Leicester profit as stumbling Liverpool suffer collapse

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Leicester City scored three goals in the space of seven minutes to stun Liverpool as the Premier League champions slipped to a 3-1 defeat in Jurgen Klopp's 300th match in charge.

Mohamed Salah's carefully placed finish gave the visitors a 67th-minute lead at the King Power Stadium, yet from a position of strength they suffered a dramatic collapse to slip to a third successive loss. 

James Maddison equalised with a free-kick from a tight angle – the strike was initially ruled out for offside prior to a VAR check – before a calamitous moment between Alisson, at fault for two goals in last Sunday's 4-1 loss to Manchester City, and debutant Ozan Kabak gifted Jamie Vardy his first goal of 2021. 

With Liverpool still reeling, Harvey Barnes wrapped up a first win for Brendan Rodgers over his former employers since the end of his Anfield reign – and moved his current club six points clear of them in the table. 

For Klopp, however, it was another setback in a difficult season. His milestone appeared set to be celebrated with a win when Roberto Firmino pirouetted in possession inside the penalty area to tee up Salah for the opener.

Liverpool had been in the ascendancy to that point – despite James Milner becoming the latest name added to a lengthy casualty list – but a team lacking in confidence caved in following Maddison's set-piece leveller.

After his error-strewn showing against table-topping City, Alisson needlessly rushed out of his area and collided with Kabak as they both went for a long ball, leaving Vardy an easy tap-in into an unguarded net.

Leicester were not finished there, though, as a suddenly wide-open defence allowed Barnes to run in and place a low shot into the net, surely landing the knockout blow to any slim hopes Liverpool had of climbing back into the title race.

What does it mean? Klopp facing huge test

Liverpool have lost three consecutive league games for the first time since November 2014, back when Rodgers was at the helm. His replacement has led the club to success at home and abroad in the Champions League, but a potential blip has surely now turned into a full-blown crisis.

Klopp will have concerns over what he saw at both ends of the pitch; the away team had 15 shots but just four hit the target, while the merry-go-round at centre-back has left the defensive line looking vulnerable to every attack.

Leicester ruthlessly cashed in against fragile opponents, keeping them on course for a top-four finish. Liverpool, meanwhile, are looking over their shoulders. 

Vardy party back in full swing

Former England international Vardy certainly likes playing against Liverpool. The gift of a goal in this game was his eighth against them – only against Arsenal (11) has he scored more in the Premier League.

Kabak to basics in defence

Poor Kabak. Signed on deadline day from Schalke, initially on loan with an option to buy, the centre-back had a debut he will want to forget. He received a card just prior to Valentine's Day, but was shown little love by team-mate Alisson as the pair contrived to gift the hosts the lead. 

Key Opta Facts

- Liverpool have lost three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since November 2014, when managed by current Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers.

- Jurgen Klopp is the ninth manager to take charge of 300 games for Liverpool in all competitions, while the German became the first Reds boss to lose his 300th match since Bill Shankly in 1965.

- Rodgers is the first former Liverpool manager to beat the Reds in the Premier League since Roy Hodgson did so with West Brom in April 2012.

- Liverpool have conceded seven goals in their last two Premier League games, as many as they had in their previous 10. Indeed, the Reds have conceded 32 goals in 24 league games this season, just one fewer than they did in the whole of 2019-20.

- Only against Arsenal (11) has Leicester striker Jamie Vardy scored more Premier League goals than he has against Liverpool (8).

What's next?

Liverpool head to Budapest for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with RB Leipzig on Tuesday, then have the small matter of a Merseyside derby against Everton to follow next weekend. Leicester have a Europa League fixture away at Sparta Prague on Thursday. 

Source Omnisport