 13 means suggests teams could be beginning to work them out. Vardy and Mahrez struggled at Anfield and opting for Leonardo Ulloa more regularly would provide a more typical Premier League option in the physicality of the Argentine.
The Foxes will not realistically be expected to beat Manchester City in the week, despite being at home and their current league position, but, in the New Year their fans, whose expectations will have no doubt increased this season, will be expecting a positive response from the start of 2016.