Our man at the game was Fan Reporter SCOTT DAVIES, who brings you some of the emotion from the stands from a memorable game at the King Power stadium on 2nd Feb 2016…. remember the day !
Well, here we are in February and the Foxes faced Liverpool in the first of a tough run of 3 games which was meant to burst our bubble (again!) City once again disappointed the media and pundits alike with a performance some European Giants would have been proud of.
Liverpool did a job on Leicester on Boxing Day running out as 1-0 winners, however since then City haven’t lost in the league and have only conceded 1 goal away to Villa.
A familiar line up was picked by Ranieri and the usual 442 set up was applied. With De Laet going out on loan, Chilwell was given a place on the bench, presumably to give him a taste of the Premier League match day experience. One noticeable absence from the bench was Gokhan Inler who has been linked with a loan move to Hamberg.
City started strong and looked to attack Liverpool from the off. Okazaki, Vardy and Mahrez linked up well on 2 minutes after some neat play. Mahrez weaved his way into a position to unleash a curling shot to the right of Mignolet beating the Reds stopper, but also beat the post by a matter of inches.
On 8 minutes, Drinkwater battled to win the ball in the middle and played Vardy through on the left flank. The England number 9 delivered a superb cross to Okazaki who did everything right to get a powerful header on target, only to be denied by Mignolet who did well to tip the ball onto the bar and over for a corner.
On 14 Mahrez had a nice turn and shot which Was comfortable for the Reds keeper who caught it to his left.
Liverpool started to fight their way back into the game and they too were impressive in periods of the match, however they appeared to lack the firepower to threaten a stubborn City backline. Schmeichel was only really called into action once in the first half saving superbly from Can, however it wouldn’t have counted as the German International was ruled offside.
Liverpool continued to push forward as both teams traded blows, forcing a number of corners which they took short in an attempt to break down the resolute Foxes. City were patient and stuck to their formation and game plan. Mahrez nearly put City ahead on 35 with a sensational 35 yard left foot shot which Mignolet had to tip over with a fine save.
Honours were even at half time in what was so far an entertaining match.
Both teams came out strongly, but it was City who took the lead on 60. Mahrez took the ball down superbly turning his man before launching an audacious 50 yard pass through to Jamie Vardy. What happened next stunned everyone as he unleashed a world class volley towards goal which Mignolet had no chance of stopping. It dipped, curled and smashed the back of the net sending the City faithful wild. Klopp later admitted he almost applauded the goal himself and City legend Gary Lineker Tweeted that is was goal of the decade.
Benteke came on for Henderson in an attempt to add some firepower to the Reds attack. Interestingly, the Belgium International cost £250k more than the combined total of the 14 players that featured for City in this match.
On 71 Vardy put the game to bed after some nice play again by Mahrez, Vardy and Okazaki who were incredible all game. Vardy flicked the ball back from a high ball which the Reds failed to clear, keeping the attack alive and the ball fell to Okazaki who shot goalwards. His shot struck a Liverpool defender and Vardy gambled on the loose ball and neatly finished past the oncoming Mignolet placing the ball in the top corner.
Drinkwater and Kante bossed the middle throughout and Klopp decided to bring Can off for Allen to try to overpower the City midfield, but to no avail.
Ranieri left it late to make changes with Gray coming on for Albrighton on 79 and King and Ulloa making an appearance in the closing stages for Okazaki and Mahrez respectively.
An impressive performance and a superb victory to keep City top. 2 tough fixtures are to follow, but on this showing, the #Fearless Foxes are more than capable of picking up some more points on the road.
I’m still refusing to believe, but this team are making harder and harder for me week in week out! The team who have been top in the past 11 seasons going into February have gone on to win the Premier League.
Man of the Match – probably not everyone’s choice, but for me, despite Vardy’s goals, I was once again impressed with Shinji Okazaki, he gets the nod from me this week.