Claude Puel was unbeaten in six matches as a manager against Liverpool before this meeting but then the Frenchman did not have Mohamed Salah to worry about in any of those prior encounters.

As has so often been the case for Liverpool this season, Salah’s brilliance proved the difference as his pace, trickery and, most importantly clinical finishing, gave Jurgen Klopp’s side a victory after they had fallen behind to Jamie Vardy’s opening goal.

It ensured Liverpool are now unbeaten in 17 home league and cup games at Anfield while Klopp is now on his best run as the club's manager having not lost in 12 Premier League matches.

Salah, meanwhile, is fast carving his name into Liverpool folklore with his goalscoring feats as he notched his 23rd of the season in all competitions.

His brace ensured he equalled a club record set by Roger Hunt in the 1961-62 campaign for most goals in a season before the turn of the year.

However, a concern for Klopp will be the winger asking to be substituted with seven minutes left after picking up a limp which could make him a doubt for Liverpool's clash with Burnley on New Year's Day. The Egyptian is set to be assessed in the coming days to assess the extent of his injury.

Liverpool’s weaknesses at the back allowed Leicester to take the lead.

Joel Matip was particularly at fault. The Cameroon centre-back’s timid pass from the back sold Emre Can short and Vicente Iborra’s sharpness saw him steal possession and quickly release Riyad Mahrez down the right flank.

The Algeria winger glided past left-back Andrew Robertson and his teasing low cross was met by Vardy, who showed his penalty box predatory instincts to nip in front of Matip and finish.

It was Vardy’s 10th goal of the season, with the 30-year-old striker at his most prolific against teams from the top six.

Vardy, who scored against Liverpool in September, has also netted in Leicester’s matches with Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham in addition to both Manchester clubs.

In fairness to Liverpool’s defence, particularly at Anfield, it has been much improved since their debacle against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley but there is always the unerring sense this type of mistake is only round the corner.

Klopp has often talked about decision-making being a key element in Liverpool’s defensive play, and Matip electing for a risky ball inside rather than a simple pass to Joe Gomez reflected that.

Liverpool shook off their sluggishness, though, and should have equalised moments after Vardy’s opener when Mohamed Salah was found by Sadio Mane only to get his angles wrong and drag a shot wide from eight yards.

Philippe Coutinho stung the palms of Kasper Schmeichel with a shot from distance while Mane had the ball in the net from Robertson’s cross only to be correctly flagged offside.

Liverpool continued to threaten the visitors’ goal from distance with Gomez and Roberto Firmino both going close before the break.

Where Salah snatched at his efforts in the first half, his composure early in the second period saw him equalise for the home side.

The Egyptian chased Mane’s backheel into the penalty area before his close control took him past Daniel Amartey on to his favoured left foot.

With the Kop screaming for the net to bulge, Salah took a second then arrowed a pinpoint finish through the legs of Schmeichel.

Leicester’s chances were more fleeting although Karius breathed a sigh of relief when Wilfred Ndidi’s sweetly struck shot following a corner whistled past the post.

Salah was to prove the difference between the two sides, though, when he added his and Liverpool’s second to put the Reds in front with 14 minutes remaining.

Firmino rolled the ball into James Milner and his clever flick slipped in Salah. Milner looked for the return pass, but Salah had other ideas.

The 25-year-old showed his strength to roll Maguire before he clinically dispatched the ball past Schmeichel to seal the victory and keep Liverpool’s bid to finish in the top four on track.

Source: Independent

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