Belgium just became the first country in Europe to draw the curtains on the 2019-20 league action as Belgian Pro League board has reportedly refused to wait any longer in calling off the footballing season for good.
According to the newspaper HLN, the decision from the board of directors was unanimous, and now only the endorsement from the general assembly awaits on April 15 which is expected to be just a formality.
The whole saga has resulted in Club Brugge being crowned the champions who had solidified their position at the top by amassing a healthy lead of 15 points from their nearest rivals with just one matchday left to play.
Club brugge being crowned the champions was a question of when not if. Interestingly this whole situation looks quite similar to the unresolved saga in England.
Premier League conundrum
Everyone was expecting Liverpool to walk away as Champions in the modern Premier League era for the first time in their history, but all such hopes were put to a screeching halt by the coronavirus pandemic.
Liverpool are runaway leaders of the Premier league table and it was just a matter of time till they were crowned champions, but then coronavirus happened. Premier league and quite frankly every other sporting league officials are in a spin on what’s the best next course of action.
You can’t chalk up a clear plan about a situation like this, which the whole world is experiencing for the first time. No one knows when the situation would turn to normal, or even become amiable enough to hold matches in an empty stadium without fans which also currently seems like a distant reality.
English top-flight chiefs are set to meet on Friday to discuss the next steps. It’s clearly not easy for anyone to decide what should be the next steps as no matter what you choose, you are guaranteed to upset a large section of people. But these are extraordinary times and at times like these, it sure requires some bold decisions to come from the top.
The inborn flair that comes naturally with Brazilians has often seen clubs in the past pay surprisingly large amounts of fee for teenagers who are yet to prove themselves on the big stage and Real Madrid’s case is no different.
Having signed 17-year-old Rodrygo for 45 million Euros making him the third most expensive teenager at the time, the expectations from him were surreal when he arrived at the beginning of the season in Madrid after having spent an additional year with Santos on loan.
However, the Samba boy soon impressed the Santiago Bernabeu faithful in pre-season. It didn’t take him long to win the trust of their talismanic manager Zinedine Zidane and was handed a La Liga debut in the last week of September against Osasuna.
He soon made his first European appearance against Galatasaray away from home in October and just 8 days later, scored his first goal for the Los Blancos in the league.
However, it was his performance midweek that grabbed the most headlines.
With Gareth Bale not in the squad, he was given another chance to start the match and came out with flying colours.
Two goals in the opening ten minutes were followed by an assist in the dying moments of the first half, before he capped off his hat-trick in injury time.
Not only did he become the second youngest after Raul to have scored a Champions League triplet, he was named the competition’s player of the week and announced himself to the world in remarkable fashion.
His teammates were evidently ecstatic for the prodigy amidst them, but none so much as compatriot and fellow teenager Vinicius Junior.
The two have had similar stories uptil joining the Vikings and the 19-year-old was the first to congratulate his Seleção youth teammate.
As the man of the moment entered the dressing room with the customary match ball, the two shared a fancy handshake before hugging each other, with Vinicius’ grin on full display.
While the Brazilian duo has constantly been pitted against each other by the Spanish media, Los Blancos fans would be hoping to see the partnership between the pair thriving both on and off the pitch for years to come.
Chelsea got back to winning ways during the weekend after the players put in an absolute shift to come back with three crucial points from Vicarage Road.
While the score suggests they only managed to eke out a narrow 2-1 win, it doesn’t tell the full story.
The Blues were in charge for the majority of the game, buoyed by the efforts of their dynamic duo in the middle of the field, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic.
The two players ended up with a combined 265 passes at 95% accuracy, with an accumulated possession of 22.2% between them.
For context, the entire Watford team could only conjure up 33.3% possession throughout the 90 minutes, meaning the pair had as much as two-thirds of the possession as the Hornets managed.
Kovacic, with 154 touches, the most by player on the field during the game, was seen frequently driving forward with purpose and adding to the attacking impulse of his time.
He managed to complete 11 of his 12 attempted long balls, while also managing to win as many as 7 duels which highlights his contribution both in attack and in defence. As long as he keeps up this rich vein of form, the Stamford Bridge faithful won’t be missing the injured Kante much.
As for Jorginho, the Italian midfield maestro completed 11 hard-fought recoveries and as many as 4 interceptions. The 27-year-old also threaded four neat through balls splitting Watford’s defence, the first of which was delightfully finished by Tammy Abraham to open Chelsea’s account. He also created two chances and apart from the yellow card late in the game had a near-perfect game.
