Ex-Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers makes his latest return to Anfield as his Leicester City side prepare for Thursday’s Premier League battle with the Merseyside giants.
Jurgen Klopp’s men secured a spot in the fifth round of the FA Cup by beating Cardiff City 3-1 at the weekend, while the Foxes were humiliated by Nottingham Forest.
Harvey Elliott in action for Liverpool on February 6, 2022© Reuters
Liverpool boss Klopp referenced a few “nice stories” in his side’s comfortable victory over Cardiff in the FA Cup, but none more so than Harvey Elliott’s return, as the 18-year-old bagged his first Reds goal after nearly five months on the sidelines with a horrific ankle injury.
Diogo Jota and Takumi Minamino had also struck before Elliott’s well-taken goal, and Luis Diaz also caught the eye on his debut following the attacker’s big-money move from Porto, with the Reds now seeking to end an underwhelming FA Cup period under Klopp.
With champion Sadio Mane and runner-up Mohamed Salah also primed to return from Africa Cup of Nations duty in the not-too-distant future, Liverpool are well-positioned to push Manchester City all the way in the title race, currently sitting nine points adrift of the champions with a game in hand.
It is now four wins on the bounce across all competitions for this Liverpool side – who also have the small matter of an EFL Cup final with Chelsea to look ahead to later this month – and Klopp will welcome his side scoring at least two goals in all four of those wins without Mane and Salah leading the charge.
The 3-1 success over Cardiff also marked a 10th win from 11 at Anfield in all competitions for the Reds – including each of their last five in the Premier League – and conceding just one goal in their last 450 minutes of top-flight football at Anfield does not make for positive reading for a confidence-hit Leicester.
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers on February 6, 2022© Reuters
Knocking out the 2020 and 2021 FA Cup champions ought to be right at the top of Steve Cooper’s CV, as the Nottingham Forest boss oversaw one of the most remarkable results for the club in recent memory as Leicester simply collapsed at the City Ground.
Goals from Philip Zinckernagel, Ben Johnson, Joe Worrall and in-demand right-back Djed Spence sunk the defending champions – who struck a consolation through Kelechi Iheanacho – and Rodgers admitted that he was “embarrassed” by the display.
A fan running onto the pitch and subsequently being charged with assault on Forest’s celebrating players also contributed to a truly ugly occasion for Leicester, who have no time to dwell on that mauling as they seek to improve their standing in the top flight.
It will be a tall order for Leicester to make a late push for European football as they occupy 10th place in the rankings – 10 points adrift of sixth-placed Arsenal with a game in hand – and Rodgers’s side have now alarmingly lost five in a row away from home in all competitions, conceding 18 goals in that stretch.
However, Ademola Lookman was the hero of the hour for Leicester as they managed to sink Liverpool 1-0 at the King Power Stadium back in December, and the Foxes did push Klopp’s men all the way in the EFL Cup before ultimately bowing out on penalties after a 3-3 draw.