How a return to 4-4-2 got Leicester City back on track
Jamie Vardy back to his dynamic best
Jamie Vardy has epitomised Leicester’s struggles this season but this was a return to the penalty area pest, the clinical finisher that broke a Premier League goalscoring record. It could be no coincidence that he produced one of his best performances of the season as Shakespeare returned to the tactics of last season.
Vardy gave Lucas Leiva a torrid evening and benefited from the direct approach, surely setting the template for the rest of the season. His two goals were wonderfully taken and perfectly timed in front of England team manager Gareth Southgate.
Shakespeare’s simple tactics worked a treat
Craig Shakespeare did not mess about in his Leicester audition, leaving £15million signing Ahmed Musa out of his squad and returning to the rigid 4-4-2 that proved so effective last season.
Musa has proven an underwhelming summer signing, performing poorly from the bench last week in Seville, but Shakespeare’s ruthless move underlined why he is a serious contender to become Ranieri’s successor.
The tactics were brutally simple, with Leicester full of energy from the start and utilising their pace on the flanks. Shakespeare will now surely be in pole position for the job and a win over Hull City should be enough to land him the post.
Jordan Henderson is Liverpool’s MVP
If Jurgen Klopp ever needed proof of Jordan Henderson’s influence on Liverpool it was here at the King Power Stadium. Without Henderson the red machine starts malfunctioning and Klopp will be desperate for the Liverpool captain to recover in time for the crucial Arsenal game.
He is the engine, the heartbeat in Klopp’s midfield and his absence with a foot injury leaves them devoid of structure and, perhaps worse of all, having to rely on the frequently frustrating Emre Can.
Henderson continues to polarise opinion as an international footballer yet he is invaluable to Liverpool. Klopp’s MVP? It is difficult to think anything else after this performance.
Man of the Match
There were many contenders in blue – wonder what Ranieri made of that – but it was Marc Albrighton who edged it over the likes of Vardy, Danny Drinkwater and Wilfred Ndidi. Albrighton’s unwavering commitment and endeavour set the tone and his pass for Vardy’s first goal was outstanding.
What next for Leicester?
A near perfect evening for Claudio Ranieri’s former No 2 and Shakespeare’s hopes of landing the job are undoubtedly enhanced after this. Leicester face struggling Hull City on Saturday and another victory will surely see him named manager for the rest of the season. This set the benchmark and Leicester on this evidence should be playing Premier League football next season.
What next for Liverpool?
Perhaps another clear-the-air meeting is in order, for this was a lifeless performance and begged the question whether the warm-weather training in La Manga was a waste of time. They face Arsenal this weekend with Klopp in desperate need of a swift response. With only one league win this season, he is facing the grim prospect of the season disintegrating.
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