Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool's Lallana plans to turn Anfield into a fortress after Reds blow away the champions

Liverpool 4 Leicester City 1

By Carl Markham

Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana believes the 4-1 win over Premier League champions Leicester is the benchmark for all home performances now.

The Reds finally returned to Anfield after the new £115million Main Stand was opened for the first time and to mark the occasion they put on a show of breathtaking football at times.

Roberto Firmino opened and closed the scoring, with Sadio Mane enhancing his reputation as one of the buys of the summer with Liverpool's second and Lallana himself scoring the important third.

"Collectively as a team I thought we were outstanding," Lallana said. "We got the two goals in the first half, but let them back in with some sloppy play from ourselves.

"It was no-one's fault and as a team we probably didn't manage the game as well as we should have at 2-0 and gave them a few sniffs.

"We said that at half-time and I thought in the second half we were outstanding again, on the front foot and got the goals at the right time.

"We've set the tempo for what we want Anfield to be like this season."

Lallana's goal was his third in six matches (he scored the winner in England's World Cup qualifier in Slovakia), a tally which last season took him until January to achieve.

He is benefiting from being handed a deeper role than he has previously played as part of a three-man midfield and also from the improvements being made under manager Jurgen Klopp.

"It feels good," he added. "We've got world-class players out there and, irrelevant of what position you're in, as long as you're working hard for each other and creating chances, that's what feels good.

"Everybody was getting chances. It wasn't just myself, Sadio, Firmino, Daniel (Sturridge) and Hendo (Jordan Henderson) at the end had a good chance.

"There was a good feeling as a team, which is what we want to get, consistency at home."

For Leicester, however, it was the worst possible preparation ahead of their Champions League debut against Club Brugge on Wednesday.

Even a third goal of the season for Jamie Vardy, gifted to him by Lucas Leiva's panicked pass to the unmarked striker six yards out, could not hide the issues they have as they slipped to a second defeat of the campaign, having lost just three times during their title-winning season.

"We have to clean our mind," said boss Claudio Ranieri.

"Fortunately now we play every three days. There is an important adventure in the Champions League.

"One of our strengths last season was when we lost a match (there was a) very good reaction and I am awaiting a very good reaction in Brugge."

Jürgen Klopp has challenged his Liverpool team to consistently meet the standard set by their performance.

"We have to show this and perform and have atmospheres like this not only against the champions," he said. "But please don't sing my name before the game is decided."

Though there was a sense that Liverpool were in control, Klopp's feelings are understandable because a feeling remains that his is not a team to always trust.

"West Ham was 2-0 in the lead and lost today so things like this can happen, not only here.

"At half time I told the boys, this is our challenge," he added. "When we are good, we are really good but when we had some problems, it is not easy. This is challenge for the whole season."


LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Milner, Wijnaldum (Stewart, 76 mins), Henderson, Lallana, Leiva, Mane (Moreno, 90 mins), Firmino, Sturridge (Coutinho, 76 mins). Unused subs: Karius, Grujic, Klavan, Origi.

LEICESTER: Schmeichel, Simpson (Hernández, 34 mins), Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Drinkwater, Amartey, Albrighton (Ulloa, 65 mins), Mahrez, Okazaki (Musa, 46 mins), Vardy. Unused subs: Zieler, Chilwell, King, Gray.

Referee: Craig Pawson

Man of the match: Roberto Firmino

Match rating: 7/10

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