Ghana’s Daniel Amartey made a full Premier league appearance foe the first time since December for Leicester City in their 3-1 home win over Champions Liverpool at the King Power Stadium.
Amartey, who was injured since December impressed in a makeshift defensive pairing following several injuries to the foxes side.
Returning drom a two months layoff, Amartey had earlier played 90 minutes in the foxes FA cup 5th round triumph over Brighton and Hove Albion in midweek
With only one minute and 15 seconds showing on King Power Stadium’s giant screens, an error on the halfway line from Liverpool presented James Maddison with the opportunity to catch Alisson off his line, however the well-struck, ambitious effort, was eventually collected by the Reds stopper.
On 10 minutes, following a sustained spell of pressure from the visitors, Mo Salah worked his way into a one-on-one situation with Schmeichel, however Ricardo did enough to put the Egypt forward off, and he couldn’t hit the target with his attempt.
A lovely, floated pass from Academy graduate Harvey Barnes then found the run of Jamie Vardy, who beat debutant Ozan Kabak – international team-mate of Çağlar Söyüncü and Cengiz Ünder – to the ball, but he could only lift his lob onto the roof of the net from a tight angle.
Salah sent a half-volley wide shortly after, and then City came forward through Maddison, who couldn’t get a shot off, before a last-ditch challenge from Amartey prevented Sadio Mané from rounding off a swift counter-attack from Liverpool.
Another forward move from the Reds saw Schmeichel spread himself well at the near post to deny Roberto Firmino, before a sensational stop from the Dane again denied the Liverpool striker, this time from point-blank range, just moments later.
City continued to work hard defensively, with Wilfred Ndidi getting in the way of a Firmino curler on 28 minutes, and then Kabak got a boot in the way of Maddison’s drive after Ndidi had won the ball off substitute Thiago Alcântara, before the No.25 nodded wide from the resulting corner.
Some fine play from Barnes saw him work a cross into the box while under pressure from Trent Alexander-Arnold, and while his delivery found the head of Vardy, the Foxes No.9 could only flick the ball into the arms of Alisson, who was positioned well on his line.
With three minutes of the first half to play, a golden opportunity for City to take the lead fell to Vardy, who collected Maddison’s flick after a slip from Kabak and set himself before slamming his strike onto the crossbar.
The 2019/20 Premier League Golden Boot winner was through again on the stroke of half-time, latching onto Henderson’s defensive header, but Alisson raced out to collect and Leicester couldn’t capitalise on two huge chances at the end of the opening 45 minutes.
Early on in the second period, Youri Tielemans got in the path of Curtis Jones’ drive from distance, before Alisson smothered a Maddison pass at the other end of the pitch to prevent Vardy from connecting with the ball in the six-yard box.
The Merseyside outfit struck the woodwork themselves on 57 minutes, with Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick flicking Vardy’s head and onto the bar from 30 yards out, before Firmino nodded off target at the front post while being marked by Ndidi not long after.
Liverpool’s pressure told on 67 minutes, though, when Salah curled into the far corner after some good hold-up play from Firmino saw the Brazilian flick the ball into the feet of the Premier League’s current top scorer.
Rodgers made his first change of the game on 74 minutes, when Ayoze Pérez replaced Albrighton and took up a central role in attack in behind a front two of Barnes and Vardy.
Barnes’ position was much more advanced, and that led to a direct drive that eventually saw him win a free-kick following a VAR check for a penalty, as contact took place outside the box.
From the resulting free-kick, Maddison curled the ball into the box and past Alisson, and while the goal was initially ruled out for offside against Amartey in the build-up, VAR intervened and replays showed he was onside.
An incredible few minutes of action then saw City take a 2-1 lead after Alisson raced out and completely missed the ball, allowing Vardy to run it into the net to bag his 14th strike of the season in all competitions.
A superb double save from Alisson then prevented Leicester from extending their advantage, as the Brazil stopper tipped Barnes’ low effort into the path of Vardy before denying the No.9 on the follow-up with a spectacular goal-line stop.
Barnes did not stop there, though, and his determination shone through as he latched onto an Ndidi pass before slotting beyond Alisson to make it 3-1 to the hosts at King Power Stadium with just five minutes remaining.
A second substitution of the afternoon followed, with Hamza Choudhury coming on in place of Tielemans, whose battling performance in the heart of midfield earned a round of applause from the City bench as he made his way off the pitch.
Substitute Pérez then took a knock and had to be replaced by Papy Mendy for the remaining few minutes, however Liverpool were unable to conjure up any chances in added time, and Leicester claimed a memorable win over the champions.