Champions outclassed by vibrant Reds

Liverpool outclassed champions Leicester City 4-1 at home on Saturday as Roberto Firmino scored twice and Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana found the net in an outstanding attacking display.

Liverpool dazzled offensively as they beat Arsenal 4-3 in their season opener, and while they have lacked consistency under Jurgen Klopp, they reaffirmed their class going forward in a vibrant display that exposed the champions’ limitations.

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Firmino opened the scoring in the 13th minute after being found by a superb pass by James Milner, taking a touch to evade the defenders before finishing calmly across Kasper Schmeichel’s goal.

Mane added a second in the 31st minute, chipping home to cap off a delicious team move after being picked out by Daniel Sturridge.

Against Arsenal and in a 2-0 defeat by Burnley in August Liverpool’s defensive deficiencies were exposed and they were caught out before the break when Jamie Vardy capitalised on Lucas Leiva’s mindless ball across goal to tap in from close range.

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“If something does not work we have to show we can stay in the race and believe in our style,” Klopp told BT Sport. “It was a great performance over 90 minutes.

“I thought it was a good challenge for us today because I know we can be really strong.”

While Leicester pressed manfully, they struggled to construct a coherent attacking threat and the hosts restored their two-goal advantage in the 56th minute when Lallana met Giorgino Wijnaldum’s lay-off and rifled a fine shot into the top corner.

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Vardy forced a low save from Simon Mignolet in the 60th minute and Robert Huth powered a downward header just wide of the post soon after as the champions pushed forward.

Yet Leicester’s increasing adventure left their defence unprotected and Firmino added a late fourth from a searing counter attack after Schmeichel underestimated Mane’s speed and was caught in no man’s land, in a final flourish that left little doubt as to Liverpool’s offensive clout.

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“We started well, but after the first goal we lost our shape a little,” Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri told BT Sport. “We tried in the second half, but everything Liverpool tried came good.

“We have to clear our minds for the next match,” added the Italian, whose side visit Club Bruges in their first-ever Champions League fixture on Wednesday. “When we have lost in the past, we have always had a good reaction.”

© Reuters

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