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Liverpool beaten by Leicester after Salah’s penalty miss

LEICESTER, ENGLAND (AP) – Liverpool lost 1-0 at Leicester in a big blow to its Premier League title hopes after Mohamed Salah missed a first-half penalty early yesterday.

Ademola Lookman’s 59th-minute goal consigned Liverpool to its second loss in the league – and in all competitions this season – and left the Reds six points behind leader Manchester City after 19 games of the 38-round season.

City, riding a nine-match winning run in the league, could be 12 points clear of Liverpool by the time Jürgen Klopp’s team next plays, at Chelsea on January 2.

A big turning point in the game came when Salah had a penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel in the 16th minute after he had been tripped by Wilfred Ndidi.

The Egypt forward had converted his previous 15 spot kicks in the league.

Sadio Mane also missed a big chance in the 55th when played clean through on goal by Diogo Jota’s pass and, four minutes later, substitute Lookman glided between Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk and fired a shot inside the near post.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah reacts after missing a chance to score from penalty. PHOTO: AP

It was the only shot on target by Leicester, which started with a midfielder in Ndidi and a reserve midfielder/full back in Daniel Amartey as an emergency center-back partnership amid a defensive crisis.

Leicester had also played two days earlier, in a 6-3 loss at Man City, while Liverpool was fresh after its match against Leeds – scheduled for the same day – was postponed.

“It is so hard to put it into words – to play Manchester City and Liverpool within 48 hours… It’s an absolutely heroic performance,” said Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, who used to coach Liverpool.

“We knew we’d have to defend well at times but we knew we could play football as well. An amazing result for us with everything we’re going through against one of the best teams in the world.”

Klopp said too many of his players delivered performances “below normal level”.

“It was a very strange game,” Klopp said. “We were just not good enough. We still had enough chances. What we did with the balls was just not right. We played a really bad game, so it was well deserved (for Leicester).”