Liverpool

Liverpool

Premier League • England

Player Ratings: Luis Diaz forms thrilling early tandem, as new Mr. Reliable sees Liverpool sink Leicester

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota celebrating with Fabinho after scoring versus Leicester

Luis Diaz gave Liverpool fans a glimpse of what’s to come when forming a thrilling partnership down the left, but it was Diogo Jota who secured all three points in a comfortable victory 2-0 over Leicester at Anfield.

Liverpool were kept at arm’s length for much of the first half before Diogo Jota showed his striker’s instinct to great effect. Leicester’s season has been categorised by failing to deal with set pieces. Against the aerial threat of Virgil van Dijk, that issue was ruthlessly exposed.

Kasper Schmeichel could do little else but parry Van Dijk’s header from a corner back into the danger area. Jota – now unmarked after Justin scrambled to contest the delivery with Van Dijk – was on hand to poke home the rebound.

Substitute Mohamed Salah saw several chances come and go to extend the lead, while Diaz did everything but score on a tremendous Premier League debut.

But it was the ever-reliable Jota who eventually wrapped up all three points when his late strike proved too hot to handle for Schmeichel.

Liverpool

Alisson Becker: One important save to make in an otherwise quiet evening between the sticks. 7/10

Trent Alexander-Arnold: Full range of passing was on show in the first half. Stung Schmeichel’s palms after a neat drag-back left two Foxes defenders in his wake. Pin-point delivery for Van Dijk’s header that teed up Jota’s goal. 7

Joel Matip: Showed again why he has been the preferred partner to Van Dijk this season. Calm and composed in everything he did and faultless in possession. Grabbed a cheeky assist for Jota’s second. 8

Virgil van Dijk: Typically classy display and won everything in the air. Clever movement to ditch Ndidi from the corner  that sparked the opener. 8

Andrew Robertson: Combined well with Diaz in a glimpse of what’s to come in Liverpool’s future. Gave Klopp a scare when clattering into the post after coming up just short of an Alexander-Arnold teaser. His partnership with Diaz continued to blossom throughout the contest and you could’ve been forgiven for thninking they’d played together 100 times before. 8

Klopp in unprecedented Liverpool position and the results could be thrilling

Klopp in unprecedented Liverpool position and the results could be thrilling

Liverpool are still in four competitions going into the business end of the season - and have the best squad of the Jurgen Klopp era to match.

Thiago Alcantara: Buzzed about with intent and always looked forward with his distribution. Narrowly missed out on a goal of the season contender when his acrobatic bicycle kick fizzed marginally wide. Another classy display from the Spaniard. 8

Fabinho: Willing to break the lines when in possession with a series of forward-thinking dribbles. A constant menace to Leicester’s rare attempts to foray forward. 8

Curtis Jones: The least effective of Liverpool’s midfield trio, though he had stiff competition in that department. Replaced by Elliot for the final half hour. 6

Diogo Jota: Often drifted in from the right flank with Firmino dropping deeper to link up play. Unusually quiet for much of the first half before popping up with the opener when in the right place at the right time – as he so often is. Bagged his second with five minutes remaining to wrap up all three points. Few can argue he is now Liverpool’s second most dangerous forward behind only Salah. 

Roberto Firmino: Took his time to get going but found his groove as the first half wore on. Superb link-up play began to turn Leicester’s makeshift defence inside out and the Brazilian saw two powerful drives beaten away by Schmeichel. Given a breather in the final 30m when replaced by Salah. 7

Luis Diaz: Very lively early. Showed his pace and trickery when testing Justin’s legs and proved he’ll be a nightmare for defenders when willing to go down the line onto his weaker left foot. Fizzed across several dangerous deliveries that might’ve produced a goal on another night.

Formed a dangerous partnership with Robertson down the left with the pair immediately on the same wavelength. Neat interplay throughout with their give-and-go’s regularly causing Leicester’s backline problems. On today’s display, Liverpool have pulled off yet another transfer masterstroke. 8 (Man of the Match)

Substitutes: 

Mohamed Salah (On for Firmino, 59m): Greeted with a hero’s reception after his AFCON heartbreak and got straight into the heat of battle. Twice came close to scoring and would’ve expected to notch when seeing a one-v-one saved by Schmeichel. Curled a delightful effort onto the crossbar as he looked to take his AFCON frustrations out on the Foxes. 7

Harvey Elliot (On for Jones, 59m): Provided a greater threat than Jones and linked up well with Salah down the right. 7

Takumi Minamino (On for Diaz, 90m): N/A

Leicester

Kasper Schmeichel: Largely faultless for the first goal when parrying Van Dijk’s sharp header straight to Jota. Most goalkeepers will have expected the opposition’s striker to be marked rather more closely by his defence than Jota was. Kept the deficit to one with a series of late saves in the first half. Plenty more excellent saves in the second half, most notably in a one-v-one against Salah and with his legs to deny Diaz. 8/10

James Justin: Given a stern test against Diaz on debut and struggled to get to grips with the Colombian. Left Jota unmarked for the Portuguese’s opener, though that decision was understandable as Van Dijk would’ve otherwise had an unchallenged header. 5

Daniel Amartey: Superb early intervention to deny Diaz a dream start at Anfield when one-v-one in the box. Combined with Albrighton to deny Firmino in the moment that led to Liverpool’s opener from a corner. Did his reputation a world of good with more critical blocks and interceptions in the second half to ensure Liverpool never pulled away. 7

Wilfred Ndidi: Lost Van Dijk from the corner that led to Jota’s goal. That moment blotted an otherwise composed first-half display from the out-of-position midfielder. Laboured in the second half as Liverpool hit their straps. 6

Luke Thomas: Will have been thrilled to see Salah named on the bench and enjoyed a relatively stress-free first half with Jota often taking up central positions. His evening soon livened up with the Egyptian’s introduction on the hour mark and failed to lay a glove on Salah who looked a man on a mission late on. 6

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall: Tough ask to keep a lid on Liverpool at Anfield but gave it his all. 6

Boubakary Soumare: Battled hard but always faced an uphill struggle to combat Liverpool’s man advantage in midfield. Replaced by Tielemans for the final half hour. 6

Ademola Lookman: Little impact before the break with Leicester’s forwards left feeding on scraps. Lovely spin to see off Alexander-Arnold mid-way through the second half, but was wasteful with his delivery. 5

James Maddison: One of very few to survive Rodgers’ sweeping changes from their humbling FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest. Immediately justified the faith when instrumental in carving Liverpool open before Alisson came to the rescue. Often the hub of what little threat Leicester posed on the offensive. 6

Marc Albrighton: Willing runner and matched Robertson stride for stride when the Scot ventured forward. Limited impact at the other end. 6

Patson Daka: A peripheral figure on a wholly forgettable night for the Zambian. Hooked for Iheanacho on the hour mark as Rodgers went in search of a greater threat. 5

Substitutes: 

Youri Tielemans (On for Soumare, 60m): Not his brightest cameo with the final half hour all Liverpool’s. 6

Kelechi Iheanacho (On for Daka, 60m): Little impact. 6

READ MORE: New wonderkid on Liverpool radar as agent reveals he is ‘waiting for a call’ from the Reds