Leicester rediscover title form to stun Liverpool

February 28, 2017
Source: BBC
Leicester rediscover title form to stun Liverpool

Leicester produced a superb display in their first game following the sacking of Claudio Ranieri, moving out of the Premier League bottom three as two goals from Jamie Vardy and a Danny Drinkwater strike saw off Liverpool.

It was a much-improved display from the Foxes under caretaker boss Craig Shakespeare, who took over after the departure of the man who led them to last season's remarkable title triumph.

The first strike was straight from the 2015-16 playbook as Vardy collected Marc Albrighton's precise long pass before racing clear and finishing low past Simon Mignolet to score his second goal in a week.

The second was an absolute cracker from Vardy's England team-mate Drinkwater, who showed superb technique to lash home his first goal of the campaign from outside the box following a clearance from a long throw.

And Vardy sealed the win with a glancing header from Christian Fuchs' cross in the second half before Philippe Coutinho stroked home a consolation goal.

The goals were the first the Foxes have scored in the league in 2017 and ended a run of five straight top-flight defeats in spectacular fashion.

Liverpool - who would have climbed to third with a victory - have now lost five of their past seven matches in all competitions.

Ranieri's name was everywhere at the King Power - in pre-game conversations, on banners and in chants - as was his face, courtesy of paper masks worn by some Foxes supporters.

The 65-year-old Italian has left an indelible imprint on the club with last season's astonishing success.

However, the inconvenient truth for many is that he was overseeing statistically one of the worst title defences in English top-flight history - one that has left Leicester facing the prospect of become the first reigning champions to be relegated since Manchester City in 1938.

Amid suggestions the players had stopped playing for their former boss, there was an element of damned if you do win and damned if you don't in this game.

However, the need for victory was paramount and they were excellent from start to finish as Shakespeare drew a committed, energetic and ruthless display to improve his chances of steering the club to safety - and possibly succeeding Ranieri on a permanent basis.

The champions also have players in form. Vardy now has three goals in two games and Kasper Schmeichel remains an authoritative presence in goal, as he demonstrated with two big saves to deny Coutinho and Emre Can in the first half and Adam Lallana after the break.