Roberto Firmino Scores Brace in Liverpool's 4-0 EPL Win over Leicester

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2019

Liverpool's English midfielder James Milner (2nd R) celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Liverpool at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on December 26, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
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Liverpool took another big step toward the Premier League title on Boxing Day, beating second-placed Leicester City 4-0 thanks to a brace from Roberto Firmino and goals from James Milner and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The league leaders dominated from start to finish, scoring once before the break through Firmino. Milner converted a penalty in the second half to double the lead, and Firmino and Alexander-Arnold added to the advantage shortly after.

The Reds started Thursday's clash with a 10-point lead at the top of the table and a match in hand. Manchester City can pass Leicester for second place with a win over Wolverhampton on Friday.

Liverpool showed why they're miles ahead of the chasing pack in the Premier League during the first half, dominating the second-placed Foxes from start to finish.

Kasper Schmeichel made his first save just two minutes into the match, setting the tone. He only just got ahead of Mohamed Salah to clear a ball, and missed his clearance in a similar situation minutes later, with the Egyptian finding the side-netting.

Sadio Mane missed the target with a good strike, and Jonny Evans did just enough to intercept a great cross from Alexander-Arnold to Salah. The full-back was relentless with his runs forward, and eventually got the assist for the opener after 31 minutes.

Firmino was the happy recipient, nodding the fantastic cross into the back of the net to continue his great scoring form:

BBC Merseyside Sport @bbcmerseysport

⚽️ GOAL for #LFC - Roberto Firmino scores his third goal in as many games as he heads home to put the Reds 1-0 up at #LCFC after an initial corner had been cleared #LEILIV https://t.co/VXkh8F73Q1

Schmeichel prevented a second goal just minutes later with a great save on Mane, and Naby Keita couldn't finish a great run, with Caglar Soyuncu intervening at the last second.

Football writer Daniel Storey was in awe of the Reds:

Daniel Storey @danielstorey85

The relentless nature of Liverpool makes every game feel like you have switched on after an opposition red card. So much movement, so many options with the ball, so much outnumbering out of opponents with and without the ball.

Mane and Salah nearly combined to catch out Schmeichel with a well-worked corner early in the second half, but the latter's effort went over the bar. 

A loss in possession led to another good chance for Firmino, who timed his shot poorly after a good criss from Andy Robertson.

Leicester had no answers, although Joe Gomez had to foul Vardy when the Foxes did find space for a counter, earning a booking as a result. 

Liverpool needed a second goal to feel safe and got it after 71 minutes. VAR confirmed a hand-ball from Soyuncu inside the box, and Milner dispatched the penalty past Schmeichel.

Bleacher Report's Matt Jones thought it was telling the teams in the Club World Cup gave the Reds a harder test than the Foxes:

Matt Jones @MattJFootball

The fact Monterrey and Flamengo gave Liverpoool a better game than most teams in the PL this season is probably the biggest indictment of how poor this league is... #EFC

The second goal all but ended Leicester's resistance, and within 10 minutes, Liverpool scored two more. Firmino turned another Alexander-Arnold pass into a goal, and the full-back deservedly got on the scoresheet shortly after.

Per the Associated Press' Rob Harris, the title race is done and dusted:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

When a title race ends in December #premierleague #lfc https://t.co/vVcjJi8S7x

The Reds finally took their foot off the gas after the fourth goal, cruising to the finish line and a 13-point lead at the top of the standings.


What's Next?

A quick turnaround for both teams will see the Reds host Wolverhampton on Sunday, while Leicester visit West Ham on Saturday.