While Jorginho has already cemented his place as a favourite of both the fans and the manager, Real Madrid-reject Kovacic has also done well so far to win the trust of his manager.
Along with Kante, the three have been the fulcrum of the team’s success in the season uptil now and will be hopeful of kickstarting another winning streak after a 2-1 loss against Manchester United in the cup in their last outing.
A video of an Arsenal fan, claiming his passionate, frank and adamant appreciation for Ian Wright, is creating a lot of noise among Twitteratis.
The video got so popular that it even brought an equally funny tweet from Ian Wright himself.
The video starts with a reporter who is testing the Arsenal fan’s knowledge regarding the club.
She asks who among the current Arsenal players have made the most number of appearances for the club.
The fan readily and confidently uttered Ian Wright’s name whose last appearance for the Gunners was back in 1998.
Even when the reporter told him the right answer and mentioned the obvious fact that Wright cannot be considered as a current player, the fan ‘dismissed’ her point by saying, “but I love Ian Wright.”
The mention of Mesut Ozil, who has made the most club appearances among the current lot (233 appearances), certainly did not make him happier as he clearly voiced his contempt for the German maestro, ‘I don’t appreciate Ozil. I appreciate Ian Wright.”
The video ends with him standing firmly on his belief so much so that he even questioned the sanctity of statistics.
Real Madrid had to satisfy themselves with a dry goalless draw at home against Real Betis on the weekend as their wobbly form witnessed so far in the season continues.
While the Los Blancos were the better side for major parts of the game, they were left lamenting a controversial VAR decision which might have robbed them of two crucial points. A win would have seen the Vikings catapult Barcelona to the top spot after the Blaugrana had lost 3-1 to Levante earlier in the evening.
The much talked about incident occurred in the 82nd minute amidst a late attacking surge by the Royal Whites.
Caught on the counter attack, the Betis defence saw Eden Hazard threading a neat through ball from near the half line to a rampant Karim Benzema. The in-form striker caught up with the ball on the left edge of the 12-yard box and fired in a low cross.
Betis defender Feddal slid in just ahead of him in an attempt to block the final ball, only to have the ball striking his arm as he fell. The ball thereon safely reached the goalkeeper’s glove, but had the intervention not taken place it looked certain to end up dangerously in the six yard box. Skipper Sergio Ramos was there waiting to pounce on the same and seal a first victory for the hosts in three years against the Verdiblancos at the Santiago Bernabéu.
The referee was quick to consult the Video Assistant Referee team who after an extended check, gave the decision in the visitors’ favour.
The judgement had the Bernabéu faithful roaring in disapproval, as the Betis defence held on tightly to secure a point away from home.
While the debate will continue for a while it seems, it won’t change the fact that Real Madrid could only conjure a point against a rigid defensive structure despite having a much superior game.
As things stand, they are tied at the top of the table with arch rivals Barcelona on points, with the Catalonians placed above them due to a better goal difference.
Lionel Messi’s form from dead ball situations in the past few years has simply been on a different level than everybody else to play the sport, as he has been surpassing one milestone after the other.
Only recently, he scored his 50th direct free kick for club and country against Real Valladolid on Tuesday, a match which saw him come away with two goals and assists each to his name.
To celebrate the landmark and pay tribute to La Pulga, Spanish journalist David Saura Ramiro has posted a graphic on Twitter showing from where those attempts were hit and where they ended up in the net.
As many as 44 of those goals were scored by Messi while he donned the famous blue and claret jersey of the Blaugrana, the first of which came at their home ground against Atletico de Madrid in November, 2008. The remaining six were struck by him while representing his national team Argentina.
The graphic shows that the furthest from which he has managed to convert a free kick is 31 metres, which was incidentally also his first freekick goal for La Albicelestes. It further suggests that most of the successful attempts lodged themselves in the upper corners of the net almost touching the woodwork, albeit a few of them have gone in despite being placed centrally.
Perhaps the most remarkable feature indicated by the graph is the different distances and angles from which the shots have been hit. Be it the edge of the penalty box or from farther out, be it directly in front of the goal or diagonal to the wooden frame, the little maestro has managed to do it all.
