Facing a shorthanded Leicester City team that was coming off a 6-3 loss to Premier League leader Manchester City just 48 hours before, Liverpool failed to convert a penalty and ultimately fell 1-0 to the Foxes in a defeat that could have massive implications in the Premier League title race.
The result leaves the second-place Reds six points adrift from Man City at the halfway point of the season with a heavyweight showdown against third-place Chelsea looming on Sunday.
Ademola Lookman was the scoring hero for Leicester, having come on as a substitute not five minutes prior, weaving his way through the penalty area and depositing a hammer blow to the Reds’ title chances and helping to lift Leicester into 9th place.
Before that goal, Liverpool had its gilt-edged chances. Premier League top scorer Mohamed Salah saw a first-half penalty kick stopped by Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who came up with a handful of other stellar saves. Liverpool forward Sadio Mane failed to hit the target on the biggest chance of the second half.
The Reds entered the match with extra rest due to an unexpected layoff on Boxing Day because of a COVID-19 postponement. Leicester did play on Boxing Day and facing a gargantuan injured list that left the Foxes depleted, manager Brendan Rodgers still orchestrated a masterclass in the third match in six days for his club.
Liverpool appeared merely mortal on the night, a catastrophic result given Man City’s perceived immortality.
Liverpool vs. Leicester City final score
LEI — Ademola Lookman — 59th min.
(All times Eastern)
Final: Leicester City 1, Liverpool 0
Full-time: A frustrating evening for Liverpool sees its title chances shrink significantly. It’s Ademola Lookman’s winner that stuns the visitors at the King Power Stadium, burying Liverpool six points back of Manchester City, which feels like 16 the way Pep Guardiola’s side is playing.
For Leicester City, it’s a Herculean performance and result. Given the injury list the Foxes dealt with, plus the loss of James Maddison midway through, Brendan Rodgers has orchestrated nothing short of a miracle. Liverpool was poor, but Leicester City was equally up to the task.
94th minute: In the fourth of five added minutes, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson is up for a corner. The delivery goes well over him, and Joel Matip heads wide. This one’s over.
86th minute: Kasper Schmeichel, who has been fantastic today, saves low at the near post on a tight-angle Mohamed Salah effort. Liverpool pouring on the pressure, but it doesn’t feel like the Reds are close to finding the equalizer, let alone the quickfire double needed to win. One point doesn’t help the Reds at all, as any dropped points are a negative result for the visitors, so there’s a feeling of vanity in this late Liverpool push.
82nd minute: Diogo Jota heads wide off a corner in the latest missed Liverpool opportunity. Reds in real danger of dropping points two matches in a row, which would leave Man City in a spectacular spot heading into 2022. Pep Guardiola’s side would be overwhelming favorites to win the title.
Less than eight minutes for #LFC to at least look like doing something.
— Ian Doyle (@IanDoyleSport) December 28, 2021
73rd minute: More trouble for Leicester City. Jamie Vardy is now down near midfield, and the Foxes have already used all three substitutions. The injury looks somewhat serious. He is heavily limping while coming off, and teammates are patting him on the back of the head.
Brendan Rodgers’ opponent Jurgen Klopp has been the biggest proponent of the five substitution rule, which has not been instituted yet in the Premier League. Rodgers could have used the extra subs today.
Vardy is coming back on, somehow. It probably has to do with the lack of substitutes. Rodgers admitted two days ago that Vardy was injured, but he included him on the substitutes bench against Manchester City anyways though he went unused.
Leicester could be finishing this with 10. Vardy is down and all three subs have been used.
— Paul Gorst (@ptgorst) December 28, 2021
66th minute: A perfect encapsulation of this game from Liverpool’s perspective — Joel Matip produces a brilliantly creative pass to feed Diogo Jota in the penalty area with lots of space, but Leicester closes it down well and Jota’s flick in front of net can’t find Salah. It’s just not happening today for the visitors. Roberto Firmino coming on for the Reds, hoping to change their fortunes.
This second half is perhaps the worst #LFC have played all season. Firmino about to come on.
— Ian Doyle (@IanDoyleSport) December 28, 2021
Worrying for Leicester City as James Maddison is down needing treatment after defending well in the penalty area. He limps off and will be replaced by Marc Albrighton. That could be a big loss for the Foxes who are already struggling with injuries aplenty.
63rd minute: Jota felled just outside the penalty area, but no call from the referee. King Power Stadium boos the Portuguese striker as he limps back into position.
James Milner set to come on for Fabinho. It’s surprising that Jordan Henderson is the last of the starting Liverpool midfield three to remain given he has been quite poor on the day.
Leicester City has held 79 percent possession over the last five minutes. It’s hard to tell which team was thrashed by Man City 48 hours ago.
59th minute: GOAL! Leicester City! Ademola Lookman, just on the pitch for Iheanacho, draws first blood. Dewsbury-Hall starts the move down the left and feeds Lookman, who weaves through the penalty area. No Liverpool defender challenges his run and he beats Alisson at the near post with pace.
