Liverpool Prove They Are Still the Team to Beat Despite Injury Crisis With Statement Win Over Leices

Going into their trip to Anfield, Leicester would have been hopeful of getting a result, mainly because
they were supposed to be facing one of the weakest Liverpool teams in several years.

The narrative heading into Sunday's contest focussed on the Reds' defensive injury crisis, and with good reason. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez were all missing with James Milner, Joel Matip and the recently fit again Fabinho fitting into a makeshift back line.

Leicester's confidence would have also been heightened by their excellent start to the season. Despite possessing an injury list to rival anyone in the Premier League - yes, even Liverpool - the Foxes went into the international break top of the table.

Not only that, Brendan Rodgers' side had also enjoyed considerable success away from home this season. They romped to a 5-2 victory over Manchester City in September and had beaten Leeds and Arsenal on their travels since.

In all of these games, Rodgers set up his side in a 3-4-3 and channeled the spirit of the 2015/2016 season, surrendering possession and instead scoring their goals via a string of counter attacks and devastating verticality.

They would once again set up this way against Liverpool, but the outcome would be very different. The reason for this was simple. This time they weren't facing an impotent Arsenal, nor a comically porous City. This time they were facing Liverpool, by far and away the most complete team in the Premier League.

After surviving an early penalty scare, the onslaught began with Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones all going close as the Reds registered five shots in the opening 15 minutes. It is worth noting that Jurgen Klopp's side managed to do this against a defence that has conceded just twice in their previous six games.

Diogo Jota impressed for Liverpool | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Wesley Fofana, who has probably been the Premier League's best defender so far this season, was being made to look every bit as young as his 19 years, while Christian Fuchs was looking every bit as old as his 34.

Red shirts were absolutely everywhere, strangling any hopes Leicester had of progressing out of their own half within seconds. Youri Tielemans and Nampalys Mendy were largely reduced to spectators in these opening exchanges while Jamie Vardy could have pulled out a camping chair, such was his limited involvement.

Eventually this pressure paid off when West Brom relegation-era Jonny Evans made an unwelcome return in the 21st minute. Evans could have been forgiven for feeling some mental fatigue after such a restless start to proceedings, but even still, that did not make a bizarre own goal any less amusing.

Liverpool's dominance continued throughout the first half and after several close shaves, they eventually doubled their lead courtesy of another recent triumph of the club's recruitment team: Diogo Jota. The Portuguese did extremely well to guide Andy Robertson's trademark cross into the back of the net and ensure the Reds went into the break 2-0 up.

After half time, Leicester did manage to muster something of a response with Harvey Barnes looking particularly dangerous on the counter. However, in truth, Liverpool managed to keep the Foxes at arm's length - something that very few sides have managed this season.

A great day at the office turned into a near perfect one four minutes from time when Roberto Firmino grabbed his second Premier League goal of the season. The Brazilian rose brilliantly to nod home James Milner's corner and Klopp will be hoping that the strike gives Firmino the confidence boost he needs to get back to his best.

Klopp was all smiles at full time | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Liverpool's 3-0 victory against Leicester was a real statement to the rest of the league. In the wake of their injury crisis and freaky 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa a few sceptics has began to question whether Klopp's flawless footballing machine would begin to falter.

On the evidence of Sunday's performance, Liverpool very much remain the team to beat this season despite their shortages, which makes the prospect of a fully fit Reds squad a truly terrifying thought.

Source : 90min