Seven minutes of chaos spark Liverpool's collapse against Leicester

Horror day for Alisson Becker and a forgettable debut for Ozan Kabak

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There was a time when Liverpool scored three goals in six minutes and it went on to win them the Champions League. Here they conceded three in seven and it may cost them a place in the Champions League.

Sixteen years after Istanbul, a week after they were breached three times in 10 minutes by Manchester City, they could rue another swift burst of goals.

The very fact it allowed Leicester to win 3-1 may mean Liverpool are sixth by the end of the round of fixtures. The manner of them was worse. Alisson Becker endured another traumatic day, marred by another dreadful mistake. Ozan Kabak’s Liverpool debut felt almost unrivalled in its ignominy.

The image that encapsulated it, the match and Liverpool’s 2021 came with nine minutes remaining and Leicester level in contentious fashion.

Youri Tielemans aimed a long ball forward. With communication conspicuous by its absence, Alisson charged out of his box. Meanwhile, Kabak was attempting to clear. They collided and Jamie Vardy, who had tormented Liverpool with his pace, could stroll towards the unguarded net to score.

“A misunderstanding,” Jurgen Klopp said. “It is not cool. Ozan is a good player but he is not used to everything we do. Ali likes to come out and these things can happen. Alisson had a super game and then at that moment he came out, I didn't hear him shouting.” For the Brazilian, at fault for two City goals six days earlier, the sequel was equally unhappy.

For Kabak, the start of a new story felt a horror movie. Leicester ended up targeting him and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Alisson made one brilliant double save from Harvey Barnes and Vardy when the winger escaped. The next time he did, Barnes scored. “The third goal I really don't like,” Klopp said. “We were so open.”

But whenever he was tested, Kabak was found wanting. The deadline-day signing who emerged unscathed was the one who was not fit: Ben Davies, the other addition, fitted in seamlessly at Anfield by getting injured before he could play.

So Kabak could testify instead to Vardy’s excellence and elusiveness. He evaded him for an improvised lob. Kabak lost the veteran and slipped when James Maddison’s flick sent him scurrying clear to hit the bar. Vardy got away from Jordan Henderson, the other half of Liverpool’s 17th centre-back partnership of the season, for two more chances. Henderson at least excelled in other aspects and was blameless for the goals.


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The same could not be said for Thiago Alcantara. He was dropped, but when the hamstrung James Milner hobbled off, he came on.

An hour later, he fouled a rampant Barnes. Referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot. VAR overruled him – the offence had taken place just outside the box – but when Maddison’s resulting free kick went in, Daniel Amartey was ruled offside.

A second VAR review worked Leicester’s way: Roberto Firmino had played him onside and, while Amartey aimed to connect, he had not touched the ball anyway.

“Everything fine and then penalty, free-kick, offside, not offside, goal,” said Klopp, trying to sum up a confusing passage of play. “That had a proper impact. It was a turning point in the game. A really tough one to take.”

Liverpool had led, and in impressive manner. “We played good football, dominated possession, took the game out of Leicester,” said Klopp.  “We should win.”

They had attacked with speed and wit, offering hints of their best. Firmino conjured a cheeky backheel, Mohamed Salah a wonderful curled finish.

They could have struck earlier. Vardy hit the same bar twice, but once for each side. He leapt in the wall, inadvertently heading Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free kick on to the woodwork. Kasper Schmeichel had been defiant. Liverpool had been menacing.

But for Leicester, it amounted to a memorable, magnificent comeback. Liverpool were not the only injury-hit team on show but the wonderful trio of Barnes, Maddison and Vardy compensated for others’ absences.

“A year ago if we'd have gone behind we would have got nothing from it,” said Brendan Rodgers, who beat his former club for the first time since they sacked him. "We didn't sink when we went a goal behind. Our reaction was superb." Seven minutes of chaos for Liverpool was seven of brilliance for Leicester.