Liverpool crashed out of the League Cup with a 2-0 defeat against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. The Reds dominated large parts of the game, but their wastefulness in front of goal was punished. Islam Slimani’s sensational second goal to add to Shinji Okazaki’s opener was enough for the Foxes to progress to the 4th round.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke made their first competitive starts for the Reds, in a disappointing outing at a stadium where Jurgen Klopp has tasted defeat for the third time in succession.
Here are the major talking points from the game:
You can insert all the synonyms to those words here, and only that would best describe this Liverpool performance. Solanke, Philippe Coutinho, Andy Robertson, all had good chances to score in the first half, but the opportunities all went begging. Liverpool should have gone into the half-time break out of the hosts’ sight, but instead, it was goalless.
Andy Robertson can cross a ball
And that is an understatement! It was a pity that there was no meaningful touch on the end of the many crosses that went in from the left-back in the first half. In the second half, maybe it was due to the absence of Coutinho, but Robertson never found as much space to work in, as he did before the break.
Forget the defence – the midfield needs a real fix
Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum are starting midfielders for the club, and they just did not throw their weight behind the side. Wijnaldum, as is the norm in away games, was virtually invisible and Henderson was poor as well. The skipper’s passing is a growing concern, as below-par performances have been the order of the season so far for him.
Danny Ward must be given more chances
Now that the League Cup campaign is over, Jurgen Klopp must find a way to strike a balance between his three goalkeepers so that they are given their opportunities. Ward’s performance was encouraging, despite the two goals that Liverpool conceded. He looked confident and his reaction to set-pieces looked very assured.
The recurring theme of the last week has been this side’s mentality. The capitulation at Manchester City was followed by an indifferent second half against Sevilla, and again, an indifferent half tonight. Whether it is the intensity not being replicated or that the heads drop after conceding, I don’t know, but both are equally concerning.
Should we be so bothered about a loss in the League Cup?
Maybe not, but given the current scenario, Liverpool needed this win to lift the confidence of the players and the entire mood around the club. This loss means that we’ve blown an opportunity to get silverware, and it makes the league game at Leicester on Saturday and the Champions League game in Moscow all the more crucial.
Welcome back Danny Ings
There was no real impact on the game from Ings, apart from one sight of goal that he had. But it is nice to have the striker back playing first-team football after two absolutely horrendous years for him. Hopefully, the Gods will now be kinder and he can get a run of games under his belt.