There were seven changes to Liverpool’s starting line-up against Burnley over the weekend followed by eight selection alterations at Leicester City, and yet it was the same story as the cold crept up on Wednesday night.
“It feels strange, it feels wrong. We played offensive football, dominant football, possession football how it should be. We created moments. You cannot create in each situation a finishing situation, but we did it absolutely often enough. It could have been more often, of course, because with one better decision here or there then we would have had a few more.”
Those were Jurgen Klopp’s words after the 1-1 draw with Sean Dyche’s side on Saturday, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was his post-match musings from the King Power Stadium, where Liverpool crashed out of the League Cup.
Eight changes to the starting line-up, but it's the same story for @Liverpool who fall short in both boxes and suffer a 2-0 defeat at Leicester City Football Club Posted by Melissa Reddy on Tuesday, 19 September 2017
The Merseysiders were so superior, so comfortable, so in control but were on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline.
Again, the theme centres around a lack of excellence in both boxes, with the Reds boss admitting he was "sick" by the way his side continue to concede goals that can be avoided.
The first 45 minutes consisted of Liverpool committing players forward and Leicester practising defensive diligence. The hosts did not subject themselves to great risk, keeping at least four back so they did not suffer the effects of Klopp’s side on the counter, and rigidly sticking to their obstructive shape even in possession.
They looked to threaten through crosses in order to exploit Liverpool’s aerial deficiencies, but only managed two shots before the interval - with Philippe Coutinho and Dominic Solanke registering double that each on their own.
The Brazil international, taken off at half-time, was closer to his sharpest, twisting markers and threading through incisive passes.
The England Under-20 World Cup winner, meanwhile, had been a constant threat in his maiden start for Liverpool.
The forward’s movement, awareness and desire to trouble three defenders that often surrounded him deserved a goal in the opening exchanges alone, in which he went close.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, also enjoying his first run-out from the off for the Reds after a £35 million deadline day switch from Arsenal, was lively early on and had the opening effort of the encounter blocked after fine work by Marko Grujic, Coutinho and Andy Robertson.
The latter’s delivery into the area from left-back was exquisite, without receiving the treatment it deserved.
Liverpool huffed, puffed, probed and pricked but never punished the hosts, which invited them to be more expansive after the interval.
"We led a charmed life in the first half and we know that our goal was under threat," Leicester manager Craig Shakespear admitted.
"I was just delighted to get in at half-time, and then even more delighted to see they had taken Coutinho off. We spoke about being more aggressive, having options on the ball and hitting our strikers quicker."
Demarai Gray had indicated such ambitions early in the second period with a direct, dazzling run and sliced through again on 53 minutes with another dart before shooting wide.
Shinji Okazaki was subbed on, injecting more purpose to Leicester’s forward play, ultimately changing the game. He scored the first and created the second as the Foxes reminded Liverpool what finishing entailed.
The Reds cleared a corner but failed to be alert and aggressive enough when the ball was directed back into the box, with Wes Morgan and Vicente Iborra both winning headers.
Okazaki met the latter’s knockdown, which dissected Ragnar Klavan and Robertson, taking a touch off the fullback.
Then, with Klopp’s men sluggish off a throw-in, the 31-year-old carried the ball up and played in Islam Slimani, who powered in a superb drive past Danny Ward.
And so the third goalkeeper of the season for Liverpool had to endure what the other two already have: few shots on target faced, yet needing to remove the ball from the back of the net.
"That we conceded like this, that makes me really, really sick," Klopp admitted.
"That’s hard. Then the reaction, you saw a young team, we played one-twos on the left wing at 2-0 and then [Leicester] made a counter-attack. These are mistakes I can live with because the two boys [Ben Woodburn and Solanke] together are about 34 [in combined age], so that can happen.
"But defending set pieces, it wasn’t the first ball [for the first goal] – we had problems with this and now we had it with the second or third even and then the throw in.
"As long as you concede goals like this it makes life really difficult."