Tuesday 17 October 2017

Leicester v Liverpool talking points

Leicester face Liverpool in their first match since the sacking of manager Claudio Ranieri
Leicester face Liverpool in their first match since the sacking of manager Claudio Ranieri

Leicester play their first match since the sacking of boss Claudio Ranieri as they host Liverpool in the Premier League on Monday.

The Foxes, in action four days on from the man who oversaw last season's remarkable surge to the title being dismissed, have slipped to 18th in the table, a point adrift of safety - the same gap as there is between the fifth-placed Reds and fourth spot.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some talking points surrounding the game at the King Power Stadium.

HOW WILL LEICESTER'S PLAYERS REACT AFTER RANIERI'S DEPARTURE?

The news of Ranieri's sacking was swiftly followed by reports that some of the players voicing concerns to the club's Thai owners about his reign led to the decision. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has since denied there was any player plot against the Italian, while striker Jamie Vardy has insisted he had no involvement in the dismissal. What is certain is that Ranieri is gone - and that it will be very interesting indeed to see how the players who shone so brightly under him last season and have failed to so thoroughly this term will now perform.

WHAT WILL BE THE MOOD AMONG THE FANS?

It will also be fascinating to see how Leicester fans behave on Monday night. The side could be boosted by a really positive atmosphere, but there is considerable disgruntlement at the treatment of Ranieri. Leicester City Supporters' Club chairman Cliff Ginnetta on Friday labelled the sacking "shameful and embarrassing" and said fans were "devastated".

CAN VARDY NOW REALLY SPARK BACK INTO LIFE?

Vardy has had a major drop off in form after scoring 24 league goals last term, managing only five so far this time around. His side are in serious need of some form in attack: in their winless run in the league since the turn of the year - which has featured defeats in each of the last five outings - they are yet to register a single goal. The 30-year-old did score in Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League loss at Sevilla and Leicester will hope that is a sign of the old Vardy truly coming back, after a hat-trick against Manchester City in December proved a false dawn.

MORE MAGIC FROM MANE?

Liverpool have a forward who definitely appears to be back in the groove in Sadio Mane. Having returned from African Nations Cup duty with Senegal, he put in a hugely impressive performance as he scored a quickfire brace in the 2-0 victory over Tottenham last time out. Leicester - who have Craig Shakespeare in caretaker charge for now - will have their work cut out trying to prevent Mane from taking centre stage again on Monday.

WILL LIVERPOOL BE REFRESHED OR RUSTY AFTER THEIR CONSIDERABLE BREAK?

Liverpool may well be in fine fettle throughout the team given they have not played since that victory against Spurs on February 11. While Jurgen Klopp's men have had the opportunity to recharge, Leicester have been in action three times. It might not be a good thing for the Reds, though - there is, of course, the possibility they could suffer for their period of inactivity, taking some time to get going again.

Press Association

Independent.ie Comments Facility

INM has taken the decision to remove the commenting facility on its online platform Independent.ie to minimise the legal risk to our business that arises from Ireland's draconian libel awards system.

We continue to look forward to receiving comments through direct email contact or via social media, some of which may still be featured on the website Independent.ie


Editor's Choice

Also in Sport