Premier League
LeicesterLeicester City2LiverpoolLiverpool0

Leicester City 2-0 Liverpool

By Emlyn BegleyBBC Sport
Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy is this season's Premier League top scorer on 18 goals

Jamie Vardy scored twice as Leicester beat Liverpool to stay three points clear at the top of the Premier League.

The England striker opened the scoring with a brilliant 25-yard strike over goalkeeper Simon Mignolet from Riyad Mahrez's long ball forward.

And he sealed the victory when he turned home Shinji Okazaki's deflected shot from close range.

The Foxes fully deserved their victory, with Mignolet touching an Okazaki header onto the bar in the first half.

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Foxes move closer to history

Vardy's goal unbelievable - Ranieri

Leicester's title bid is unique in the Premier League age and with each victory, they move one game closer to winning their first ever top-flight title.

There was a feeling the next two weeks could define Leicester's season - this game against Liverpool is followed by trips to title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal.

But they came through the first of those three games in style. Vardy caught Mignolet off his line with his goal-of-the-season contender and then added a second 11 minutes later.

The Foxes had most of the game's big chances, Mignolet brilliantly denying a Mahrez curling strike as well as touching Okazaki's effort onto the crossbar. Moments before Vardy's second, the hosts should have had a penalty when Mamadou Sakho brought down Okazaki.

Foxes midfielder Danny Drinkwater said: "We're staying on the ground but if we carry on the way we are then why not have the belief [to win the league]? It would go down in history surely."

How man-of-the-match Vardy scored his goal

Vardy - who is set to sign a new three-and-a-half-year deal with the Foxes - had never scored a Premier League goal from outside the box with his first 21 top-flight attempts.

He let Mahrez's long ball bounce before smashing it over Mignolet. After the game he revealed he had seen the keeper stray off his line on previous occasions and decided to try his luck.

Jamie Vardy
Vardy (9) converted Mahrez's (26) pass
Jamie Vardy
Vardy hit the ball with power after letting it bounce
Jamie Vardy
It flew up into the air
Simon Mignolet
But came down again before beating Mignolet
Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring against Liverpool
Vardy is three goals clear in the Golden Boot race

'Goal sums his season up'

Leicester midfielder Drinkwater told BBC Match of the Day: "His first goal was incredible. You think he's going to square it but he hits it top corner. It sums his season up. He can turn an average ball into a great ball."

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri said: "Amazing. The first goal was unbelievable. Jamie is very fast and can create a lot but it was unbelievable how Mahrez found him and how he had the time to see the keeper out of the goal and score a fantastic goal."

Reds look out of form

Leicester 2-0 Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp says Jamie Vardy's goal was 'world class'

Liverpool, who are now eighth and 16 points off top, look a long way from the side who beat Manchester City 4-1 and Southampton 6-1 in November and December.

With Daniel Sturridge frequently injured and Christian Benteke out of favour, the Reds started with Roberto Firmino as their central forward but the Brazilian only had two efforts, one blocked and one off target.

When BBC Match of the Day's Jonathan Pearce praised Liverpool's work ethic to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, the German replied: "It's rare a journalist says something more positive than the manager.

"I'm not too fine with our game today. We could have played much better. We had a few shots where we could pass and a few passes where we could shoot. We created half chances but not real chances. Today would have been a good day to show we are ready for this. I need a few more seconds to calm down. I have to watch it again."

What's up next?

Leicester's next game is their biggest of the season to date. They visit second-placed Manchester City on Saturday lunchtime, knowing they could either be knocked off top - or go six points clear.

"The team is in good condition," said Ranieri. "Now it is important to recover the energy because we have to run a lot against Manchester City. We are free of pressure. The players have a good feeling."

Liverpool are at home to second-from-bottom Sunderland.

The stats you need to know

  • Liverpool prevented the opposition scoring with their first shot on target for the first time in 2016 in the Premier League.
  • Mahrez and Vardy have combined for seven Premier League goals this season - the joint most with Ozil/Giroud and Ighalo/Deeney.
  • Vardy has 18 league goals for the season, only one fewer than Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez.
  • Leicester have 50 points, only five short of their all-time top-flight record total (55 in 1999-2000).
  • Liverpool have conceded 13 goals in their past six Premier League away games.

Line-ups

Leicester

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 17Simpson
  • 5Morgan
  • 6Huth
  • 28Fuchs
  • 26MahrezSubstituted forUlloaat 90'minutes
  • 4Drinkwater
  • 14Kanté
  • 11AlbrightonSubstituted forGrayat 79'minutes
  • 20OkazakiSubstituted forKingat 87'minutes
  • 9Vardy

Substitutes

  • 10King
  • 22Gray
  • 23Ulloa
  • 24Dyer
  • 27Wasilewski
  • 30Chilwell
  • 32Schwarzer

Liverpool

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 22Mignolet
  • 2Clyne
  • 6Lovren
  • 17Sakho
  • 18Moreno
  • 21LeivaBooked at 86mins
  • 23CanSubstituted forAllenat 75'minutes
  • 14HendersonSubstituted forBentekeat 66'minutes
  • 20Lallana
  • 7Milner
  • 11FirminoSubstituted forVilaca Teixeiraat 87'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4K Touré
  • 9Benteke
  • 24Allen
  • 33Ibe
  • 38Flanagan
  • 52Ward
  • 53Vilaca Teixeira
Referee:
Andre Marriner
Attendance:
32,121

Match Stats

Home TeamLeicesterAway TeamLiverpool
Possession
Home36%
Away64%
Shots
Home13
Away14
Shots on Target
Home6
Away1
Corners
Home3
Away12
Fouls
Home6
Away7

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Leicester City 2, Liverpool 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Leicester City 2, Liverpool 0.

  3. Post update

    Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City).

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. Leonardo Ulloa replaces Riyad Mahrez.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool).

  7. Post update

    Andy King (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. João Teixeira replaces Roberto Firmino.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. Andy King replaces Shinji Okazaki.

  10. Booking

    Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Lucas Leiva (Liverpool).

  12. Post update

    Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Robert Huth.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Robert Huth.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by James Milner.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Lucas Leiva (Liverpool).

  18. Post update

    Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. Demarai Gray replaces Marc Albrighton.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Joe Allen.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester24148244261850
2Man City24145546232347
3Tottenham24129344192545
4Arsenal24136537221545
5Man Utd24117631211040
6West Ham24109538281039
7Southampton249783224834
8Liverpool249783034-434
9Stoke249692428-433
10Watford239592726132
11Crystal Palace2494112529-431
12Everton2361164034629
13West Brom247892331-829
14Chelsea237793234-228
15Bournemouth2477102939-1028
16Swansea2468102332-926
17Norwich2465132846-1823
18Newcastle2356122541-1621
19Sunderland2454152847-1919
20Aston Villa2427151840-2213
View full Premier League table

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