Wout Faes scored two own goals as Liverpool came from behind to beat Leicester City 2-1 at Anfield.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall capitalised on poor defending to give Liverpool an early lead but Jurgen Klopp’s side were gifted a fourth consecutive Premier League win by Faes.
The defender inexplicably hit the target at the wrong end twice in the first half on Friday to put Liverpool in front.
Liverpool were not at their fluent best, but moved just two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with a win from their final match of 2022, with new signing Cody Gakpo watching on.
2 – Wout Faes is the fourth player with two own goals in a single Premier League game, after Jamie Carragher (1999, Liverpool vs Man Utd), Michael Proctor (2003, Sunderland vs Charlton) and Jonathan Walters (2013, Stoke vs Chelsea). Accomplice. pic.twitter.com/KXuyFExLtP
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 30, 2022
Dewsbury-Hall caught the Reds napping in the fourth minute, bursting through the middle unchallenged into a huge hole at the heart of the back four appeared and beating Alisson with a composed left-foot finish.
Leicester continued to look dangerous after Jamie Vardy replaced the injured Patson Daka, but Faes gifted Liverpool an equaliser when he attempted to deal with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross, only to slice the ball over Danny Ward into the far corner.
Matters went from bad to worse for Faes on the stroke of half-time as he calamitously lashed the ball into his own net after Darwin Nunez’s effort hit the post and rebounded into his path.
Jordan Henderson fired just wide early in the second half and Mohamed Salah struck off target after he was brilliantly set up by the dangerous Nunez.
Harvey Barnes almost equalised at the culmination of a fine run before an unmarked Dewsbury-Hall made a mess of a header in an increasingly open contest.
Nunez and Salah squandered further chances to extend Liverpool’s lead yet it mattered not, as Faes proved to be Liverpool’s unlikely match-winner.
What does it mean? Reds on the charge but plenty of room for improvement
Liverpool will head into 2023 in sixth place as they battle for a Champions League spot, but this was not a vintage performance.
They looked vulnerable at the back and have failed to keep a clean sheet in six top-flight matches.
The arrival of Gakpo should give them more firepower, but Klopp may need to add some steel at the back, although the absent Fabinho was missed in the middle of the park.
Not to be for Nunez
Much has been made of Nunez’s wastefulness in front of goal and he really ought to have found the back of the net.
The Uruguay striker was unfortunate to hit the post before Faes got his feet in a muddle for a second time, though he hit the target with only two of his seven shots.
Faes’ nightmare after Christmas
It was a painful evening for defender Faes, who became the fourth player to score two own goals in a Premier League match.
Jamie Carragher (1999, Liverpool versus Manchester United), Michael Proctor (2003, Sunderland against Charlton Athletic) and Jon Walters (2013, Stoke versus Chelsea) suffered the same embarrassment.
Key Opta Facts
– Liverpool have won four consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since a 10-match winning run between January and April.
– Leicester have lost 10 of their last 12 away Premier League games against Liverpool at Anfield (D2).
– Liverpool have won six Premier League matches in 2022 after conceding the first goal, the joint most of any side this calendar year (along with Tottenham).
– Dewsbury-Hall’s goal was the seventh Premier League goal Liverpool have conceded in the opening five minutes of games in 2022, three more than any other side.
– Nunez has had 13 shots in the Premier League in December (six vs Aston Villa, seven vs Leicester), the most of any player since the return on Boxing Day. However, he has not scored with any of those attempts.
Liverpool travel to face Brentford in their first game of 2023 on Monday, with Leicester hosting Fulham the following day.
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