If anyone has reason to list off the reasons his team struggled Sunday, it’s Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers.
Leicester fought back from 4-0 down to bring the score to within one, but it was just too much away to Premier League champions Manchester City. It ended 6-3.
The Foxes were visiting the best team in the Premier League without top defenders Wesley Fofana, James Justin, Caglar Soyuncu, and Jonny Evans, and that wasn’t the end of the injury list as Jamie Vardy was only available as a sub and Patson Daka out of the match.
“It was a big ask away to the champions, and they have had a free week to prepare and did not have too many players missing,” Rodgers said. “The players took that on, and I was so proud of them to do that. We scored goals and maybe could have got something out of it.
Leicester also played at midweek in the League Cup while Man City did not, and Rodgers also is in the “Paul Tierney is bad” camp alongside Jurgen Klopp. He also didn’t like the refereeing at midweek against the Reds, where a horror challenge from Tyler Morton broke Ricardo Pereira’s leg.
“Patson will be three weeks, Soyuncu will be out for three weeks, and Ricardo Pereira will be six to eight weeks,” Rodgers said, via the Leicester Mercury. “That’s so frustrating for him with how hard he has worked. For the referee not to see that, it’s a fractured fibula and he’s lucky it’s not worse. Ryan twisted his knee in the warm-up, which was disappointing.”
So given the chance to explain Leicester’s awful start to the 6-3 loss at the Etihad Stadium, he did just that. But don’t feel sorry for him.
“Paul Tierney, the VAR, has missed very physical challenges in the last few weeks but deems that a penalty. He [Laporte] has fallen over. Before you know it, we’re 4-0 down in the opening 25 minutes.
“The situation we’ve been in the last 10 days, we played Manchester City with one of the very few weeks they didn’t have a midweek games. We play Liverpool on Tuesday, less than 48 hours. We’re not getting the violins out. You see what we’re missing. The players aren’t available. The players that are will give everything.”
The good news for Rodgers is that Jurgen Klopp went unpunished — as far as we know — after a much more vicious takedown of Tierney, so his pocket book is probably safe (assuming he carries a pocketbook).
Leicester was already underperforming before injuries, so Rodgers is right to salute the efforts of those who did play.
Kelechi Iheanacho and James Maddison were brilliant in leading the line, with the former scoring and adding two assists against his old team.
But Liverpool is up next and Leicester’s best route back to Europe is winning Europa League. They’ll need much better health and defense to get that done, and right now a top-half appearances would feel solid for Rodgers’ men.