It never rains but pours, for Liverpool, and no thanks yet again to Alisson Becker’s error.
If anything could sum up the Reds’ season then here it was, all wrapped in one horrific, seven-minute bundle.
All of a sudden, the world’s best goalkeeper has started making mistakes.
After his two howlers against Manchester City last weekend came another at the King Power Stadium, as Leicester struck a crucial blow in the battle for a top-four place with a 3-1 victory that was as farcical as it could be damaging, for Jurgen Klopp’s champions.
Liverpool looked on course for three vital points, 1-0 up with just 12 minutes remaining. Mo Salah’s wonderful finish, from a sublime Roberto Firmino assist, had given them a deserved advantage, reward for an enterprising and surprisingly-confident performance away from home.
They’d even had a bit of fortune, too, with Jamie Vardy hitting the crossbar when clean through and VAR overturning a penalty awarded for a foul on Harvey Barnes by Thiago Alcantara. Things were looking up.
And then they weren’t.
First, James Maddison’s free-kick, awarded instead of the Barnes spot-kick, found its way into the far corner. Up went the flag, but after a lengthy review, VAR deemed that Firmino had played Leicester’s onrushing men, none of whom got a touch, onside. It was 1-1.
OK, so a point away from home to a rival can’t be sniffed at, yeah? Think again. Within three minutes, the Reds’ world had caved in.
There appeared to be little danger when Youri Tielemans aimed a diagonal in the vague direction of Barnes, right to left.
Ozan Kabak, the debutant, looked to have it covered, but Alisson raced from his line to confuse the situation. Kabak, stretching, got to the ball, but steered it against his goalkeeper and straight to Jamie Vardy, who virtually walked the ball home for 2-1.
Vardy strummed the corner flag like a guitar, while goalkeeper and defender simply looked at one another. Everyone else, meanwhile, wondered what the hell had just occurred. “A misunderstanding,” Klopp called it. You could say that.
There were only nine minutes remaining and yet somehow it got worse for his side. Alisson had to make a genuinely incredible double-save to deny Barnes and Vardy almost immediately, and he was left exposed once more as Barnes latched onto Wilfried Ndidi’s pass to finish confidently for his 12th goal of the season.
From 1-0 up to 3-1 down, in the space of seven absurd minutes; Klopp looked like he could strangle someone on the touchline, and no wonder.
He argued with somebody behind him in the stands, and looked incredulously at those on the pitch; no answers, no explanation. What on earth is happening to his team?
They had looked decent for the most part, too. They’d pressed well, created opportunities and fashioned a superb goal for themselves.
They’d done the hard bit but, as against City last week, they finished the game dreadfully and paid the price, conceding three times in the blink of an eye.
They’re under pressure now for a Champions League spot, make no mistake about that. They are woefully out of form and their destiny is no longer in their own hands. If the teams below them win their games in hand, they could fall to ninth. Ninth!
Everton, who face the Reds next weekend, will be licking their lips. They haven’t won at Anfield since 1999, but they may never have a better chance to end that particular hoodoo.
Everton confirm former Burnley boss Dyche as new manager
Everton have confirmed the appointment of former Burnley boss Sean Dyche as their new manager on a two-and-a-half-year contract.
The report came on Monday that Dyche had been chosen by the Everton board as Frank Lampard’s successor, after also holding talks with former Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa.
Dyche, according to a Sky Sports report, is the seventh permanent manager hired by Toffees owner Farhad Moshiri since he took over the club nearly seven years ago.
Lampard’s last game in charge was a 2-0 defeat at fellow strugglers West Ham on January 21, which kept them second-bottom on 15 points after 20 games – two points below the safety zone.
The Merseyside club had been floundering under the former England international, having last won a league game in October when they beat Crystal Palace 3-0 at home.
Lampard was appointed by Everton in January 2022 after he managed Chelsea from 2019/2021 and Derby County in the second tier in 2018/19, but Dyche will now be tasked with arresting the slide towards the Championship.
Dyche told the club’s official website, “It’s an honour to become Everton manager. My staff and I are ready and eager to help get this great club back on track.
“I know about Everton’s passionate fanbase and how precious this club is to them. We’re ready to work and ready to give them what they want. That starts with sweat on the shirt, effort and getting back to some of the basic principles of what Everton Football Club has stood for for a long time.”
Mourinho Compares Victor Osimhen to one of the African legend, Didier Drogba
AS Roma manager, Jose Mourinho, has compared Super Eagles of Nigeria and Napoli of Italy hitman, Victor Osimhen, to Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend, Didier Drogba.
NEWSBREAK reports that the Nigerian striker netted a world-class goal as his side, Napoli, marched towards the Serie A title on Sunday. Osimhen’s classic goal came against Mourinho’s Roma at the Diego Maradona stadium where Napoli won 2-1.
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Speaking after the match, Mourinho, a former Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid manager, said: “He (Osimhen) is of the same level as Drogba, but Didier didn’t dive.
Kelechi Iheanacho’s record goal helps Leicester qualify for last 16 FA Cup
Leicester city needed the goal from Nigerian footballer Kelechi Iheanacho to avoid a shock elimination from the FA Cup with a 1-0 win at Walsall on Saturday.
The Nigerian has scored more goals in the competition than any other player since making his debut in 2016.
Iheanacho’s 17th goal in 23 FA Cup appearances had some fortune as his strike from the edge of the box took a deflection for the only goal 23 minutes from time.
Leicester, Leeds and Man United join Manchester City as the first four sides to book their place in the last 16 of the competition.
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