Equally fascinating is the fact that he had only scored 19 until the start of 2015/16 season, since then he has added 31 more to his tally. With more than half of the present season to go, it’ll be interesting to see whether he is able to reach a half-century of goals for Barça by the end of 2019/20.
Marcelo Vieira in his typically animated style indicated and appreciated the quality of a cross made by his teammate Dani Carvajal as Real Madrid thrashed Leganes 5-0 on Wednesday.
Los Blancos’ trusted right-back Carvajal curved an absolute beauty inside the Leganes box. The venomous cross was desperately searching for a header and Luka Jovic obliged to make the score 5-0.
With this goal, the Serbian forward finally ended his Real Madrid duck after 479 long minutes.
Marcelo, who himself is an excellent crosser, immediately realized the quality of the ball and conveyed his spontaneous appreciation (see below) in an emoji-styled gesture.
The 27-year old Spanish workhorse is having a good season as he has already amassed 4 assists in 7 league appearances.
Earlier in the game, Real Madrid did not find any difficulty in finding the back of the net as Rodrygo scored in the 7th minute.
Toni Kroos doubled the lead in the next 60 seconds. Both the assists were provided by Karim Benzema.
Next two goals came from penalties as Sergio Ramos and Benzema did not miss the target respectively.
With this win, the Galacticos rose to the second position in the league table and are only one point behind Barcelona. They will play their next match in Santiago Bernabéu against Real Betis on Sunday.
Arsenal new signing Kieran Tierney showed some real class after their defeat was confirmed in the Carabao Cup fixture against reigning European champions Liverpool FC.
After a rollercoaster game that saw five goals scored by both the Gunners and the Scousers in regulation time, the result was to be decided by penalties.
Both teams started out strongly scoring first three of their respective strikes, until on loan midfielder Dani Ceballos missed his shot. The Merseyside team capitalized as it slotted in the next two of its shots neatly to win the shootout 5-4.
After having led for most of the game, the travelling Arsenal side was visibly distraught and seemed to head straight back to the tunnel after Curtis Jones’ telling strike.
However, recently acquired fullback Kieran Tierney took the forefront as he forbade the players from leaving the pitch, before gathering them all to walk towards the away fans section and express gratitude towards all those faithful supporters that had made the journey from London.
Considering it has been less than three months since Arsenal bought the Scottish international from Celtic, it was a pleasant sight for the fans to see the 22-year-old growing into the club.
Celtic are renowned for their welcoming fan culture and their fanbase has won multiple recognitions from FIFA and UEFA in the past and Tierney having spent 14 years with the Scottish champions, it was evident their culture has rubbed off on him.
Having provided a solution to their defensive problems as well as lack of spirit at times, Kieran Tierney has come to be loved by the Arsenal fans with some of them having already proclaimed him as a future captain of the London club –
Roy Keane, the Manchester United legend, and now a football pundit did not mince his words when he was asked about the performances of Tottenham Hotspur fullbacks in the loss against Liverpool.
Danny Rose in particular was the worst performer of the night as he constantly gave away possession. Due to his flurry of missed passes Spurs never found any considerable momentum on the left wing.
Nothing depicts it more comprehensively than his stats as he finished the match with an awful 17% pass accuracy.
The evening opened very differently for Spurs though as they took only 47 seconds to find the back of the net.
They managed to keep the lead at the half time but their defense looked vulnerable and wanting on multiple occasions.
Rose came back to the squad after missing the last Champions League encounter against Red Star Belgrade.
But the English left-back was constantly found stretched, confused and out of position on the pitch.
It was his dreadful clearance that found Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson, who finished it brilliantly for the equalizer in the second half.
Aurier on the right flank also had a forgetful night as he was constantly beaten by Sadio Mane’s brute pace.
His terribly mistimed tackle in the box rewarded the Reds a penalty which was calmly converted for a win by Mohamed Salah.
These dismal performances did not impress Keane at all as he was at his brazen best when he said in a post match analysis: “The two Tottenham full-backs were dreadful. Dumb and Dumber, I’d call them. I thought they were really poor.”
Rose will mandatorily miss the next match against Everton as he received another yellow card yesterday. But the 29-year-old is expected to find it difficult to return to the first eleven as Spurs have a very potent replacement in Ben Davies.
Arsenal’s dynamic midfielder Lucas Torreira was caught by the cameras with tears in his eyes after club captain Granit Xhaka received a wave of abuses and jeers from the Emirates crowd while being taken off the field by manager Unai Emery.
