Belfast Telegraph

Leicester City feel cheated after Liverpool blow two-goal lead

By TIim Rich

The sight of Nigel Pearson having his patience stretched when his side are playing Liverpool is becoming familiar.

After the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool last month, the Leicester manager rounded on his own supporters, telling one of them to procreate and perish (or words to that effect).

At the final whistle here, he turned to the banks of fans who had backed his side with passion and wit and gave them a clenched fist salute. His words would be reserved for the referee, Mike Jones, and he chose them very carefully.

On Merseyside, Jones is best known as the referee who ruled that it was perfectly ok for Sunderland's Darren Bent to score the winner against Liverpool after his shot had struck a stray beach ball.

If any of Jones' new year resolutions were about making sure every decision was correct, they did not last long. The game was barely a quarter of an hour old when Wes Morgan, who had been dismissed against Liverpool at the King Power Stadium, slid in to block a low cross from Raheem Sterling. The hour before kick-off had been full of relentless rain, the pitch was slippery and as Morgan dived in, the cross struck his face. For this Jones awarded a penalty.

"I am not going down the route of being ultra-critical of the referee," said Pearson, measuring his words as carefully as a bowler paces out his run-up. "I would like match officials to have the benefit of technology. It would clear up indecision.

"The fans are saying what I want to but cannot. But we are under pressure to get results and it would be beneficial for the game if we allowed the officials to have every tool available."

Five minutes before the interval, Jones awarded Liverpool a second penalty as Philippe Coutinho, attempting to flick the ball into the heart of the Leicester area, saw the ball strike Danny Simpson's hand. Once more, Steven Gerrard stepped up to take the spot-kick and chose the opposite corner of Ben Hamer's goal to the one he had picked out for the first.

The result was the same. Liverpool were leading 2-0 and Leicester, who had begun the game with Riyad Mahrez striking the post from a free-kick, were fading badly.

A long ball from Matty James was knocked down by Jamie Vardy and David Nugent's finish was both lethal and acrobatic. Less than two minutes later, Liverpool's defence allowed Jeff Schlupp too much space and his shot rifled past Simon Mignolet to complete Leicester's finest display since beating Manchester United 5-3 in September.

Disappointed Pool boss Brendan Rodgers said: "I thought we got what we deserved in the end.

"I don't think we played well in all honesty and I thought Leicester played very well.

"We are obviously disappointed at being 2-0 up as the first goal we gave the ball away so cheaply and did not defend well enough.

"It was interesting because we had a plan in place in terms of after the opponent scores or after we score - that five-minute spell where we have an idea of what to do - and unfortunately we failed to do that."

 

LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Can, Toure, Sakho, Henderson, Gerrard, Lucas (Markovic, 72 mins), Moreno, Coutinho (Lambert, 85 mins), Lallana (Borini, 55 mins), Sterling. Subs not used: Ward, Lovren, Manquillo, Ojo

Goals: Gerrard 17, 40

LEICESTER: Hamer, Simpson, Wasilewski, Morgan, De Laet 6, Schlupp, Drinkwater (Nugent, 36 mins), James, Hammond (Cambiasso, 66 mins), Mahrez, Vardy (Ulloa, 74 mins). Subs not used: Smith, Lawrence, Moore, Knockaert

Goals: Nugent 58, Schlupp 60

Man of the match: Riyad Mahrez

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Mike Jones

Attendance: 44,720

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