Leading the way

Liverpool edge past Leicester to go top heading into the International break

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Liverpool

It was supposed to be the most difficult of their first four fixtures, the one that would give them some sort of “test” albeit against a team without their talismanic giant killer, a team that haven’t quite hit their own overwhelming heights since 2015/16, but yet again they passed the test just equally as efficient as they have done in their first three games.

Most wouldn’t see it as surprising or something worthy of note, even most Liverpool fans would have ticked four out of four when the fixtures were released, to challenge for the title you have to beat West Ham, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Leicester, it’s imperative, but for those who have watched the Reds this season its these words that stick out; Solid, Efficient, Effective, thus, their best start to a Premier League season in 28 years.

We all knew Liverpool’s woes last season; a shaky defence, a lack of depth and some wobbly goalkeeping, we saw shades of the latter against Leicester though, when Alisson tried to be a bit too clever by dribbling past Kelechi Iheanacho, but the Nigerian was having none of it and Leicester pulled one back in the 63rd minute through Rashid Ghezzal.

Kelechi Iheanacho skips past Alisson Credit: blogpost.com

In times past, that goal would have come back to haunt them, Liverpool fans would have then turn on their keeper, but that wasn’t going to happen of course, in fact, that was the first goal Alisson had conceded in his first four games. The Brazilian shotstopper has saved Liverpool more points this season than he’s cost them and he’s already shown he is a vast improvement on Loris Karius, that’s the bottom-line.

The man himself admitted it was never going to happen again siting that the pass he received put him in a tight spot which was true in fairness. “I won’t be stupid to make the same mistake. It’s part of my game. I won’t be arrogant, I will keep doing this. We have to learn from our mistakes.”

Liverpool still haven’t still conceded at Anfield since Virgil Van Dijk arrived, they have the most clean sheets in the Premier League during that time, we are all now very used to the big Dutchman marshalling the defence with gusto and assurance, he’s now established as one of the best centerbacks in the world, the 75m now looks like a bargain and he’s proving that this season as well.

It is Joe Gomez who’s however caught the eye this season, more so on Saturday when he was awarded man of the match, his speed, mobility and technique was just sublime to watch. If the 21yo can stay fit he’ll be a massive asset for Liverpool and the likes of Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip would have a lot on their hands.

Joe Gomez tackles Damarai Gray

In that second half Leicester were clearly the better side, they had a real go at Liverpool and even Klopp admitted they were a “little lucky” to come out with the win. Leicester’s pressure though didn’t suffice as Liverpool held their own to ride out the win after Mane and Firmino had struck in the first half.

Mohammed Salah didn’t quite have the best of games, the Liverpool man was put clear on goal in the third minute but couldn’t finish, it wasn’t surprising that he was replaced by Xherdan Shaqiri in the second half.

Salah in action for Liverpool

Naby Keita didn’t even start meaning club captain Jordan Henderson was given his first start of the season and he was very impressive in that first half, never mind that Liverpool still haven’t fielded Fabinho this season and Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana, Alberto Moreno and co were on the bench, highlighting the strength in depth Liverpool have this season.

The Reds go to Wembley to face Tottenham next, a fixture that saw them comprehensively beaten last season largely due to Dejan Lovren’s calamitous performance, Liverpool have since not lost any fixture home or away to the top six and the defence has largely improved.

The Tottenham game will start a tough run of fixtures for them in September where they’ll face champions Manchester City and Chelsea during that time, if Leicester was a test then Spurs is probably an examination and September will have lots of it, whether they’ll come out with flying colours or not remains to be seen, however, they have every reason to go into those fixtures with maximum confidence, they have lived up to the “favourites” tag so far.