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‘Best I’ve ever seen’ – Klopp praises Reds recovery as Salah inspires comeback win over Leicester

Mohamed Salah scores for Liverpool against Leicester

Mohamed Salah has scored 17 goals in the Premier League so far this season – just one less than Harry Kane.

Manager Jurgen Klopp called Liverpool’s reaction to going a goal down against Leicester the “best I’ve ever seen” after Mohamed Salah’s double helped them come from behind to win at Anfield.

Jamie Vardy gave the visitors an early lead when he poked home from a Riyad Mahrez pass before Salah equalised in the second half.

The Egypt international then turned Harry Maguire on the edge of the area before firing in his second of the day – and 17th Premier League goal of the season – to give Liverpool the lead.

Klopp described the hosts’ performance as “perfect” and the Reds, who will finish the year in fourth place, extended their unbeaten run to 15 games.

Leicester stay in eighth but have now gone six games without a victory.

“On perfect days we win football games,” said Klopp.

“The crowd were unbelievable and we needed them today to score these two goals. It’s a good team performance and a well-deserved win.”

The only concern will surround the fitness of match-winner Salah, who Klopp said was “limping” when he was substituted with less than 10 minutes left to play.

“We have to check it,” added the German. “We tried to change it as quick as possible and of course that is not too good.”

Klopp’s men show persistence

Liverpool have failed to capitalise on their chances too many times this season – having to settle for draws against both West Brom and Spartak Moscow after dominating for 90 minutes.

That was not the case on Saturday as the Reds battled through a tough defensive unit to come back from a goal down against the 2016 Premier League champions.

There were still plenty of missed opportunities – Salah squandered four efforts in the first half alone, before Liverpool’s top scorer made up for it with two clinical finishes after the break.

It still took 17 shots, six on target, for the hosts to get the result they needed but the recovery from falling behind so early is an encouraging sign for Klopp’s side as they head into the new year.

At the other end, it was a fairly solid performance from centre-back duo Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, who have both been criticised for their performances at times this season.

Overall, Klopp has much to be pleased about after his team produced a persistent display against the Foxes, who have so far been something of a bogey side for the German manager.

Before Saturday’s victory, the Reds had lost three times against Leicester under Klopp – more than they have to any other club since he took over in October 2015.

Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring for Leicester against Liverpool<!–

Jamie Vardy has scored seven of Leicester past nine goals against Liverpool in the Premier League

Vardy continues to haunt Reds

Leicester went into half-time with the lead thanks to yet another goal from Vardy – his 10th of the season.

His record against Liverpool is impressive – scoring seven of Leicester’s past nine goals against the Reds in the Premier League.

It was no surprise to see him identified as a threat before the game and he was just that – running in behind the defenders and looking to find spaces behind Liverpool’s back four.

There were signs of danger for the home side when Vardy found space on the left even before his third-minute opener.

He could have doubled Leicester’s lead shortly before half-time too but for a heavy touch which allowed Lovren time to recover.

Even after Salah’s equaliser, England striker Vardy continued to be a constant threat, with the offside flag coming to Liverpool’s aid on more than one occasion.

It was therefore a surprise to see him substituted with the teams level – alongside Mahrez, who had assisted Vardy’s early goal.

The pair have scored in five of the Foxes’ seven games this month and fans will no doubt question Claude Puel’s decision to take both of them off with more than 15 minutes still left to play.

What the managers said

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Liverpool 2-1 Leicester: Klopp concerned by possible Salah injury

Liverpool manager Klopp: “It is a maximum satisfaction to win like this today and on perfect days we win football games. Today was pretty much perfect.

“When we were one goal down our reaction was the best I’ve ever seen in this situation. The crowd were unbelievable and we needed them today to score these two goals.

“Mo [Salah] was fantastic with his dribbling and his vision. I couldn’t ask more from him. Staying in the game is the real deal of football in this league – but I am happy for Mo, I am happy for the team, because this group is a fantastic group of players. It’s a good team performance and a well-deserved win.”

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Liverpool turnaround frustrates Puel

Leicester manager Puel: “Of course, after a defeat it is a disappointment – but Liverpool played their best today.

“We did well to score first and we tried to keep that in the second half. We need to continue our work, but it is important to concentrate on the game on Monday and forget this game to move forward.

“We lost the ball too quickly and we could have launched counter-attacks better, but it was a good game with a positive attitude of unselfish players and now we must look forward to Monday.”

Prolific Salah – the best of the stats

  • Liverpool have scored 77 goals in 30 games so far this season – their highest total at this stage of a campaign as a top-flight club.
  • After winning four in a row under Puel, the Foxes have since gone four Premier League games without a win, losing three, and have lost consecutive league matches for the first time since September.
  • Salah has been directly involved in 22 goals in 21 league appearances for Liverpool this season (17 goals, five assists).
  • Salah (23 goals) has scored more goals in all competitions this season than eight Premier League clubs (Crystal Palace, Burnley, Brighton, Swansea, West Brom, Huddersfield, Southampton and Newcastle).
  • Of Vardy’s 51 Premier League goals, 22 have come against ‘big six opposition’ (43%).
  • Vardy (seven) has scored more Premier League goals against Liverpool than against any other team. Only Andrew Cole (11) and Thierry Henry (eight) have scored more Premier League goals against the Reds than Vardy.

Man of the match – Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah and Harry Maguire battle for the ball at Anfield<!–

Salah had six shots in total and both his efforts on target were goals

Man of the match could easily have been awarded to Harry Maguire, who defended with every part of his body as Leicester tried to cling on. In the end, it was Salah who proved the difference and for all his efforts, Maguire could not stop him from completing the Reds’ comeback.

What’s next?

Liverpool travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley in the league on New Year’s Day (15:00 GMT) – a fourth game in 10 days for Klopp’s side.

Leicester will aim to bounce back when they host Huddersfield Town at the same time, as they too struggle with a busy calendar.

Live Text

Match ends, Liverpool 2, Leicester City 1.

Second Half ends, Liverpool 2, Leicester City 1.

Foul by Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).

Daniel Amartey (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Ragnar Klavan (Liverpool) because of an injury.

Andrew Robertson (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Andrew Robertson (Liverpool).

Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Daniel Amartey (Leicester City).

Substitution, Liverpool. Ragnar Klavan replaces Philippe Coutinho.

Offside, Leicester City. Harry Maguire tries a through ball, but Vicente Iborra is caught offside.

Foul by Andrew Robertson (Liverpool).

Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution, Liverpool. Georginio Wijnaldum replaces Mohamed Salah.

Substitution, Leicester City. Matty James replaces Marc Albrighton.

Attempt blocked. Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Demarai Gray.

Goal! Liverpool 2, Leicester City 1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by James Milner.

Attempt saved. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Substitution, Leicester City. Islam Slimani replaces Jamie Vardy.

Substitution, Leicester City. Shinji Okazaki replaces Riyad Mahrez.

Substitution, Liverpool. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Sadio Mané.

Attempt missed. Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Harry Maguire.

Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Andrew Robertson.

Attempt blocked. Demarai Gray (Leicester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marc Albrighton.

Attempt missed. Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Offside, Liverpool. Philippe Coutinho tries a through ball, but Sadio Mané is caught offside.

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City).

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Daniel Amartey.

Attempt missed. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho with a through ball.

Attempt blocked. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Demarai Gray.

Offside, Leicester City. Wilfred Ndidi tries a through ball, but Jamie Vardy is caught offside.

Emre Can (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.

Harry Maguire (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card.

Goal! Liverpool 1, Leicester City 1. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sadio Mané.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Daniel Amartey.

What Next?

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