Mohamed Salah’s rare penalty miss proved costly as Liverpool were beaten 1-0 by Leicester City in Tuesday’s Premier League clash.
The Reds were aiming to close the gap on leaders Manchester City from six points to three, but they fell to a first defeat in 11 games in all competitions at the King Power Stadium.
Former Everton man Ademola Lookman’s strike just short of the hour mark, moments after being introduced from the substitutes’ bench, gave Leicester the lead after Salah had earlier had a first-half spot-kick saved.
Liverpool, who eliminated Leicester from the EFL Cup at the quarter-final stage last week, could not find a response as their run of scoring in a club-record 34 successive matches in all competitions came to an end.
Liverpool’s early penalty was awarded as a result of Salah being clipped by Wilfred Ndidi in the box, but the Egypt international’s attempt was kept out by Kasper Schmeichel and he headed the follow-up against the crossbar.
Schmeichel again denied Salah before half-time by palming the forward’s angled drive over the frame of the goal as Leicester, who had shipped nine goals in their previous two games, continued to hold firm.
Sadio Mane wasted a big opportunity of his own when lifting the ball over the bar having been sent through on goal with 55 minutes played and those misses came back to haunt Liverpool shortly after.
The impressive Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall played in Lookman, who had only been introduced three minutes earlier, and the RB Leipzig loanee fired past Alisson at his near post after getting away from Joel Matip.
Leicester lost James Maddison to injury but showed good defensive resilience to hold on for just a second clean sheet in the league since the opening weekend of the season, inflicting another big title blow on Liverpool in the process.
What does it mean? Reds’ title hopes dented after rare blank
Successive defeats for Liverpool against Leicester in the league for the first time since April 1999 leave the Reds six points behind leaders City with 19 games of the season played.
Leicester’s makeshift defence shipped three goals to the same opponents last week, and six to City a little over 48 hours ago, but a rare off-day for the likes of Salah and Mane ensured Lookman’s strike proved enough.
It means Jurgen Klopp’s side, who last failed to find the net in a goalless draw with Real Madrid in April, have lost their final league game in a calendar year for the first time in eight years.
Salah’s spot-kick streak ends
Salah had only previously missed one penalty in his Premier League career but could not quite find the bottom-left corner from his first-half spot-kick and met his match in Schmeichel.
The Denmark goalkeeper has now saved six penalties in the competition from 39 faced – half of those since the start of 2020 – which is twice as many as his father Peter saved (three out of 21).
Trent Alexander-Arnold has often helped get Liverpool out of difficult situations this season with his creativity and goalscoring ability, but the attack-minded right-back was another who was off the boil against Leicester.
As well as failing to get close to Lookman for Leicester’s goal, he gave away possession 32 times in an attempt to make something happen for his side – at least eight times more than any other player on the field. Liverpool in general lost the ball 179 times in total, which is a season high.
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