På lördag spelar Liverpool sin sista match innan det förhatliga landskampsuppehållet, det är en tuff bortamatch mot Leicester City som väntar för de röda. Våra motståndare kommer med två raka segrar och en fin säsongsinledning, så det kommer säkerligen att krävas en toppinsats av Liverpool om vi ska fortsätta vårt inledande segertåg. Jim Knight(@jimknight88) brukar ofta besöka den eminenta podcasten @eplroundtable för att prata om sitt Leicester och idag gästar han vår sida för att berätta om hur klubbens status är:
1. How do you remember last season? Were you satisfied with the team?
It was a frustrating season at times. The results were often inconsistent and with a change in manager it’s always tough to know what to expect. Overall a top half finish would have been seen as a success but it felt like a missed opportunity looking at our final few weeks.
2. Claude Puel has been at your club for almost a year now, what has he changed and is he the right man for Leicester?
There’s been quite a bit of transfer activity so the team has something of a fresh look to it compared to 12 months ago.
It’s a really young squad now and it’s great to see players like Ben Chilwell, Wilfred N’didi and Demarai Gray given regular starts and a chance to develop.
There are always regular rumours about Puel’s future but having been allowed to spend quite extensively this summer I don’t think he’ll be going anywhere soon.
His policy on developing young players should pay dividends in the medium term so hopefully the owners allow Puel plenty of opportunity to show what he can do.
3. Tell us a bit about the start of the season, are you happy with the way the team has played and the amount of points you have gained?
You can’t really argue with six points from nine. The Manchester United game was frustrating but in the Wolves game we really didn’t deserve to win so it feels like those two have evened out somewhat.
The performances have largely been encouraging though. While it’s a bit too early to say for sure I think there’s the beginnings of a promising project with this group of players.
4. Are you happy with your summer transfers? Did you sign players in the right positions?
Defensive cover was always going to be the priority and we signed several players who could fit the bill. Ricardo Pereira looks a brilliant buy so far and not only does he look a fantastic full back but he’s a threat in the final third too. That’s a huge upgrade on Danny Simpson.
The best bit of transfer business was holding onto Harry Maguire. It was always going to be tough after he shone at the World Cup so for the owners to stand strong and keep him was really encouraging, it shows that they’re serious about trying to ensure we’re competing for those European places I think.
5. Who do you think will be the most important players for your team this season?
We’ve not seen all that much of several summer signings yet but hopefully the recruitment team have picked out some more gems.
Wilfred N’didi signed a new six year contract recently and he’s part of the spine of our side now. Maguire and Jamie Vardy are the others and I’d certainly say much of our success, or not, will depend on how that trio perform over the coming months.
While it’s a shame Vardy has retired from England duty, hopefully Leicester will be able to reap the rewards of having him training at home during those international breaks once he’s back from suspension.
6. What do you expect of the team during 2018/2019? What would be a good season for Leicester City?
Expectations are always tough. People still love to think about the title winning year and it can often warp some people’s level of what is seen as a good performance. That said, I don’t think many really believe we’re a genuine top six team given the quality we’ve seen already but an improvement on last season’s 9th place finish would be seen as acceptable.
With the squad we’ve got I think it’s as much about seeing the progress and development on the field as it is the results. Sneaking into the Europa League would be brilliant though if things go our way.
7. How do you think you will lineup against Liverpool and what kind of game do you expect?
Vardy is a huge miss, obviously. His record against the big six is incredible and Leicester often thrive when they’re billed as the underdogs at home. It’s a big chance for Iheanacho to showcase his talents after scoring 4 times in pre-season but it’ll be tricky against that Liverpool defence.
I’d expect the same 4-2-3-1 with James Maddison to occupy the number 10 role which he’s been impressive in so far.
The game will likely be an exciting one. Liverpool will dominate the ball and Leicester will try and spring counter attacks where possible. While the early Saturday kick offs can sometimes be a bit sterile I think it’s going to be a cracker.