Liverpool vs Leicester by FP
This time last year under Nigel Pearson, Leicester were in the relegation zone and appeared highly likely to go down after a poor first half to the season. It was only around March 2015 that they started winning and they just have not looked back since. Their winning run got them away from relegation trouble and has continued all the way through the first half of this season to leave them in this simply unbelievable position.
Part of the credit has to go to ex manager Nigel Pearson who was replaced in the summer by Claudio Ranieri, but what a job Ranieri has done since taking over. At first glance, it appears that he has just kept things going as Pearson left it but in reality he has made some crucial tweaks and in my opinion he is not getting the credit he deserves. Red hot striker Jamie Vardy was played as a wide left player under Pearson, playing off Ulloa and David Nugent. Ranieri moving Vardy to a central striker position showed recognition that he is their best finisher as well as helping give Leicester the pace on the counter attack that is now one of their main strengths. Riyad Mahrez has been a revelation this season but Pearson struggled to find a way of fitting him into the team as he essentially played a 4-3-3 formation. Under Ranieri he plays on the right wing but has been given the licence to cut inside to where he is most effective. Being trusted as a regular starter has been a big influence in Mahrez’s rise to the top. Alrighton and Drinkwater were also bit part players last season but are now among the first names on the team sheet alongside new signing Kante who must be the signing of the season in central midfield. Kante’s sheer work rate causes problems for the opposition and his influence should not be underestimated.
Jurgen Klopp brought fresh hope to Liverpool fans when he replaced Brendan Rodgers early in the season, and he has had plenty of time now to instill his way of playing into his Liverpool team who seem to be slowly getting the message. The workrate has certainly gone up as Klopp demands his team press high up the pitch and allow the opposition no time on the ball. His influence has led to some impressive Liverpool performances, none more impressive than their 6-1 win away at Southampton. Despite the occasional flashes of brilliance, Liverpool remain inconsistent and have failed to win any of their last four games – disappointing defeats to Watford (3-0) and Newcastle (2-0) either side of uninspiring draws against West Brom (2-2) and FC Sion (0-0).
I think it is clear that Liverpool lack quality in certain positions, but the foundations of a good squad are there if he can enter the transfer market for two or three more players. He has talent available in the likes of Coutinho, Sturridge (when fit), Benteke, Henderson and Milner, but defensively they could be improved and erratic performances by Mignolet and his backup Bogdan are worrying.
In my mind, Jurgen Klopp should be concentrating on how he can get his attacking midfielders in between the lines of Leicester’s defence and midfield as the game is there to be won if he gets his tactics right. Leicester are using their 4-4-2 formation very well obviously but it does have its weaknesses. The two Leicester central midfielders Kante and Drinkwater are up and down the park constantly and nobody really sits deep and disciplined in front of the Leicester centre backs which leaves a spac
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