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Liverpool 2-0 Leicester City: 5 talking points as Diogo Jota nets brace on Diaz full debut

Liverpool cut the gap to Manchester City as they saw off Leicester City at Anfield thanks to Diogo Jota, who notched twice.

The Reds had seen their title rivals go 12 points clear on Wednesday night, but cut that deficit at Anfield 24 hours later.

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Jurgen Klopp’s side made light work of the Foxes, who again shipped from a corner.

Liverpool sit nine points off the champions but do have a game in hand whilst their attacking line begins to adopt a familiar look.

Mo Salah returned from AFCON and came on as a second-half substitute whilst Luis Diaz started for the first time.

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Both men could’ve seen the net ripple with the former seeing a fantastic effort smack the bar.

It was Jota who proved to be the match winner though as he reacted quickest to a corner in the opening 45 before he made the game safe with a second just minutes before full-time.

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Leicester had dealt the Reds a defeat back in December at the King Power, but offered little on Merseyside as their inconsistent season continues.

Here are five talking points from Anfield.

1 Jota on the money

His influence and importance seems to grow with every passing week.

In 18 months he’s gone from someone who was expected to be a £40m squad player to the central point of the attack.

His lightening reactions allowed Liverpool to open the scoring as he volleyed home.

Jota’s tally for the season is now up to 17, his career high in the top flight despite several months of the campaign still to go.

With Roberto Firmino back in the starting XI the Portuguese goal had to drift out to the right with his teammate assuming his usual central role – not that it affected his influence.

He moved back to the middle once Salah emerged from the bench and showed his goalscoring instinct to poke home in front of the Kop.

2 Diaz’s Anfield bow

The January signing came off the bench in Sunday’s win over Cardiff City in the FA Cup and was handed his first start just four days later.

Liverpool remain without Sadio Mane whilst Mo Salah was left on the bench having only just returned from AFCON.

It allowed Diaz to begin on the left and he begun with plenty of energy as he and Andy Robertson struck up an instant connection.

The Colombian continued to make smart runs and showed a constant energy that you would expect of a forward playing in a Klopp side.

His performance would’ve been capped by a goal or an assist, but given he’s been in English football for less than a week there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

Mane certainly has some competition on his hands.

3 Leicester cornered into a problem

No one who watches or is associated with Leicester City will have been surprised to see them concede from a corner.

The set piece has been the team’s Achilles heel throughout the season and, again, was their undoing at Anfield.

Virgil van Dijk was able to rise and head towards goal before Jota knocked home the rebound.

The Foxes have attempted to mark man-to-man, but have come unstuck, having switched from a zonal strategy that has proved largely ineffective.

It was actually in the 1-0 win over the Reds in December that Leicester changed the way they defended corners, but it didn’t help their ambitions in tonight’s return fixture.

4 Salah’s heroes welcome

If anyone was ever in doubt as to how much the Anfield faithful loved Salah then they only need to watch Thursday night’s win.

The Egyptian returned after falling agonisingly short with his country at AFCON.

He begun on the bench but was introduced early in the second-half to a chorus of “Mo Salah, Mo Salah, running down the wing”.

Had it not been for a fantastic Kasper Schmeichel save Salah would’ve returned to Anfield with a goal, before the bar denied his sensational curling effort just minutes after.

The forward’s contract saga continues to hang over him and the club, even if Salah himself has played down the demands he’s making.

One thing is for sure, if football were a democracy then the powers that be at Anfield would have no choice but to pay him whatever it takes to retain his services.

5 Justin back in the picture

James Justin’s career trajectory has enjoyed a rapid linear rise – that was until injury struck.

The young right-back had come on leaps and bounds since joining the Foxes from Luton Town.

Now back following a year on the sidelines nursing a serious knee injury, Justin will be looking to pick up where he left off.

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