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Faes' Christmas farce! Liverpool winners, losers and ratings as Klopp's sloppy Reds are bailed out by Leicester's hapless hero

22:00 GMT 30/12/2022
Liverpool-Leicester split
As Salah, Nunez and Co. failed, Leicester's Belgian defender rescued Klopp's side with a pair of comical own goals at Anfield

Liverpool’s top-four charge is gathering pace, but they had an unlikely hero to thank for this latest victory.

It wasn’t Mohamed Salah or Darwin Nunez who edged them to their fourth successive Premier League win, but Wout Faes. The Leicester defender provided the Christmas comedy at Anfield, scoring two own goals as the Reds stumbled their way to a 2-1 success, and moved to within two points of Tottenham as a result.

Leicester had led courtesy of Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s fourth-minute strike, and with Liverpool well below par, Brendan Rodgers’ side were on course for a morale-boosting result until, in farcical fashion, Faes turned the game on its head within a hapless, hopeless seven-minute spell.

First, he needlessly diverted Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross into his own net, and then, in first-half stoppage time, he repeated the trick after Darwin Nunez’s shot had come back off the post.

His side never recovered, although with Liverpool miles below their best, the second half remained a nervy affair, with Nunez and Salah missing opportunities to seal the points and Alisson Becker denying Harvey Barnes at the other end.

Here, GOAL runs through the winners and losers of an error-strewn contest…

  • Cody Gakpo Anfield 2022

    The Winners

    Thiago Alcantara:

    It wasn't hard to spot Liverpool's best player here. He was wearing the No.6 and doing the work of three men in midfield.

    Thiago struggled at Aston Villa on Boxing Day, but he was back to his best here, and Liverpool were extremely grateful for that.

    The Spaniard was on the ball more than anyone else on the field, switching the play effortlessly, beating opponents with a subtle drop of the shoulder and moving the ball through the thirds with speed and accuracy.

    He kept winning it back, too. He made more tackles and more interceptions than anyone in Red, and drew six fouls as Leicester's midfield struggled to get to grips with him.

    With so many of his teammates below par, this was a night where the former Bayern Munich man's class stood out a mile.

    Trent Alexander-Arnold:

    He might technically still be waiting for a first league assist of the season, but Alexander-Arnold certainly left his mark on this game.

    It was his cross which led to Liverpool's equaliser, but it was his work defensively which stood out more, as he comprehensively won his battle with Harvey Barnes down the Reds' right flank.

    For all the criticism aimed his way, this was a proper performance from the England international, who was alert to get a toe on Jamie Vardy's cross in the first half, and then dogged and determined to repeatedly stop Barnes from breaking away in the second.

    He can influence games more with his passing and crossing than he did here, but this was a night for Liverpool to dig deep and get through. Nobody embodied that more than their No.66.

    Cody Gakpo:

    There was a Dutchman in the middle of Liverpool's defence and one in the middle of Anfield's Main Stand, as Gakpo, the Reds' new £44 million ($52m) signing watched his new teammates in action following his move from PSV Eindhoven.

    He was smiling by the end, and no wonder. It isn't hard to see where he will fit into this team, and it surely won't be long before we see him in action.

    Brentford on Monday, maybe? Klopp says that he will need training before he's considered for selection, but with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain anything but convincing as a left-sided forward, Gakpo will surely be part of the travelling party in west London, and will almost certainly make his Anfield bow in the FA Cup against Wolves.

    Klopp will hope he can hit the ground running.

  • Wout Faes Leicester own goal 1 2022-23

    The Losers

    Wout Faes:

    Sometimes it isn't your night, and sometimes it really isn't.

    Wout Faes must have run over a black cat at some point during the festive period. How else can you explain his misfortune here, as the Leicester centre-back single-handedly dragged Liverpool back into a game that looked like it was slipping away from them during a wretched first 45 minutes.

    The Belgian became only the fourth player to score two own goals in a Premier League game, and only the second ever to do so in a match against Liverpool. The last time was in August 1959, when Cardiff's Danny Malloy did so.

