Leicester City-Liverpool Preview: Rodgers out to continue fragile progress

A late Glen Johnson header saw the unconvincing Reds edge past Stoke City on Saturday and another three much-needed points are on offer against the Premier League’s bottom side

Brendan Rodgers wants Liverpool to build on their recent Premier League upturn when they travel to struggling Leicester City on Tuesday.

After a difficult start to the campaign, Liverpool looked set to finish November without a win thanks to a run of three consecutive Premier League defeats.

Losses to Newcastle, Chelsea and Crystal Palace led to much discussion over Rodgers’ future with a club he came close to leading to the title last season.

However, Glen Johnson’s late goal against Stoke City at Anfield on Saturday ensured a hard-fought 1-0 victory to end Liverpool’s rocky domestic run.

Captain Steven Gerrard was surprisingly benched for that game – which fell on the 16th anniversary of his Liverpool debut – and will be itching for a recall, though Rodgers has fitness concerns over Mario Balotelli (groin), Mamadou Sakho (thigh) and Suso (groin).

The visitors to the King Power Stadium could propel themselves back into European contention with a win and Rodgers is eager to sustain their steady momentum.

“We’re in a moment now where we need to get results and we need to obviously improve our style of play but we need to have the confidence in the team,” he explained after the win over Stoke.

“We’re slowly, in the last couple of games, getting back to a confident level. You can’t play perfect football [all the time] and for us, the moment that we’re in, we’ve shown wonderful character this week.
“I was very satisfied and my overriding feeling was that I was delighted for the players because they’re a wonderful group.”

Nigel Pearson’s Leicester have also endured a torrid November, collecting just one point from a possible 12, with Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to fellow strugglers QPR sending them bottom of the pile.

Last season’s Championship winners have registered just two points since their impressive 5-3 win over Manchester United in September, with Charlie Austin’s header at the weekend denying City a draw.

While Pearson took the positives from his side’s creativity and attacking threat at Loftus Road, he was also left to bemoan sloppy defensive mistakes and called on his side to take charge of arresting their decline in form.

“The reality is we’re not winning enough games at the moment and you could look at a lot of other sides in the division at the minute who will probably say exactly the same thing,” he explained.

“It’s not about talking about it, it’s about going out there and doing it. There’s only ourselves that can rectify our own results.

“[Against QPR] we were very positive and created chances but still couldn’t win the game. That’s frustrating for us all and I feel for the players because of that.”

Dean Hammond (calf) is ruled out for Leicester, with Matt Upson still gaining match sharpness having recently returned to first-team training following an ankle problem.

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