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Leicester City

Four statistics that defined Liverpool’s end-to-end victory over Leicester City



Jamie Vardy saw a late penalty saved by Simon Mignolet as Liverpool held off an inspired Leicester City comeback to return to winning ways in the Premier League at the King Power on Saturday night.

Two goals inside the opening half an hour had given Liverpool a commanding lead, with Philippe Coutinho firing in a brilliant free-kick, but Shinji Okazaki gave the hosts hope just before the break.

Jordan Henderson looked to have wrapped it up for the visitors when he added a third on the counter but Leicester hit straight back, with Vardy popping up for his sixth in four against the Reds.

The England striker then had the chance to level things up from the spot but he was brilliantly denied by Mignolet and despite intense late pressure Liverpool held out for a much-needed victory.

6 – Vardy in the thick of the action

Whilst nothing is ever certain in football, one thing that could have been predicted before the first whistle on Saturday was that Leicester forward Jamie Vardy would be heavily involved in the action.

The England international arrived at the King Power in fine form against Jurgen Klopp’s side, finding the back of the net in the last three matches, including his sublime half-volley in the 2015-16 season.

And he took his goal-scoring tally to six goals in four matches when he was in the right place at the right time in the second-half to nod into an empty net, giving his side hope of a surprise comeback.

Vardy was on top form from the word go on Saturday evening, running Liverpool’s centre-back pairing of Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren ragged with his rapid acceleration in-behind the back-line.

It was his header that forced a corner for Leicester’s opener but, ultimately, he’ll remember the match for spurning the opportunity to salvage a deserved point when his late penalty was saved.

7 – Mignolet to the rescue

But as much as Vardy would have had a sleepless night after missing the chance to earn his side a point, it was the brilliance of Simon Mignolet – not something heard that often – that denied him.

The Belgian goalkeeper went from zero to hero in the space of just 90 seconds as, after initially fouling Vardy on the edge of the area, he stood his ground to parry his fierce penalty firmly away.

He’d clearly done his research on the Leicester striker in recent weeks, with Vardy going for power straight down the middle against both Chelsea and Huddersfield, and he deserves the credit for that.

It continues his exceptional penalty record since arriving in the Premier League, and Mignolet has now saved an astonishing seven of the 15 penalties that he’s faced – and now five of his last eight.

10 – Liverpool’s defensive issues remain prominent

Earning three points on Saturday evening may have papered over the cracks for a short period but the over-riding talking point is that Liverpool still look incredibly fragile at the back after six matches.

Conceding twice at the King Power means that they’ve now conceded ten times in their three away games so far this season – and 11 overall – and only three top-flight sides have let in more until now.

Once again they didn’t help themselves, with Joel Matip giving away a needless foul in the build-up to Shinji Okazaki’s goal, whilst the centre-back pairing of Matip and Lovren struggled with Vardy’s pace.

If they are to finish in the top-four of the Premier League, let alone try to sustain a title challenge into the new year and beyond, then something needs to change fast and the goals need to dry up.

16 – Coutinho underlines his importance

Whilst Liverpool’s woes at one end of the pitch reared their ugly head again, it was down at the other end that man-of-the-match Philippe Coutinho outlined just how critical he is to Jurgen Klopp.

It was only his second Premier League start of the season following his drawn-out summer transfer saga but he showed just why Liverpool’s owners were so insistent on repelling Barcelona’s advances.

Within 22 first-half minutes he had supplied a delightful cross for Mohamed Salah to open the scoring before turning goal-scorer himself, whipping an unstoppable free-kick right in the corner.

His effort took his tally to 16 goals outside of the box since his Premier League debut, an amount unmatched by anyone else, and the 25-year-old has now scored four free-kicks since August 2015.

His influence didn’t stop at that though, with the Brazilian having five shots on goal, making five crosses and completing five dribbles in an all-round performance full of creativity and attacking flair.

In the absence of Sadio Mane, who was serving the final game of his three-match suspension, Liverpool needed someone to step up and Coutinho did just that to inspire a much-needed victory.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Leicester City

West Ham and Leicester should pounce for Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri



Photo: Getty Images.

One player certain to be on the move this summer is Stoke City midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, who will put an end to an unhappy spell at the bet365 Stadium, but could still stay in the Premier League to West Ham or Leicester.

Sky Bet offer odds as low as 1/10 that Shaqiri will depart this summer, with West Ham the leading Premier League club in the betting at 8/1 and Leicester City not far behind at 10/1.

That’s not to say that a stay in England is certain, particularly given that the two Milan clubs are favourites with Inter at 6/1 and AC Milan at 13/2, with Lyon also in the running at 8/1 level with the Hammers.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The winger has not hidden his disappointment with the team’s struggles this season and the Potters now face an uphill battle if they are to avoid relegation from the top flight.