    Liverpool lost that game 3-2, but they held on to win this one, the Kop ruthlessly taunting Faes with cries of 'shoot!' every time he received possession in the second half. He didn't oblige, of course, although he nearly handed the Reds another goal, shanking a clearance under pressure from Nunez, with Ward bailing him out by saving from Salah.

    A night to forget, for the 24-year-old.

    Jordan Henderson:

    He's played more than 450 games for Liverpool, has Jordan Henderson, but he can't have played too many worse than this one.

    Pressed into action as the deepest midfielder, with Fabinho awaiting the birth of his first child, Henderson struggled from the word go here. Leggy and lethargic, careless in possession and unable to plug the huge gaps in the centre of the field, the England international could barely hide his frustrations as he stumbled through the 90 minutes.

    He was missing in action as Leicester took the lead, Dewsbury-Hall able to stride through unchallenged, and he struggled to get close as Rodgers' side were able to pop the ball about and play around the Reds' midfield.

    He kept going, as he always does, but this was not a night to soothe concerns over the midfield options at Klopp's disposal. Liverpool need one now, and they need another one in the summer.

    Brendan Rodgers:

    Anfield gave Leicester's manager more than a few fond memories during his time as Reds boss, but he's had nothing but misery since he left the place in 2015.

    This was Rodgers' fifth visit with the Foxes, and he's lost them all, his side finding various ways to avoid picking up a positive result. Remember last season's penalty shootout loss in the Carabao Cup, or James Milner's stoppage-time winner in 2019?

    Here, his players scored three times and Liverpool's scored none, yet it was Jurgen Klopp who was smiling at the end.

    Rodgers always gets a nice reception from the home fans, but he won't want to return any time soon.

  • Andy Robertson Liverpool-Leicester 2022-23

    Liverpool Ratings: Defence

    Alisson Becker (7/10):

    Solid distribution and a big save from Barnes at 2-1. Helpless for the goal.

    Trent Alexander-Arnold (7/10):

    One of the better players on the night. Cross led to the equaliser and he defended stoutly against Barnes.

    Joel Matip (7/10):

    Went for a wander for the first goal, but didn't put a foot wrong thereafter.

    Virgil van Dijk (7/10):

    Won all his headers and handled Vardy's pace comfortably.

    Andy Robertson (5/10):

    Had a nightmare in the first half, stepping up to play offside as Dewsbury-Hall ran through to score and wasting possession carelessly. Replaced just after the hour mark.

  • Jordan Henderson Liverpool 2022-23


    Jordan Henderson (4/10):

    Dreadful for the opening goal and gave the ball away repeatedly in a poor first half

    Thiago Alcantara (8/10):

    The best player on the pitch. Passed it well, drew fouls and won the ball back over and over again.

    Harvey Elliott (5/10):

    Mixed some nice touches and purposeful play with some sloppy passes. Didn't cover the spaces in midfield.

  • Mo Salah Liverpool-Leicester 2022-23


    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (6/10):

    Sloppy start, but set Nunez away with a good pass and had a hand in Liverpool's second goal. Far from a natural out on the left flank.

    Mohamed Salah (5/10):

    Drew one save from Ward and dragged another chance wide. Nowhere near his best.

    Darwin Nunez (6/10):

    Always a danger, as ever, but again couldn't find the finish, although he should have had an assist after a brilliant pass for Salah.

  • Jurgen Klopp Liverpool-Leicester 2022-23

    Subs & Manager

    Kostas Tsimikas (7/10):

    Came on and added energy from left back.

    Naby Keita (7/10):

    Good pass to send Nunez through, and made Liverpool better in midfield, which wasn't hard.

    Joe Gomez (6/10):

    Only introduced for the final five minutes.

    Stefan Bajcetic (6/10):

    Came on and got stuck right in.

    Jurgen Klopp (6/10):

    Team lacked quality in the first half. Subs made things better.