Having taken a two goal lead within the first ten minutes of the Premier League game against Crystal Palace, the Gunners looked set to record what would have only been their second win in the competition in the ongoing month.
However, goals on either side of half-time meant the two teams were on level terms by the 52nd minute. With manager Unai Emery desperate to overturn the club’s recent run of form, he brought on young winger Bukayo Saka to replace midfield anchor Granit Xhaka.
As soon as the Swiss’ name was displayed on the big screen, the Gooners erupted in cheers to see the 27-year-old go off.
Arsenal has failed to capitalize on its talented squad and the quality has not reflected in the results so far this season, with the captain having been made the scapegoat for their poor performances. He has been on the wrong end of abuses aimed at him and his family, the same of which was again at display on Sunday.
However, this time he decided he had had enough, as he threw the armband to the ground before ripping off his jersey and dropping it in the dirt while walking off into the tunnel.
While such dire actions divided the internet between those who lambasted him for disrespecting the club in such manner and those who sympathized with the treatment he has been receiving from the Emirates faithful, it was evident which side Lucas Torreira was on.
The Uruguayan himself has had limited minutes so far this campaign with Xhaka being the preferred option for the French manager, but the 23-year-old’s faith in and respect for the skipper was on display as the criticism hurled at Xhaka overwhelmed the youngster.
It remains to be seen whether the club will be taking any disciplinary action against the skipper, with a glaring possibility that he will be stripped of his leadership position, but the players regardless seem to be standing united with each other.
Chelsea legend and current manager of the club Frank Lampard has managed to take his team to new heights in the early phase of this season despite all the adversities that have surrounded the Blues.
The club is on a six-match winning streak and sits third in the league, having also secured two wins on the trot against tough competition in Europe.
The rival fans have begun to notice the same and with clubs like Arsenal and Manchester United going through extended rough patches for the better half of a decade now.
However, at the beginning of the season, things looked anything but optimistic. Not only had Chelsea lost its four time player of the year Eden Hazard who also starred in their Europa League winning campaign, but were also handed a transfer ban effective immediately.
Moreover, Lampard had only had one full season as manager in professional football with Derby County, arousing natural skepticism from the club’s supporters.
The same doubts were shoved into the spotlight when the London club lost the UEFA Super Cup to Liverpool before being marauded 4-0 by Manchester United in their league opener.
The 41-year-old has since not only managed to turn the tables, but has emerged as a prospective long term candidate capable of ushering a new era at the club.
His emphasis on giving the youth maximum chances has seen players like Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham flourish under him, not to forget Christian Pulisic who has had a real impact whenever given a chance.
He has tried to inculcate a fast, slick brand of possession-based attacking football, the best version of which was at show in their latest match against Ajax.
Though they only managed to win 1-0 courtesy a late Michy Batshuayi strike, the scorecard doesn’t tell the whole story.
They were constant a threat to Ajax’s defence before ultimately capping it off with a goal to also come away with the result.
Chelsea and rival fans alike were quick to take notice of and mentioned the same, heaping praise on the iconic number eight for the job he has been doing so far.
They gave all credit to the club’s smooth start to the season to one of the youngest managers in the circuit and Chelsea fans will be hoping he helps the team sustain their present form for a long time to come.
Check out the tweets from 3 popular fan accounts on Twitter being slightly jealous with what Frank Lampard has done with Chelsea so far this season –
Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita’s impressive 13-minute cameo not only saved the Reds’ day against Manchester United, but also gave him a start in yesterday’s UEFA Champions League outing against K.R.C. Genk.
The 24-year-old Guinean footballer made the best of this opportunity by setting the record for most passes completed by any footballer in an away match this season.
His tally of 110 successful passes came with an outstanding 93% success rate. Mainly due to his unsung heroics, Liverpool could return with a 4-1 win over the Belgian side.
Keita started the game on the left flank of the midfield as Liverpool played with a 4-3-3 formation. His confidence was evident as on the 8th second of the match as Keita made an outrageous pass using his back.
After the 2nd minute goal, scored by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the Belgian side tried to return into the game.
But it was Keita whose non-stop performance set the tone for Liverpool’s midfield.
His typical box-to-box play reminded all the viewers why he is so often compared to N’Golo Kante by Liverpool fans.
As time passed, Keita grew in confidence and stamped his authority on the game. If 12 recoveries showed his defensive contribution against Genk, 29 successful final third passes comment on his influence over the attacking aspect of Jurgen Klopp’s side.
