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Leicester are proving this season that they possess both the quality and depth of their squad to be considered one of the best clubs in the Premier League, having shown with a ruthless victory over Liverpool why they are unlikely to fail this time.
Since winning the Premier League against all odds in 2015/16, Leicester has been looking for a way back to the party that so unexpectedly crashed once before. Now, with Brendan Rodgers, in his second full season at King Power Stadium, they have found the door.
The team had swelled with too much accumulated deadwood from that title win and the Foxes weren’t satisfied with the mid-table finishes. Leicester is now streamlined and focused, with Rodgers shaping a side that has grown stronger despite selling automatic starters Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell for big bucks in back-to-back summers.
After beating Liverpool with a performance that was far more clinical than dominant, it would be easy to diminish their achievements by pointing out that Liverpool are drowning in an injury crisis, while other major clubs are pedaling to metal with congested match rosters.
But that would ignore what Leicester has had to face to get to this position.
It’s certainly not like Leicester could have sneaked in because others are stretched out and could focus solely on the Premier League. They were playing every midweek in the Europa League before Christmas and made it to the knockout rounds starting next week.
They are also still in the FA Cup and will face Manchester United in the quarter-finals next month.
The lawsuits on the Leicester team have been none other than Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea, the latter of which was a prime example of an expensive team that performed at less than the sum of its constituent parts under the firing of manager Frank. Lampard.
Sure, Liverpool have been devastated by injuries. But Leicester hasn’t exactly jumped into this stage of the season in good health either.
It was a patched defense against Liverpool because the Foxes didn’t have Wesley Fofana, Timothy Castagne and James Justin. Daniel Amartey was drafted at right back for his fourth league start of the season, with Ricardo Pereira pushed to the left side, he himself recently returned to action following an ACL break. It’s a squad game and Leicester has the depth.
Wilfred Ndidi had to fill in at center-back early in the season, drawing his influence from midfield, which is precisely what Liverpool have been complaining about with Jordan Henderson and Fabinho. The Nigerian has also missed games through injury and the win over the champions was his first league start since leaving before half-time in a game against Everton in January.
Dennis Praet is also injured at the moment and Ayoze Pérez is another key player on the team who has been offside at times.
“We have a lot of injuries and it doesn’t really get talked about because we’re not the ‘Big Six.’ James Maddison said. BT sport after Liverpool’s victory.
The bigger clubs struggling with this season’s lawsuits would like to fool themselves that Leicester is in the mix by chance, but that only seeks to poorly mask their own shortcomings.
Leicester is doing things the right way and they no longer have an advantage.
“We are taking it game by game. We know we have quality. We have a lot of quality in the squad, especially in the attack zones and in the midfield. And we’re solid at the back, ”Maddison said.
“We will continue working and getting results against big teams like Liverpool. We had to [grind it out] because they had a lot on the ball and we were probably not at our best, to be honest. It’s about great moments and great players come in great moments, and we scored some good goals. ”