Premier League Leicester City suffered defeat to Liverpool at Anfield on Boxing Day weekend, allowing third-placed Manchester City to cut the deficit to just three points, while gifting Arsenal the chance to go top on Saturday night. The Gunners lost their game which meant Leicester remained at the summit, but all eyes will be on the Midlands club as to how they respond after losing their first league outing since September.
Ironically it was Arsenal who were the only side to have beaten the Foxes in their first 17 games prior to the Liverpool meeting, but Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri now has a home tie against Manchester City to prepare for on Tuesday. The visitors are coming off the back of a 4-1 win over Sunderland so they will be in better shape to pick up a result.
Following the game, manager Claudio Ranieri admitted his side had lost to the better team but still remained optimistic. One worry will have been the Foxes’ star performers Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez beingbrought off in the second-half due to fatigue and a fever. “Both were tired and Vardy played with a fever and I didn’t want to give him more minutes,” said Ranieri following the match.
The two forwards have been key to Leicester City’s surprise lofty position in the Premier League this season, and without them the Midlands outfit could struggle to carry the same attacking threat. Ranieri has tried to remain level-headed about Leicester’s chances of success, but will be wary of how damaging it could be to lose consecutive outings should Man City take all three points next week.
He was forced to concede that Liverpool were much stronger than Leicester on the day, and now has to try to beat a Man City side boasting stellar talent such as Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure. “I think we knew very well it was a tough match. Liverpool started very well to press us. After, maybe we started too late to play our football and attack, but well done to Liverpool. Yes, the better team won, they deserved it with that they showed around the match. But it is okay. Sooner or later we must lose but that’s okay, now we have to clean and restart,” said Ranieri.
Leicester City remain top of the Premier League table after 18 games, but could their bubble be about to burst with Man City to come next week?