Curtis Jones netted a first-half brace and Trent Alexander-Arnold scored off of a free kick in the 71st minute as Liverpool overcame a slow start to beat Leicester City 3-0 Monday evening at King Power Stadium. Mohammed Salah provided assists on each goal as the Reds have now won 7 matches in a row
Leicester City got to a bright start, earning a freekick and corner inside of the first 7 minutes. The pace began to pick up from Liverpool with the Reds trying several long balls over the top, but they could not threaten the goal. Liverpool earned corners in the 16th and 19th minutes, but they could not score.
Liverpool had a hard time breaking down the Foxes' defence in the final third as Leicester were putting numbers behind the ball. Luis Diaz and Fibinho missed chances near the half-hour mark. Curtis Jones did not miss as he bagged a brace quickly, scoring two goals within 3 minutes of one another. The first came in the 33rd minute as a long goal kick by Alisson was gathered in by Andy Roberson. He played the ball to Mohamed Salah who found Curtis Jones waiting backside for the finish.
Salah and Jones linked up again with the Egyptian King providing another assist. This time Jones found the back of the net from the centre of the box for a 2-0. Cody Gakpo nearly had a third goal for Liverpool in the 38th minute, but the save was made as Liverpool settled for the 2-0 halftime lead.
Alisson was forced into a vital save in the 52nd minute and Salah missed a curling shot in the 53rd. Jones was looking for a hat trick in the 57th minute, but his shot was blocked.
Liverpool got their third goal in the 71st minute of a set piece that looked like it came off the training ground. After winning a free kick, Salah backheeled a pass to Trent Alexander-Arnold who fired in a screamer from distance to put the finishing touches on the match. The Reds did have several chances over the final 19 minutes, most notably a wide-open chance from Salah in the 79th, but he put it wide. Even so, the Reds were more than happy to take home 3 points with the 3-0 win.
Jones' Big Day
Curtis Jones' brace was the first of his Liverpool career. He had only scored four times previous times in a Reds shirt so it certainly was a productive day from the midfielder. The match also marked his 9th straight inclusion in the Starting IX and Liverpool are unbeaten during that stretch.
Lending A Helping Hand
Not only can Mo Salah score goals, but he can also dish out assists as well. His hat trick of helpers gives Salah 10 for the season after collecting 15 a year ago. He now has 57 assists for his career.
Keeping The Pressure On
With the win, Liverpool stay just one point behind Manchester United and Newcastle for the fourth and final Champions League spot with 65 points. Liverpool have the advantage over Manchester United on Goal Difference, so if the sides were tied on the table at the season's end, Liverpool would be awarded the Champions League prize.
LFC Globe Verdict
It's hard to find any faults with this performance. Yes, it did take the Reds about half an hour to break down the Leicester City defence, but once Curtis Jones' first goal went in, it seemed as if Liverpool were on cruise control. They probably could have added a couple more goals in the final 20 minutes but the three points were by far the more important prize as Liverpool stay in the race for the Champions League.
Man Of The Match & What's Next
The question comes down to what is more important, Curtis Jones' brace or Mo Salah's trio of assists? I could not decide, so for me they both deserve the recognition. In fact, everyone who saw the pitch in the match played well. There were no glaring mistakes from anyone and that has not been the case that often this season
- Curtis Jones 36'
- Curtis Jones 39'
- Trent Alexander-Arnold 71'
- Patson Daka for Wilfred Ndidi 61'
- Mateus Tete for Harvey Barnes 61'
- Luke Thomas for Ricardo Pere 67'
- Harry Souttar for Jonny Evans 89'