Football Features

“I don’t think they smell our breath already” – Player ratings as Liverpool leave Leicester in the dust and close in on Man City

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:03, 10 February 2022 | Updated: 20:52, 24 November 2022

In a one-sided night of football, Liverpool brushed Leicester aside with a comfortable 2-0 victory.

The win makes it 15 matches unbeaten at Anfield and moves Liverpool back to within nine points of league leaders Manchester City with a game in-hand. The title race is alive, despite Jurgen Klopp saying “I don’t think they smell our breath already,” after the game.

Here’s how the players rated at Anfield:

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Alisson – 7 – Made one great save from Maddison early on and then had nothing else to do until he collected a cross late.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7 – A constant creative force as always. He’s just automatic at this point.

Joel Matip – 8 – Very composed throughout. Dealt with everything Leicester could throw at the Reds. Picked up a truly sumptuous assist for his deft flick through for Jota’s second goal.

Virgil van Dijk – 8 – It was his great header that led to Liverpool’s opener. On the ground he was cool and in control.

Andrwew Robertson – 7 – Relentless. Utterly relentless.

Fabinho – 7 – Had some problems dealing with Maddison’s movement, but did really well patrolling the passing lanes. Threw a good block to free Van Dijk for the opening goal, too.

Thiago – 7 – Pulled the strings superbly.

Curtis Jones – 6 – Worked hard.

Diogo Jota – 8 – Brilliant positioning and instinctive finish to give Liverpool the lead. And then he repeated the trick to double Liverpool’s lead later on. A brilliant forward, a lethal poacher, a natural goalscorer. Roberto Firmino may wear the no. 9 shirt, but Diogo Jota is Liverpool’s starting striker and there’s no question about that.

Roberto Firmino – 4 – Mostly poor. Didn’t link play, didn’t offer a true goal threat. Worked hard at pressing, and that’s about it.

Luis Diaz – 7 – Bright dribbling. Looks like he’s going to be a perfect fit for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and competition for the likes of Sadio Mané and yes, even Mohamed Salah.

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Liverpool Substitutes:

Harvey Elliott (for Jones 59′) – 6 – Came on and looked fit and sharp.

Mohamed Salah (for Firmino 60′) – 7 – Was on a personal mission to score and came perilously close. Drew some incredible saves out of Kasper Schmeichel and struck the woodwork as well.

Takumi Minamino (for Luis Diaz 90′) – n/a – Came on late.


Kasper Schmeichel – 8 – Made an amazing series of saves (9 in total) to keep Leicester in the game and was perilously unlucky to even concede the goals that he did, especially the second as he got a hand to Jota’s shot.

James Justin – 5 – Worked hard defensively but lost Jota on the opener when trying to contest Van Dijk in the air.

Daniel Amartey – 7 – A really sturdy display despite no help from his team-mates.

Wilfred Ndidi – 7 – Lost Van Dijk for the goal, albeit he was blocked off by his own team-mate. Was excellent besides that.

Luke Thomas – 5 – Offered nothing in attack and wasn’t too great defensively.

Boubakary Soumaré – 5 – Couldn’t lay a glove on the Liverpool midfield.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall – 5 – Ran and ran and ran but to absolutely no genuine impact.

James Maddison – 7 – A superb performance despite the result. A constant threat on the break, tormenting Fabinho and the Liverpool defence with his tenacity and movement. If only he had a bit of assistance.

Marc Albrighton – 5 – Some excellent defensive interventions early on but got worse as the match wore on and never did have a handle on Andrew Robertson in any sort of way to prevent the Scot raiding.

Ademola Lookman – 7 – Seemed the only Leicester player with any real drive and determination to turn things around but got no help from his team-mates and was thus repeatedly outnumbered.

Patson Daka – 5 – Completely starved of service. Only got 17 touches of the ball.


Youri Tielemans (for Soumare 60′) – 5 – Added nothing.

Kelechi Iheanacho (for Daka 60′) – 6 – Gave Leicester a bit of oomph.

Harvey Barnes (for Lookman 79′) – 4 – Overdribbled to give the ball away for Liverpool’s second.