‘The league is DONE’: Liverpool fans concede the Premier League title to Man City after ’embarrassing’ defeat to a second-string Leicester side which leaves the Reds six points adrift of Pep Guardiola’s men
Liverpool’s dismal defeat to a weakened Leicester team was enough to convince many Reds fans the title race is finished, declaring Manchester City champions.
Mohamed Salah had a spot-kick saved and hit the crossbar on the rebound, as Jurgen Klopp’s men only managed to direct four of their 21 shots on target – and Ademola Lookman’s strike won it.
The Reds are faltering just as Man City are hitting full stride, and Pep Guardiola’s men will surge nine points clear with victory over Brentford on Wednesday. City have smashed in 17 goals in three games, and look unstoppable.
Reds fans were furious and many are certain there is no way back, even with the Premier League only halfway through the season.
Another fan suggesting Klopp change focus was @JackoR21: ‘A second string Leicester side, on poor form, two days after their last game.. we had absolutely zero excuse to not win that game and we’ve lost it!
‘What an absolute embarrassment, handing City the title on a plate there. Time to shift focus on to other competitions. League is done.’
The Reds face Chelsea on Sunday and more dropped points against the Blues, who have also dropped off City’s pace six points back, could spell further disaster.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita are also about to leave for the Africa Cup of Nations, though they will only miss one Premier League game against Brentford.
The Africans will also miss both Carabao Cup semi-final legs against Arsenal and the FA Cup clash with Shrewsbury Town.
We have all been wondering how Jurgen Klopp’s side would handle January, but it is December which looks like it could cost them. After dropping five points in their last two Premier League games, their title chances are hanging by a thread.
The gap to Manchester City is now six points, and could be extended to nine if the reigning champions win at Brentford on Wednesday. Liverpool would have a game in hand, but it still looks – and feels – like it would be a tall order to reel in Pep Guardiola’s side from here – especially when the Reds’ next fixture is a trip to Chelsea.
They were poor here, beaten 1-0 at the King Power Stadium courtesy of a second-half strike from Ademola Lookman, the Leicester substitute and, of all things, a former Everton player.
Brendan Rodgers’ side, smashed for six at the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day, looked revived here. The win lifts them into the top half of the table.
Liverpool, will rue the defending which allowed Lookman to run through and score just three minutes after his introduction. Certainly Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold will not fancy watching that particular clip back.
Nor will Salah want to revisit the moment, 16 minutes in, when he had the ball on the penalty spot and the game at his feet. The Egypt international had won the spot kick himself, tripped by a panicking Wilfred Ndidi, and would have felt confident having netted his last 15 Premier League penalties.
But for once, his radar was off. Kasper Schmeichel guessed right, dived right and made the save. Salah still might have made amends, but headed the rebound against the bar and then prodded a third attempt wide. The grimace said it all.
As did Sadio Mane’s when, a few minutes before Lookman’s winner, the Senegal star was played clean through by Diogo Jota. He was inside Timothy Castagne and saw the whites of Schmeichel’s eyes. The goalkeeper went left, Mane went right, but the ball flew over the bar.
On the sideline, Klopp celebrated prematurely before correcting himself. Mane’s, like Salah’s, would prove to be a costly miss. Soon after, Lookman did his thing and there was to be no way back.
Liverpool spent most of the game probing, but lacked the killer touch throughout. Leicester, tired but highly motivated after last week’s Carabao Cup shocker against the Reds’ second string, ran themselves into the ground, their fans celebrating blocks and clearances like goals – when they were not taunting the away supporters with some more than unsavoury chants about poverty, that is.
Liverpool huffed and puffed, taking 21 shots and forcing a dozen corners. The sight of Alisson Becker in the penalty area for the last of those said it all; desperate times, desperate measures.