Premier League
LiverpoolLiverpool1LeicesterLeicester City0

Liverpool 1-0 Leicester City

By Jonathan JurejkoBBC Sport
Liverpool
Christian Benteke was a first-half replacement for the injured Divock Origi

Leaders Leicester saw their nine-match unbeaten Premier League run ended by Liverpool substitute Christian Benteke's second-half winner.

The Reds dominated the first half at Anfield, but failed to fully test Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

They were rewarded when Roberto Firmino's pull-back from the left was steered in by a stretching Benteke.

Leicester offered little threat, Nathan Dyer going closest as they failed to score for the first time this season.

Festive woe for Foxes

Leicester spent Christmas Day on top of the Premier League, capping a marvellous turnaround after being bottom of the table 12 months ago.

Their first league defeat since losing 5-2 at home to Arsenal on 26 September left them vulnerable to be overtaken by the Gunners later on Saturday.

Liverpool shots
Liverpool peppered the Leicester goal with 25 attempts, but 12 were off target (shown by the red arrows)

But Arsene Wenger's men failed to capitalise after a 4-0 loss at Southampton, meaning the Foxes are still two points clear at the summit.

Can Claudio Ranieri's side react positively to defeat? That's the question many sceptics have been asking about the surprise leaders.

After a toothless display at Anfield, where they managed just three shots on target, Leicester will have to improve dramatically if they are to maintain their lofty position.

"We have to clean this result away and restart," said Ranieri afterwards.

Vardy and Mahrez fail to shine

Liverpool 1-0 Leicester: Foxes were too nervous - Claudio Ranieri

Two of the brightest stars in Leicester's resurgence have been England striker Jamie Vardy and Algeria playmaker Riyad Mahrez.

The two men have contributed 29 of Leicester's 37 Premier League goals this season, as well as providing 10 assists for each other or their team-mates.

But neither made an impact against Liverpool, with Ranieri revealing afterwards that Vardy played with a fever and Mahrez was "very tired".

As a team, Leicester lacked their usual energy and managed to muster just seven attempts at the Liverpool goal.

Liverpool beat Leicester
Christian Benteke had six touches in the Leicester penalty area (left), while Jamie Vardy (right) only managed one in the Liverpool box

Belgian pair boost the Reds

Liverpool's revival under Jurgen Klopp has showed signs of slowing down in recent weeks, with the Reds picking up just one point in their three previous Premier League matches.

Following the 3-0 defeat at Watford, Klopp decided to recall Belgium striker Divock Origi to provide more pace and movement as the focal point of his attack.

Origi's speed caused problems for the Leicester defence in the opening half an hour, as the hosts began at a brisk tempo.

Liverpool beat Leicester
42% of Liverpool's attacks were down the right flank - but their goal was created on the left

But a hamstring injury curtailed Origi's afternoon, meaning his international colleague Benteke was summoned from the bench.

Benteke, a £32m summer signing from Aston Villa, had not scored a Premier League goal in six appearances and wastefully headed over an early second-half opportunity.

However, he clinically finished when it mattered - sliding in the winner as Liverpool moved up to eighth.

Man of the match - Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson
Skipper Jordan Henderson was the driving force behind Liverpool's win, making more passes in the opposition half than any other player (41)

Post-match reaction

Liverpool 1-0 Leicester: Jurgen Klopp relieved at 'important' win

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "After four games with no result, that was very important today. Everybody knows of the quality of Leicester and what we had to do today was play simple football.

"The first half was really good and then we had to change. Christian Benteke was not warm, it's not easy to come into the game.

"We made the goal, it was a brilliant situation where the boys showed their quality in small situations. We were never really under pressure."

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri: "We started to play too late. Liverpool pushed from the beginning and for this reason they deserved to win.

"We tried to do our best but maybe in the first half we were too nervous to play our football. The second half was much better."

What's next?

Another big match for the Foxes - the visit of third-placed Manchester City on Tuesday. Liverpool return to action on Wednesday, when they travel to struggling Sunderland.

The stats you need to know

  • Liverpool are unbeaten in their past seven league games against the Foxes, winning five and drawing two.
  • The Reds are also unbeaten at home in the Premier League on Boxing Day, winning six and drawing three.
  • Claudio Ranieri's side lost their first away match of the season, last losing on the road in the Premier League in March (4-3 at Tottenham).
  • Christian Benteke scored his first Premier League goal since Liverpool's 3-1 win against Chelsea in October.
  • Leicester have won just one of their past 11 top-flight Boxing Day fixtures, drawing three and losing seven.
  • Liverpool kept their first clean sheet in the Premier League since November, having conceded at least twice in each of their last three fixtures before Saturday.

Line-ups

Liverpool

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 22Mignolet
  • 2Clyne
  • 6Lovren
  • 17Sakho
  • 18Moreno
  • 14Henderson
  • 23CanBooked at 52mins
  • 20LallanaBooked at 45minsSubstituted forAllenat 90+3'minutes
  • 11Firmino
  • 10CoutinhoSubstituted forLeivaat 90+1'minutes
  • 27OrigiSubstituted forBentekeat 38'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4K Touré
  • 9Benteke
  • 21Leiva
  • 24Allen
  • 34Bogdan
  • 53Vilaca Teixeira
  • 56Randall

Leicester

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 17Simpson
  • 5Morgan
  • 6HuthBooked at 62mins
  • 28Fuchs
  • 26MahrezSubstituted forKramaricat 80'minutes
  • 10King
  • 14Kanté
  • 11Albrighton
  • 20OkazakiSubstituted forDyerat 69'minutes
  • 9VardySubstituted forUlloaat 69'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2de Laet
  • 19Kramaric
  • 23Ulloa
  • 24Dyer
  • 27Wasilewski
  • 32Schwarzer
  • 33Inler
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
44,123

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamLeicester
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home26
Away7
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home7
Away6
Fouls
Home11
Away8

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Liverpool 1, Leicester City 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Liverpool 1, Leicester City 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Andy King (Leicester City) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross.

  4. Post update

    Offside, Liverpool. Christian Benteke tries a through ball, but Lucas Leiva is caught offside.

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Christian Benteke (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Joe Allen replaces Adam Lallana.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Lucas Leiva replaces Philippe Coutinho.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Christian Benteke (Liverpool).

  9. Post update

    Nathan Dyer (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Emre Can.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Andy King (Leicester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Fuchs.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool).

  14. Post update

    Nathan Dyer (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.

  16. Post update

    Offside, Liverpool. Simon Mignolet tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. Andrej Kramaric replaces Riyad Mahrez.

  18. Post update

    Offside, Leicester City. Marc Albrighton tries a through ball, but Robert Huth is caught offside.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Dejan Lovren (Liverpool).

  20. Post update

    Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.