Liverpool, now behind, will rue its missed chances.
55th minute: HUGE miss from Sadio Mane, who hasn’t scored or assisted a goal in eight Premier League matches. He gets past Leicester defender Timothy Castagne in the six-yard box, but his shot from point-blank range is rifled over. Another big opportunity missed by Liverpool.
Changes for both sides, Liverpool brings Naby Keita on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who looks frustrated as he comes off. Leicester City sees Youri Tielemans enter the fray, with Hamza Choudhury making way in midfield, while Kelechi Iheanacho comes off for Ademola Lookman.
Sadio, for the love of God.
— Janusz Michallik (@JanuszMichallik) December 28, 2021
52nd minute: Cagey start to the second half, but Leicester is nearly in as Dewsbury-Hall almost finds Vardy streaking down the middle. It’s Liverpool left back Kostas Tsimikas who slides in to get a critical touch and redirect the ball out of play, denying Vardy the chance.
Liverpool is readying substitutions. It appears Naby Keita, James Milner and Roberto Firmino could all be options for Jurgen Klopp shortly.
46th minute: Second half underway, no substitutions as of now.
Halftime: Leicester City 0, Liverpool 0
An entertaining but staccato first half ends goalless. The big moment in the opening frame is Schmeichel’s big penalty save on Salah, but he has another great save to go along with it, while Jamie Vardy came closest for Leicester City.
Liverpool had its chances for sure, but the Reds will be disappointed overall in its production in the final third. Leicester City overall did its job getting to halftime without conceding, but the Foxes didn’t exactly do so with aplomb. Both sides will hope to sort things out in the locker room. This game feels like it has yet to truly reach high gear.
Some are focusing on Jordan Henderson’s poor first half…
43rd minute: Hendo is feeling the volley tonight. Off a corner, his third volleyed effort of the first half, this one maybe the closest yet. He goes with the leg whip and comes very close to placing it in the top corner. Definitely the closest of the three to the net.
Leicester City is giving away possession constantly in its own half, and could eventually be punished for it. They’re trying to play on the counter, but aside from one or two big moments, the counters have resulted in more giveaways than anything else.
38th minute: It took a half-hour for this game to truly kick off, but its all happening now. Maddison ended up with a chance similar to Vardy’s a few minutes earlier, but his shot skittered harmlessly across the face of goal. Leicester fans making a lot of noise as the Foxes have been more of a threat recently.
Liverpool have lost their way a bit here. Second best in the physical battles. Lacking their usual fluency going forward
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) December 28, 2021
36th minute: Matip, on a high from his key block, then went marauding past Leicester defenders and nearly produced a defender’s solo goal for the ages, but he fell one player short, eventually dispossessed by the last Leicester man back. It would’ve been an incredible goal.
35th minute: The first real warning sign from Leicester City. Jamie Vardy plays a brilliant one-two with James Maddison, but his goal-bound shot is blocked heroically by Liverpool defender Joel Matip. It was a threat to take the lead had Liverpool’s center back not been there to turn it away at the right post.
32nd minute: Another STELLAR save by Schmeichel on Salah! This time from open play, a bobbling ball fell to Salah at the right post, and he let a left-footed effort rip from a tight angle. Schmeichel made himself big and pushed it over the crossbar. Pressure does feel like its mounting on the hobbled Leicester City defense.
26th minute: The game feels like it’s waiting for another big moment, but since the penalty there haven’t been many key chances created by either side. Liverpool has put together a few half-looks, with Jordan Henderson again sending a volley over, this one with less venom than the last. Vardy had a breakaway chance for Leicester, but the offside flag ruined that.
#LFC being let down by their inability to control the ball inside the area. Very disappointing performance so far from the visitors.
— Ian Doyle (@IanDoyleSport) December 28, 2021
14th minute: PENALTY SAVED! Liverpool turned away. It’s Salah who goes down under a challenge from Wilfred Ndidi on the edge of the six-yard box, an easy call for the referee. Salah steps up, and his effort was poor. Schmeichel picks the right way and denies.
8th minute: Liverpool beginning to get settled in with long spells of possession. Sadio Mane has a turn-and-shoot effort blocked, while Jordan Henderson volleys a vicious one over the bar. Hendo hit it pretty well as it was dipping back down towards the ground, an audacious effort that didn’t miss by much.
4th minute: This game is already electric. Diogo Jota has a great chance in the Leicester City penalty area but his half-hearted shot is blocked. Liverpool’s Joel Matip gets a very early yellow card for a foul in transition on Kelechi Iheanacho. Fabinho also could have been cautioned for a hard tackle seconds earlier on Leicester’s Choudhury, but he was let off easy.
1st minute: We’re underway. Leicester City in some form of 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1. Either way, it’s different from their usual 4-2-3-1. Will be interesting to see if that has a negative effect on Maddison’s influence.
