Jamie Vardy claims 'unfair' criticism fired up Leicester City to hit back

The England forward ended the Foxes' Premier League goal drought and secured a 3-1 win - their first since New Year's Eve - to lift the hosts out of the relegation zone, four days after the departure of title-winning manager Ranieri.

That rubbished Leicester's hopes of a first clean sheet in 11 games and injected some urgency to Liverpool's play, but the home side's switch to a 5-4-1 with Daniel Amartey replacing Okazaki made it hard for them to create any more chances.

Leicester's energy and confidence, that they lacked so badly under Ranieri, meant a breakthrough seemed inevitable.

Shakespeare took the team back to basics here and got a result - and a performance - worthy of being in last season's canon. Can has had his critics recently but this could possibly be his chance to show what he can do.

Shakespeare went with what he knew, played to Leicester's old and obvious strengths and was rewarded with a performance plucked from last season's catalogue of successes that will step up his own claims to succeed Ranieri.

It is away from home that Leicester's inadequacies have been much more apparent - in 13 matches on the road this season, they have picked up just three points.

Huth sent a header over the bar in the 14 minute after out jumping the Liverpool defence but he should have done better with his header. But it was Vardy who followed up his goal in Seville last week by netting again, latching onto Marc Albrighton's through ball before keeping his composure to pass in at the near post.

Vardy netted twice as Liverpool's poor start to 2017 continued at the King Power
Vardy netted twice as Liverpool's poor start to 2017 continued at the King Power

However, judging by the team's performance this season, this would arguably be a good thing.

The reigning champions had dropped into the bottom three ahead of the contest, but they put an end to a five-match losing streak in the league with their first victory and goals of 2017 through a Jamie Vardy brace and a sublime volley from Danny Drinkwater.

Philippe Coutinho did get the Reds on the score sheet in the 68th minute. The chance was the best of the half and Liverpool would soon find themselves 2-0 down.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp meanwhile faces a dilemma over whether to stick with Gini Wijnaldum who excelled in the 2-0 victory over Tottenham a fortnight ago or revert back to Emre Can in midfield.

Coutinho had an effort from outside the box saved in the 54 minute and Mane shot wide a few minutes later and the reds were starting to knock the ball around well now.

"I told Jamie Vardy to be a nuisance and a threat".

  • Julie Sanders