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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 December 2018

Liverpool remain unbeaten despite Alisson howler against Leicester

Mane and Firmino give Liverpool lead before Brazilian goalkeeper's error led to Ghezzal pulling a goal back for Leicester

Alisson looks dejected after Leicester City pounced on the Liverpool goalkeeper's mistake to claw back a goal. Reuters
Alisson looks dejected after Leicester City pounced on the Liverpool goalkeeper's mistake to claw back a goal. Reuters

Jurgen Klopp brushed off a howler by goalkeeper Alisson as Liverpool signed off their Premier League campaign before the international break with a fourth straight victory away at Leicester City.

With Liverpool two goals up and cruising courtesy of a Sadio Mane strike and a header from Roberto Firmino, the Brazilian opted for clever footwork instead of simply clearing his lines and was robbed of the ball by Kelechi Iheanacho, who centred for Algerian Rachid Ghezzal.

Last week Alisson was praised for a piece of neat footwork against Brighton & Hove Albion but this unnecessary mistake, prompted by a poor backpass from Virgil van Dyke, brought back instant memories of Loris Karius's errors in the Uefa Champions League final in May.

"I thought it would happen. I didn’t think it would happen during the next match," Klopp told Sky Sports of his £66.8 million (Dh314m) recruit's blunder..

"He knows it [he made a mistake], we need to get used to it. We constantly get the ball to the keeper but the player needs to learn there are other solutions. Joe [Gomez] could have cleared the ball, Alisson could have too. That is how it is. He is a fantastic goalkeeper, makes some fantastic saves. He didn’t do what he was supposed to, but it's all good."

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Both Liverpool goals came before the break with Mane bagging his fourth goal of the season after good work from left-back Andrew Robertson, and Firmino heading home from a James Milner corner for his first of the season on the half-time whistle.

The visitors started the second half sloppily, though, and, with Leicester threatening to grab another goal, a concerned Klopp even brought on Xherdan Shaqiri for last season's record scorer Mohamed Salah, who had missed one easy first-half chance but looked surprised to be taken off.

Victory means Liverpool have won their opening four Premier League matches for the first time since its inception in 1992 as they head into the international break.

"Twelve points - if someone told me that at the start of the season with fewer goals conceded it is a little better," Klopp said. "The boys go to their international teams, they will hopefully all come back fit to Liverpool then we play the rest of the season."

Despite their defeat, Leicester impressed and had more possession and shots on target than Liverpool. James Maddison was always a handful and the home side were unfortunate to end the game without a point with Ghezzal's goal on 63 minutes the first Liverpool have conceded this season.

It means Leicester have won two and lost two to start the campaign, but manager Claude Puel was encouraged by his players' attitude.

"I'm disappointed for my players because they gave their best," he said. "The second half was fantastic, we showed good quality and had a lot of chances.

"We continued to attack, it was a shame to concede the second goal just before half time. It was difficult to come back after that.

"My players played well, we corrected some aspects in our play in the second half to push Liverpool. I am happy about our game, we showed our quality.

"I think we had the chances to come back, and to have a draw. I think we deserved that. I have a young team, young players, they will learn.

"We had good tempo, good aggression. We played with confidence and we had the chances to come back. It is encouraging."

Liverpool goalscorers Roberto Firmino, left, and Sadio Mane, celebrate the former's goal against Leicester City. Reuters
Liverpool goalscorers Roberto Firmino, left, and Sadio Mane, celebrate the former's goal against Leicester City. Reuters

In supplying the corner for Firmino's first goal in seven league matches stretching back to last season, Liverpool midfielder Milner registered his 80th Premier League assist of his career, taking him level with former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham. Only eight players have supplied more.

"We are in as good a position as we can be after four games, won them all," Milner said of Liverpool's start to 2018/19.

"But it is a long season, a lot more to improve. I'm pleased with how we have defended, but there is more to come from this team. It is early days, no one has hit top gear.

"Sometimes in the Premier League you have got to win ugly and we did that. Hopefully after international break we can come back if everyone if fit and improve on things.

"I don't think anyone has hit their top gear yet."

Leicester midfielder Maddison said they were extremely disappointed because "we had Liverpool where we wanted them".

"They weren't exactly brilliant Liverpool goals. We re-grouped at half time and I think we showed exactly what we're about as Leicester City in the second half."