Curtis Jones’ impressive double pushes Leicester to the brink of relegation
Curtis Jones’ impressive double dealt a major blow to Leicester’s survival hopes, as Liverpool secured a comfortable 3-0 victory.
The match held particular significance as it marked the two-year anniversary of the Foxes’ memorable FA Cup triump, further emphasizing the stark decline of the former Premier League champions.
Jones netted two goals in the first half, while Alexander-Arnold added to the scoreline with a stunning strike. The home team’s performance crumbled, leaving them on the verge of relegation.
Leicester’s Harvey Barnes labeled the game as one of the most significant matches in the club’s history. However, the Foxes faltered and now find themseleves just two points away from the relegation zone with only two games to play.
The Foxes’ current predicament is a result of their gradual decline throughout the season. Financial constraints limited their activity in the previous summer transfer window, and the club’s lack of proactive measures has now come back to haunt them.
The atmosphere at the King Power Stadium had started to embrace a sense of resignation even before Liverpool arrived to secure a straightforward victory and three points. The signs were already evident, and it seemed inevitable.
Liverpool, on the other hand, in their pursuit of a top-four finish, closed the gap to just one point behind Manchester United, further fueling their late surge.
The Reds’ impressive seventh consecutive victory, which happened to the most straightforward of them all, allowed them to stay within reach of Manchester Unied. However, they are aware that they must maintain their current form and hope for their rivals to stumble along the way.
From the very beginning of Monday’s match, there was never a suggestion of an upset as Leicester City succumbed to defeat. Even before kickoff, the Foxes had to deal with the absence of Danny Ward, Caglar Soyuncu, and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall due to injuries.
Consequently, Dean Smith was compelled to include Jonny Evans in the starting lineup for his first Premier League appearance since October, a testament to the dire circumstances the team found themselves in.
The Foxes desperately needed a strong start and displayed promising moments. A well-executed pass from James Maddison and a clever dummy by Youri Tielemans sent Harvey Barnes on a promising run, only to be denied by Alisson Becker’s intervention when Jarmie Vardy broke through.
However, Leicester’s initial enthuasiasm gradually faded as Liverpool asserted their dominance in possession and then shifted into high gear, leaving the hosts in disarray.
In the 33rd minute, Alisson’s long clearance found Luis Diaz, who headed the ball down for Jordan Henderson. Henderson then set up Salah, who delivered a cross for Curtis Jones to capitalize on. Jones seized the opportunity, beating the sluggish Boubakary Soumare and finding the far corner of the net to open the scoring.
Jones extended Liverpool’s lead three minutes later. The youngstar received a pass from Salah and was graned the freedom to turn an unleash a powerful shot past Daniel Iversen.
This marked Jones’ third goal in four games, breaking an 18-month goal drought he experienced .
The match turned chaotic, and Leicester, who had only managed one victory in their previous 13 games, collapsed under pressure. Iversen had to make a crucial save to deny Cody Gakpo from adding a quick third goal for Liverpool.
Desperate for a response, the Foxes emerged from the halftime break with renewed determination, and Alisson was forced to tip Barnes’ effort wide.
The Foxes’ fleeting moment of hope quickly dissipated as Liverpool regained their composure and returned to their controlled rhythm. Iversen managed to parry away Salah’s shot, but it was clear that Liverpool were firmly in control.
The match was effectively decided with 19 minutes remaining. Jonny Evans committed a foul on Henderson, and Salah cleverly tapped the resultling free-kick to Trent Alexander-Arnold, who unleashed a powerful strike into the top corner from 25 yards.
Mo Salah had an opportunity to extend Liverpool’s lead further when through on goal, but he shot wide. By that point, the King Power Stadium had already begun to empty as the sense of hope drained from Leicester. Their fate appeared sealed, and relegation seemed increasingly likely.