Liverpool’s 0-0 draw at Goodison in March has left Manchester City in the box seat ever since. No team has taken points off Pep Guardiola’s juggernaut since Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle in January – but could another former Liverpool boss halt the runaway City train, and write himself into Merseyside folklore?
Here are three reasons why the Foxes could make it happen:
Wouldn’t it be poetic? Under Rodgers, Liverpool were a Steven Gerrard slip and a Crystal Palace collapse away from glory – the closest they’ve come to a top-flight crown in 29 harrowing years.
It all unravelled rather quickly for Rodgers thereafter. His relentless positivity and media spin seemed to wear on fans and players alike, and several failed transfers later (Christian Benteke, anyone?) “Deluded Brendan” was out the door.
Away he went to rebuild his reputation through domestic dominance at Celtic, but a manager of Rodgers’ calibre – and ego – could never stay away from the Premier League for long. Since taking over at Leicester, the Foxes have been on fire, winning 5 out of 8 games and scoring 17 goals.
Plus, his Celtic sides have taken points off Guardiola’s City before, drawing twice in the UEFA Champions League group stage back in 2016, including a memorable 3-3 at Celtic Park.
One thing’s for sure – Rodgers’ Leicester will not sit idly by and wait for City to pick them apart. They will attack, come what may.
Leicester may no longer be the counter-attacking force they once were, but still contain perhaps the most potent blends of speed, athleticism, and creativity outside of the top 6.
In Jamie Vardy, Marc Albrighton, Wilfred Ndidi, and Ricardo Pereira, the Foxes have the raw pace to eat up any space in transition. In James Maddison and January loan acquisition Youri Tielemans, they have the players to find a killer pass.
Guardiola’s sides always take attacking risks, with both fullbacks pushed high up the field. Quick counter-pressing and canny tactical fouls generally snuff out opportunities in transition, but if Leicester can win the ball and evade the first line of pressure, there’s no telling the damage they could cause.
The Vardy Factor
Jamie Vardy is not only one of the quickest and most lethal finishers in the English top flight – he’s also a nasty, conniving cheat. I mean that in the most affectionate way possible.
Vardy is not above a cheap shot behind play, a spot of sledging, or an opportunistic dive to gain an advantage. He has made a career out of making a nuisance of himself.
Vardy is also a big-game player, and will not shirk from the spotlight if he is given a chance at the Etihad. Fuelled by spite and irrepressible competitive drive, he will no doubt give John Stones and Aymeric Laporte plenty of headaches, and would love nothing better than to show up his departed teammate Riyad Mahrez.
Manchester City v Leicester City kicks off at 5:00am AEST on Tuesday.