Efter veckans Champions League är det återigen dags för ligamatch. Den sista matchen innan landslagsuppehållet bjuder på ett återseende, det är nämligen Brendan Rodgers och hans Leicester som kommer till Anfield på besök. Efter en stark start på säsongen placerar man sig just nu på tredje plats i tabellen, så det är en tuff match som väntar oss när domaren blåser igång. Krystian Moson(@KrystianMoson) är med och driver @First4LCFC, han berättar här om hur han ser på säsongsstarten och vad vår gamle tränare har gjort med klubben:
1.Leicester have started this season in an impressive way, can you tell us a bit about the start of the season?
It’s hard not to be happy, if it wasn’t for the 1-0 away defeat at Old Trafford we would be unbeaten. I think the general consensus is that we should’ve really taken something away from that match so plenty of frustration in regard to the way in which we set up there.
There’ll be a number of fans, including myself, who hope that we don’t play as negatively away at Liverpool on Saturday.
However, strong start to the season, being highlighting with the most recent 5-0 mauling of Newcastle. Rodgers seems to be instilling his style on the lads. So far so good!
2.What has Brendan Rodgers changed since he signed for your club?
Brendan Rodgers replaced Claude Puel at Leicester City, and there is a stark difference between the two managers.
Ever since joining Rodgers has instilled positivity, belief and a hunger back in both the squad and the fans around Leicester City. The way in which he carries himself, speaks and ultimately sets his teams up has re-instilled belief in Foxes fans that we are on the up.
The way in which we have started this season is certainly positive and we can only hope that with more time, will come greater success, and ultimately silverware under Rodgers.
In terms of how he has worked with the squad, Leicester currently have the best defensive record (joint with Liverpool) in The Premier League this season (based on goals conceded). Whilst this is only a stat, it is fair to say that it does reflect an element of defensive stability Rodgers has instilled.
We have two solid centre-backs in Jonny Evans and Çağlar Söyüncü, with width from Ricardo and Chilwell as attacking full-backs. Partnering this with defensive midfield cover in a player like Wilfred N’didi and/or Hamza Choudhury and I truly believe Rodgers has a system that does in fact balance defence and attack.
Of course, this isn’t the finished product, but the development we have seen in N’didi alone, who used to purely renowned for his tackling ability, who is now a box-to-box engine suggests that Rodgers is working on something much bigger with this current crop of exciting players.
3.Are you satisfied with the way the club has built on the Premier League win a few years ago?
It’s fair to say that the summer transfer window following our title win was a miserable fail, as was the season that followed.
BUT… Now with Rodgers at the helm things are certainly looking up once more. We have a young, ambitious and hungry squad who are starting to really turn heads.
Still, I don’t think you can underestimate the influence our senior pros have amongst the current squad.
Players such as Kasper and Vardy are still massive players for us, and this is clear to see whenever they take to the field. With the loyalty these players have shown, rejecting moves to ‘bigger’ clubs we can only hope that it sets an example to players such as James Maddison (who is constantly being linked with a move away), that sometimes staying and growing into a key player can really reap rewards.
4.You are currently third in the league, how high do you think you can finish in the end?
In an article I contributed to pre-season I boldly predicted Leicester would finish 4th. Right now, I would change that to 3rd when looking at the traditional ‘top 6’ all having issues on and off the pitch to contend with.
We have no distractions. No European football. A squad that is content. A manager who is steering us in the right direction.
5.You have many young, talented players in your squad (Chilwell, Madison, Tielemans for example), how do you rate your chances of keeping these players at the club over time?
I think a lot hinges on our finishing position this season. IF we finish in that top 4, I see no one leaving. After all, it would have been those players that helped us reach these highs, and I’m sure they will want to embark on a Champions League tour at the club.
However, I do see issues brewing even if we qualify for the Europa League. The temptation of elite level football, huge contracts and most probably greedy agents steering deals over the line will be a new challenge for Rodgers to contend with.
6.What are your thoughts on the Harry Maguire-transfer? Who do you think got the better deal?
I have no hesitation at all when I say Leicester City got the better deal.
Çağlar Söyüncü has taken to being Maguire’s replacement like a duck to water and dare I say made the majority of fans forget about the loss of Maguire. He possesses all the traits of a quality centre-back, and if he works on a couple of rash decision making traits he will be one of the Prem’s best.
7.What kind of game do you expect at Anfield?
What kind of game I expect, and what kind of game I’d like to see are to very different predictions! After our Newcastle victory I tweeted saying I’m going to call a 4-4 goal-fest at Anfield because I want us to go all-out-attack.
Then look what happened midweek vs Salzburg…
Admittedly, the chances of something like that happening twice in a week are slim, but never say never.
Rationally thinking, I do think we are likely to set up closer to how we played Man Utd away, which ended in a lackluster and uninspiring 1-0 loss that left plenty of fans frustrated. By this I’m predicting both Choudhury and N’didi start meaning a lot more defensive mindedness, with two players screening the back-four.
Our game-plan would be realistically to grow into the game and grab a goal as we start to stamp our authority. Possession is a stat we have started to dominate under Rodgers’ and tis could be one of the first games whereby we see less of the ball so it will be interesting to see if we try a few balls over-the-top for Vardy to latch onto as otherwise he can be very excluded (as per Man Utd).
If we do set up like this, I have very optimistically gone with a 0-1 win for The Foxes. BUT, if we do see Maddison in that No.10 and only one holding midfielder, pencil me in for a 4-4!