It is not at all surprising that Keita finished with most successful final third passes, most ball recoveries and jointly was the most successful tackler.
Even after this fabulous performance, Keita’s place is not secure in the starting line-up against Tottenham on Sunday as he probably have to fight for a position in the midfield against Oxlade-Chamberlain, who himself finished the match with a brace.
Besides a goal against their biggest rivals, Marcus Rashford also grabbed the limelights for out-muscling Virgil van Dijk to the floor as Manchester United’s improved display so nearly brought a surprise victory against Liverpool on Sunday.
The striker looked to be in great spirits as he hung out with South London rapper Youngs Teflon after the game.
And it seems the duo had a right laugh at the expense of the Dutchman as Youngs took to his Twitter account and uploaded a photo with the caption “Right after we laughed at the VVD challenge”.
The rapper has continually laced his music with football references since starting out.
Disappointed not to win but much better from us and good to get on the scoresheet.
His obsession with football has seen him reel off bars in a number of tracks and freestyles down the years, with the Manchester United fan often vocal on Twitter about the game he loves most. He even has a track named “Marcus Rashford”.
Rashford, meanwhile has been under pressure in recent weeks after enduring a dry spell in front of goal for Manchester United with many fans and pundits questioning his ability and hunger to lead the line for United.
But the 21-year-old turned in a good performance for United against Liverpool.
Rashford found the net to give his side a lead in a game few gave them a chance of getting something out of, but Adam Lallana’s late goal saw the contest finish 1-1.
The result is a much-needed boost for Rashford and United, who have been off the boil this season.
Rashford will get another chance to prove his number 9 credentials this Sunday when United travel to Carrow Road to take on newly promoted side Norwich City.
The 30-man shortlist was announced for this year’s Ballon d’Or prize was announced on Monday which features Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk.
While Virgil van Dijk is this year’s favourite to win the Ballon d’Or after inspiring Liverpool to a Champions League victory against Spurs in the final, Messi as always will one of the strongest contenders to claim the prize once again.
Messi had another prolific season that yielded 36 goals and 13 assists in La Liga. His goals and assists led Barcelona to another La Liga title and he dragged Barcelona to the Champions League semi-final where they lost to eventual winners Liverpool.
We take a look at the some of the famous footballers, managers and pundits who have all recently come out and said that Lionel Messi should win the Ballon d’Or.
Virgil van Dijk
Despite the Liverpool and Dutch defender being the favourite to claim the Ballon d’Or Van Dijk still believes that Messi is the best player and he deserves it as long as he is still playing.
He recently said “Messi is the best player in the world. He deserves it as long as he plays. I don’t think there is any case, he is the best player in the world.”
The 20-year-old might be tearing up defences in Ligue 1 and will no doubt be a huge contender to win the Ballon d’Or in the future but he is no doubt that Messi is still the best player in the world right now.
The French international will be one of the contenders to win the prize this year after scoring a staggering 33 goals in the League last season for PSG 11 goals more than Arsenal’s new signing Nicolas Pepe who finished 2nd with 22 goals
When asked Who do you think should win the Ballon d’Or?
Mbappe said “Messi. Despite the elimination, it does not change anything. He is the number one.”
The former Liverpool defender is another believer Messi should win the Ballon d’Or
He said “I think Messi should win the Ballon d’Or. He has really cemented himself at that level. Van Dijk is the best in his position, but Ballon d’Or… I think Messi.”
Mane who is one of the contenders to win the Ballon d’Or after having a prolific campaign with Liverpool, jointly winning the Premier League golden boot last season thinks that Messi should just shade it over his team mate Virgil van Dijk.
He said “Virgil is a great, great player but sorry Virgil, it has to be Messi before you”
Fabregas is one of Messi’s best mates and played alongside the Argentinian at Barcelona between 2011 to 2014 before moving to Chelsea and then Monaco.
Fabregas said: “It is difficult, but I think Messi deserves it [ Ballon d’Or ].
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero who plays alongside Messi for Argentina belives that Messi should win the Ballon d’Or as long as he is still playing
“No one other than Messi will be my pick for the Ballon d’Or as long as he keeps on playing”
Frenkie De Jong
De Jong who is playing alongside Messi after moving to Barcelona this season is also included in the shortlist after an impressive season playing for Ajax. The 22-year-old also plays alongside van Dijk for the Dutch national team but believes that Messi should win it over his national teammate.
