LIVERPOOL, England, (Reuters) - LIVERPOOL 2 LEICESTER CITY 1
Two second half goals from Mohamed Salah helped Liverpool secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Leicester City at Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday.
The visitors got off to the perfect start when a mix up at the back saw Riyad Mahrez square for Jamie Vardy to tap into an open goal in front of the Kop in the third minute.
Salah drew Liverpool level in the 52nd minute when he fired in from close range and struck his second, and 17th in the Premier League this season, in the 76th minute after shrugging off Harry Maguire and producing a composed finish.
Liverpool remain fourth in the Premier League and are now unbeaten in 12 games — their longest unbeaten run under Klopp — but Leicester have gone four games without a win and stay eighth in the table.
Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk was watching from the stands ahead of his 75 million pound ($101 million) move to Liverpool on Jan. 1 and the club’s need for reinforcement at the back was underlined when they gifted Leicester an early lead.
Vicente Iborra beat Emre Can to a loose ball out of defence and threaded a clinical pass through the Liverpool back line to Mahrez, who squared from the right for Vardy to scoop home his 10th goal of the season.
Liverpool responded well and should have equalised four minutes later through Salah, but he placed his left-footed shot from 12 yards narrowly wide after brilliantly controlling Sadio Mane’s driven left-wing cross.
Salah missed another excellent chance in the 20th minute, side-footing wide from an angle following a neat exchange with Roberto Firmino on the edge of the box, before Mane had a goal disallowed for offside as pressure on the Leicester goal mounted.
Liverpool’s domination finally told seven minutes into the second half, when Salah drilled a low shot past Kasper Schmeichel after being played through by a pinpoint backheel from Mane.
Salah went close to handing Liverpool the lead in the 59th minute with a lob that landed on the roof of Schmeichel’s net and Mane had another goal disallowed for offside six minutes later following a sublime through ball from Philippe Coutinho.
Leicester went close with a crisp Wilfred Ndidi volley but were condemned to defeat nine minutes later when Salah rolled Maguire on the edge of the box and swept a low left-footed shot past Schmeichel at his near post.
Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Rex Gowar