Late penalty helps Liverpool see off Leicester to stretch lead
Liverpool (AFP) –
James Milner's 95th-minute penalty maintained Liverpool's perfect start to the Premier League season in a dramatic 2-1 win over Leicester on Saturday.
James Maddison's 80th-minute equaliser looked set to earn Brendan Rodgers's side a point on the Leicester boss' first visit to Anfield since being sacked by Liverpool four years ago.
However, Milner stayed cool with almost the last kick of the game to seal Liverpool's 17th straight Premier League win and open up an eight-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table.
The drama did not end there as after the final whistle there were angry scenes with players from both sides squaring up, including a heated exchange between Ayoze Perez and Andy Robertson.
Rodgers speaks warmly of his time on Merseyside despite the sorry end to his tenure, and even rented his house to Jurgen Klopp after his successor took charge of the club.
But, however cordial relations between Rodgers and his former employers remain, he offered few favours to a Liverpool side looking for their eighth win in as many league games this season.
It looked as though Liverpool would continue a winning streak that dates back 216 days thanks to a characteristically superb piece of attacking play five minutes before the interval.
- Magnificent Milner -
Sadio Mane struck with a magnificent finish, although the goal owed as much to Milner and the equally magnificent through ball that set him up.
Robertson's pass was sent forward by Milner, a perfectly-weighted assist that curled tantalisingly beyond defender Jonny Evans to play Mane clear and allow him to beat Kasper Schmeichel.
Rodgers and Leicester have undoubtedly been the surprise package of the Premier League season to date, showing form that brought them to Anfield sitting in third place and clearly capable of launching a bid for a top-four finish.
But it was not until Rodgers introduced Marc Albrighton and Perez off the bench after the break that the visitors started to threaten.
Albrighton's beautifully-weighted pass played in Jamie Vardy, whose first touch let him down slightly and allowed Adrian to make a smothering save before Dennis Praet's long shot flew just wide.
Still, Liverpool had more than enough possession to have killed the game off before its frenetic finale.
Skilful play, and an accurate cross, from Trent Alexander-Arnold offered Milner an early chance which the midfielder blasted over the crossbar.
And, either side of his goal, Mane tested Schmeichel, although with efforts that the Leicester goalkeeper saved comfortably.
Schmeichel was even busier in the second half, as Liverpool looked for a decisive second goal, saving acrobatically from Mohamed Salah and Robertson before the late drama.
But there was nothing the Dane could do to deny Milner from the spot after Albrighton chopped down Mane as Liverpool celebrated another significant step towards ending a 30-year wait to win the title.
© 2019 AFP