Jota makes history as Liverpool shrug off injury crisis to beat Leicester

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Jota Makes History As Liverpool Shrug Off Injury Crisis To Beat Leicester Jota Makes History As Liverpool Shrug Off Injury Crisis To Beat Leicester
Diogo Jota scored Liverpool's second, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By PA Sport Staff

Records tumbled at Anfield as Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Leicester set a new 64-match unbeaten home league milestone, with Diogo Jota also writing his name into the club’s history books.

The Portugal international became the first Reds player to score in his first four home top-flight league appearances with a neat glancing first-half header to add to Jonny Evans’ opening own goal.

Roberto Firmino added further gloss to the scoreline, after a number of missed chances, with an 87th-minute header.

Liverpool shrugged off their injury crisis to sweep aside Leicester as Jurgen Klopp’s side – undefeated in the league at Anfield since April 2017 – eclipsed the great team of the late 1970s and early 1980s, whose own run was coincidentally ended by a Leicester team in 1981.

Fabinho’s return after a three-match absence not only eased Liverpool’s injury worries but soothed any anxiety at the back as he slotted into central defence with a calm, assured performance usually associated with the long-term injured Virgil Van Dijk.

Jota took centre-stage, occupying the wide-right position usually the preserve of Mohamed Salah, sitting this match out after testing positive for Covid-19 while on international duty.

The summer signing was a bundle of energy, roaming in off the flank to cause Leicester all kinds of problems, and he was duly rewarded with his goal just before the break.

When he headed in yet another delicious Andy Robertson cross it was his seventh goal in his last six club matches and gave Klopp’s side a cushion after Evans had headed James Milner’s corner past his own goalkeeper.

It was Evans, with his sixth Premier League own goal – only Richard Dunne, Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel have more – who beat the Leicester goalkeeper.

Having shrugged off the attentions of Sadio Mane, the Foxes captain was distracted by Christian Fuchs jumping in front of him and headed into his own goal.

Dominance

Had Harvey Barnes not steered a good opportunity wide soon after the half may have panned out differently but Liverpool began to build pressure and three minutes before half-time doubled their lead through Jota after a 30-pass move which highlighted their dominance.

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The evergreen James Milner, 35 in January, deputised for the absent Trent Alexander-Arnold and did not put a foot wrong in keeping Barnes, 12 years his junior, quiet while also offering an outlet down the right.

He was moved into midfield after Keita was added to the casualty list with a hamstring injury, with his versatility an obvious asset in these ‘troubled’ times.

Leicester failed to capitalise on the introduction of 19-year-old Neco Williams at right-back and even when Alisson Becker did make a good double save from Vardy and Barnes any goal would have been ruled out for offside.

Liverpool hit the post twice within seconds as Firmino’s shot rebounded, was cleared off the line by millimetres and Mane’s strike deflected off Schmeichel onto the upright – all after Jota’s brilliant through-ball had opened up Leicester.

Firmino’s persistence eventually paid off as Liverpool went level with Tottenham at the top of the table.

Elsewhere, Fulham suffered more penalty anguish as a brace from Dominic Calvert-Lewin helped Everton to a 3-2 win.

Sebastien Haller’s thunderbolt gave West Ham a 1-0 win at Sheffield United, who struck the crossbar through Oli McBurnie and remain bottom.

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