26 September, 2015
Almost exactly one year ago, Arsenal came to the King Power stadium and delivered what would turn out to be one of only three setbacks City would face the entire season. It was easily the heaviest defeat, with Arsenal winning by three goals. Honestly, it could have been more. Alexis Sanchez carved up the Fox’s back line at will the City midfield were utterly overrun, and the back four had no answers.
You can probably guess why I’m bringing this up. Saturday’s visit to Anfield was eerily similar to the Arsenal match last season. Liverpool looked like scoring every time they came forward and the final scoreline, 4–1 to the hosts, was, if anything, flattering to Leicester. It was painful to watch, unless you can enjoy free-flowing attacking football even when its your team who are helpless to stop it.
Above: Something that did not happen on Saturday, but I’ll never grow tired of watching it.
Liverpool’s front three, Daniel Sturridge, Saido Mane, and Robert Firmino, were in fine form. Their intelligent running, their vision, and their understanding with each other made them effectively unplayable. On Saturday’s form, you just have to tip your hat.
Of more concern, to me at least, is that a makeshift Liverpool back line feature two midfielders were so rarely troubled. Riyad Mahrez is suffering a stuttering start to the campaign and, when he’s not at his best, we’re going to struggle to make things happen down the right. We’re still seeing flashes of his skills. His pass to set Vardy loose in a one-on-one with Simon Mignolet was sublime, but he’s missing the consistent brilliance we saw last year. And, let’s be honest here: James Milner had an absolutely brilliant match at left back.
There weren’t many positives to take from Saturday’s match, but there were a couple. Fortunately, both Mahrez and Vardy show signs of rounding in to form and Danny Drinkwater is picking right up where he left off last year. The addition of Islam Slimani to the side will bring a new dimension to our attack and give us more options when the fast break isn’t on.
My point is this: Let’s not panic yet. Yes, we looked awful against Liverpool We looked awful against a very similar Arsenal side last year. Let’s hope this is a wake-up call that brings us the focus we had last year. If we can recapture that, then I’m not too worried about this season even after Saturday’s match.