The Swiss international will not entertain the idea of playing second tier football after a decorated career has previously seen him play for the likes of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

Having failed to live up to expectations since Mark Hughes brought him to England in 2015, he may be keen to make the move abroad, but with finances likely to be more attractive to remain in the Premier League he may not rule out such a move.

Leicester could be forced to sign a replacement for Riyahd Mahrez whilst West Ham will also be looking for options out wide when Joao Mario’s loan spell comes to an end.

His pace, power and strength could catch the eye of both sides but they will have their work cut out to convince him to remain in England this summer.

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Leicester City

Tottenham would be the perfect move for Leicester star Demarai Gray



Photo: Getty Images

Having failed in their bid to bring Demarai Gray to Wembley for the 2017/18 season, Tottenham could be reigniting the interest in the hope of signing the young winger ahead of their move to New White Hart Lane.

Reports originating from ESPN say that Spurs are looking to sign the England under 21 captain after Leicester City refused to do business for the former Birmingham man in the past.

Gray’s form has not been as convincing as some may have hoped for this season, with just four goals and three assists from 39 appearances in all competitions, but that has not put Daniel Levy and company off.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Demarai Gray has found his game time limited of late, despite only missing three Premier League games to date this season. Since the turn of the year, the winger has made only four starts for the Foxes and may relish an opportunity to be trusted more regularly, particularly at a club like Tottenham.

Working under Mauricio Pochettino would undoubtedly be a huge draw given his reputation for developing young players. That is believed to be key to his interest in Gray, who could follow in the footsteps of the likes of Eric Dier and Dele Alli in joining the club and going on to become regulars in the Premier League and for England.

Leicester will not be keen to part ways with one of their most exciting young talents and will command a huge price, which may put Levy off, but there are few English players in his age range with such potential and if anyone could justify such a fee, it may well be Gray.

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English Premier League

17 goals in 32 games: Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy better now than title-winning season

The Englishman’s fine form has gone somewhat under the radar this season.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Jamie Vardy was a late developer, but he has emerged as one of the best strikers in the Premier League since Leicester City were promoted to the division.

His best season came when the Foxes sprung a surprise to win the league title during the 2015/16 campaign.

It would have been easy for the striker to trail off after that incredible year, but he has continued to work hard and is going into this summer’s World Cup as England’s form striker.

Considering Leicester are finishing the season with a stutter, the performances and consistency of Vardy have gone under the radar, but he deserves a lot of credit for his excellent goal-scoring campaign.

In 32 Premier League matches, he has scored 17 goals at a rate of one every 165.2 minutes. It is impressive for any striker to score as regularly as that and the 31-year-old will feel that he is at the peak of his powers.

Leicester have lost three of their last four matches and that has meant that the focus hasn’t been on the team. However, Vardy continues to deliver the goods in the final third, having scored in each of the Foxes’ last five matches.

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

The England international currently has the record for scoring in the most consecutive Premier League matches scored. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that he has managed to hit another hot streak.

It can even be argued that Vardy has improved since Leicester’s league-winning season, especially when it comes to the mental side of the game.

He has become a more intelligent player and that is evident through his positioning and anticipation in the final third.

The 31-year-old gets a lot of chances from being in the right place in the right time, whereas during the 2015-16 campaign, the majority of his goals were carbon copies of each other. There would be a long ball over the top and his pace would give him the chance. Now, he is a much more complete player.

In addition to improving the mental side of his game, Vardy has become a more clinical finisher as shown by his sharp increase in chance conversion.

During the incredible title-winning season, the striker had a chance conversion rate of 20.9%. This campaign, it stands at a very respectable 28.8%. This is due to the striker gaining more experience and knowing how to take the chances that come his way.

Michael Owen once said that the Leicester City man wasn’t a natural finisher. That is no longer the case.

(Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

The stats also show a style-shift in Vardy, as he averages only 0.39 ball recoveries per ninety minutes, as opposed to the impressive 1.47 that he managed during the excellent season of two years ago.

This suggests that the striker realises that his body can no longer go as it once could and he is decreasing his overall workload due to this. As a result, he can focus on taking up dangerous positions and scoring goals.

Although Vardy is not likely to surpass his 2015/16 total of 24 goals, it can be argued that this season is just as impressive. He is playing in a mid-table side and has shown an improvement in his finishing, which was already at a high level during the title-winning campaign.

The Foxes front-man knows that he won’t get as many chances to score as he did back then, but he is making sure that he makes the most of them.

England will favour Harry Kane this summer in Russia, but the Leicester City forward will have a big role to play for the Three Lions. His form this season shouldn’t be ignored.

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