2:58 p.m.: Kickoff imminent. NBC studio analyst Robbie Mustoe suggested Leicester City would be foolish to “go for it” and believes the Foxes will sit back and absorb pressure to then hit on the counter. We haven’t really seen Brendan Rodgers back down from an opponent like that, but with the injuries this Leicester City squad faces…
2:47 p.m.: With the match nearing kickoff, Jurgen Klopp gave his thoughts on the game, mentioning that there will be a focus on keeping James Maddison at bay, and stating that Thiago picked up a slight injury in training and was left out of the matchday squad as a result.
2:05 p.m.: The lineups are in. Liverpool officially has Virgil van Dijk back from COVID-19, and he makes his 150th appearance for the Reds. Both Jamie Vardy and Wilfried Ndidi, whom Brendan Rodgers admitted are injured, make the starting lineup for the banged-up Foxes.
1:24 p.m.: Kelechi Iheanacho, who could continue to start up front for the injured Jamie Vardy, speaks about facing Liverpool for the second time in a week.
“We’re looking forward to it. We played them in the cup, it was a good game but we lost. We’re hoping to do better in the Premier League and get something out of the game.”
— Leicester City (@LCFC) December 28, 2021
12:49 p.m.: Their team’s lineup may be ravaged, but Leicester City supporters should be in a good mood at the King Power on Tuesday. ( The New York Giants could take a lesson or two here).
🎅 𝔽𝕖𝕤𝕥𝕚𝕧𝕖 𝕘𝕚𝕧𝕖𝕒𝕨𝕒𝕪 🎅
Foxes fans will be given a free beer or water and mince pies or caramel slices ahead of #LeiLiv as a thank you for your brilliant support 🙌
— Leicester City (@LCFC) December 27, 2021
Liverpool vs. Leicester City lineups
If you’re a Leicester City fan, buckle up. The Foxes saw right back Ricardo Pereira suffer a broken leg in the EFL Cup (Carabao Cup) defeat to Liverpool, and he will miss significant time. Center back Caglar Soyuncu also left that match with a hamstring injury and is out for the forseeable future. Jonny Evans is unavailable for the festive fixtures with a thigh problem, and Harvey Barnes, Ryan Bertrand, and Wesley Fofana will all be missing as well.
Jamie Vardy and Wilfried Ndidi were both on the bench for the Boxing Day loss against Manchester City, but Rodgers admitted they are both injured, and were included only as emergency options due to a lack of depth. Both were included in today’s starting lineup, which speaks to the struggle Leicester City currently faces.
Leicester City starting lineup (4-3-1-2): Schmeichel (GK) — Thomas, Ndidi, Amartey, Castagne — Tielemans, Soumare, Choudhury —Maddison — Iheanacho, Vardy.
Leicester City subs (9): Ward (GK), Vestergaard, Nelson, Daley-Campbell, Tielemans, Albrighton, McAteer, Lookman, Perez
While Leicester’s bad news piles up, things are looking up for Liverpool. The club announced that Van Dijk has cleared COVID-19 protocol and is ready to return, as are Thiago, Fabinho, and Curtis Jones.
The only player unavailable for the time being is left back Andy Robertson who is suspended due to the red card picked up against Tottenham, while Harvey Elliott’s serious ankle injury keeps him out until at least January. Otherwise, the squad is as fit as can be around this time of year.
Liverpool starting lineup (4-3-3): Allison (GK) — Tsimikas, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold — Keita, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain — Mane, Jota, Salah.
Liverpool subs (9): Kelleher (GK), Konate, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Gomez, Jones, Beck, Williams.
How to watch Liverpool vs. Leicester City
- Date: Tuesday, Dec. 28
- Time: 3 p.m. ET
- TV channel: NBCSN
- Spanish-language TV: — None —
- Streaming: fuboTV (free 7-day trial) , NBCSports.com (authenticated users)
In addition to being on NBCSN, the match will also be accessible via the NBC Sports website for authenticated cable, satellite or telco subscribers.
Liverpool-Leicester pre-match picks & prediction
Leicester City simply faces an unfair uphill climb in this match, having played 48 hours previously against the league leaders. Liverpool got an unexpected rest, and as a result, this match could end up with a harsh result.
Still, both teams are proficient at finding the back of the net, and instead of backing a well-managed Leicester City side to get blown out, back the over despite the somewhat unsavory odds. This could be a blowout yet, but the Foxes will put up a fight like they did in the Carabao Cup against Liverpool (3-3 draw) and again against Man City in the 6-3 Boxing Day thriller.
Pick: Liverpool to win & over 2.5 goals parlay (-200)
Prediction: Leicester City 2, Liverpool 4
- Moneyline: Leicester +1000 / Draw +600 / Liverpool -400
- Spread: Liverpool -1.5 (-155) / Leicester +1.5 (+130)
- O/U 3.5 total goals: Over -130 / Under +105
- Both teams to score: Yes -165 / No +125