“Van Dijk or Messi for the Ballon d’Or? Don’t get me wrong, Van Dijk is a great player but you cannot compare him to Messi. Messi is the best in the world.”
Gerard Pique who has shared the dressing room with Messi since 2008 is in no doubt who he would vote for
Pique said “I always said that for me, if you have to vote for the best player, you have to vote for Messi.”
Mourinho who came up against plenty of times as a manager believes that Messi will win the award.
Mourinho said “Messi knows that the Ballon d’Or is waiting for him.”
Luis Suarez who has had an enviable partnership with Messi on the field since moving to Barcelona from Liverpool in 2014 feels that Messi should win the award every year. Suarez is said to have a close relationship with Messi off the field as well
Suarez said “The truth is that Messi deserves it every year.”
Moreno who is the current manager of the Spain national team has already revealed who he is going to vote for
Moreno said “Messi is football. I voted for him in the FIFA Best. He is the best in history, as was the best player this year.”
Former Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis who always been vocal about Messi being the best player in the world after facing plenty of times with Atletico Madrid believes that if Messi does not win the Ballon d’Or it will lose its credibility.
“The award is for the best player in the world. The best player in the world is Messi. Today, last 2 years ago and 3 years ago. From the moment that Messi does not win the award, it loses its credibility.”
Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac has also revealed who he will be voting for
Kovac said “Messi has always got my Ballon d’Or vote.”
The Liverpool defender who can count himself unlucky not be included in the 30-man shortlist after an impressive season for Liverpool believes that Messi is the best player in the world.
Liverpool fans noticed what Sadio Mane did after Adam Lallana’s late equaliser that salvaged a point for the leaders at Old Trafford.
Substitute Adam Lallana saved Liverpool from a chastening loss at bitter rivals Manchester United in a pulsating Premier League clash which had its share of VAR drama.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side headed into this match as underdogs against Jurgen Klopp’s rampant side – little wonder given the visitors had won their last 17 league matches and the Red Devils were just a point off the relegation zone.
United have so often been the scourge of Liverpool at Old Trafford, though, and were on course for a memorable win thanks to Marcus Rashford’s contentious goal, only for late replacement Lallana to secure a 1-1 draw.
It was the first time Klopp’s men had dropped points since March 3, but this game was shaping up to be a whole lot worse for the table-topping visitors.
United dragged Liverpool into a scrap by playing with an intensity so often lacking this season, with their unusually resolute defence providing the platform for a break that saw Daniel James superbly cross for Rashford to turn home.
The visitors were furious that the video assistant referee allowed the goal to stand despite Victor Lindelof’s challenge on Divock Origi in the build-up – frustration that only grew when what would have been an equaliser by Sadio Mane was cancelled out for handball.
Liverpool were missing injured Mohamed Salah but looked sharper after the break and salvaged a late point as Lallana ghosted in at the far post to turn home Andrew Robertson’s cross.
Time was of the essence as Liverpool players looked for a winner after their equalizer and Sadio Mane led the charge as he was seen pushing and urging on his teammates to go back to the middle.
Look at Mane pulling Lallana away to get back in this game. He doesn’t want to settle with a draw, he wanted to win this game. He wasn’t at his best today, but love his mentality. pic.twitter.com/GTzw3gWIxu
James Milner’s added-time penalty snatched a 2-1 win over Leicester on Brendan Rodgers’ first return to Anfield, four years and a day after he was sacked as Reds boss.
It was the third time in a week Jurgen Klopp’s side had edged a game by a single-goal margin after they benefited from a goalkeeping error at Sheffield United last weekend and had to bounce back from letting a three-goal lead slip to beat Red Bull Salzburg 4-3 in the Champions League.
Liverpool dominated the first half but had only Sadio Mane’s 41st-minute goal – his 50th in the Premier League for the club – to show for it after Milner’s raking pass released the Senegal international, who should have doubled their lead before the break.
In the second half, with Klopp’s side unable to gain full control, Leicester hit back through James Maddison 10 minutes from time to set up an anxious finish – but Milner was the coolest man inside Anfield with the seconds counting down, with his 17th success from 19 spot-kicks for the club.
The sheer importance of the win could be seen in the reaction from Sadio Mane, who went down on his knees after Milner converted from the spot –