Brendan Rodgers and his Leicester City squad are currently in the midst of a brutal run of fixtures. After having multiple games postponed for a covid outbreak, the Foxes lost to Liverpool in the EFL Cup before getting drubbed 6-3 by Manchester City in the league. Now Brendan Rodgers and his team face Liverpool again just over two days later.
“It’s a ridiculous schedule, we all know that,” said Rodgers.
“Players aren’t fully recovered for 72 hours after a game, so for us to be playing on a Tuesday against Liverpool is ridiculous. It’s a very quick turnaround. To play Man City and Liverpool in quick succession over this period is a big challenge, especially with the squads that they have. However, we have to play the game. We’ll do what we’ve done in this period. We will fight, keep working and we’ll do our very best, and that’s what we’re prepared to do on Tuesday.”
If the complaint sounds familiar, it’s the same point that has been brought up by Jürgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, and several other managers. With many clubs dealing with covid outbreaks, in conjunction with the usual injuries, it is difficult for managers to effectively rotate their squads to attempt to give players a chance to recover.
The former Liverpool manager now faces a major line up conundrum as he faces his former team. Ricardo Pereira suffered a fractured fibula from a bad tackle by young Liverpool midfielder Tyler Morton in the cup match. On top of that, Ryan Bertrand hurt his knee while warming up against Manchester City and is a doubt, while center back Caglar Syouncu and forward Patson Daka are out with hamstring issues to go along with a laundry list of other players who are out long term. Talismanic striker and key holding midfielder Wilfred Ndidi were held out of the Manchester City match with hamstring tightness, but are expected to feature against Liverpool.
“It was too big a risk,” said the Leicester City manager.
“We had to put them on the bench but knew we weren’t really going to be able to use them. They were suffering with tightness and to put them into the game would have been really tough. Hopefully they’ll be fine and recovered for Tuesday’s game.”
Liverpool, on the other hand, had their Boxing Day match with Leeds postponed after the Yorkshire side had a covid outbreak and had to close their training ground, so got an extra few days of rest. The Reds also get four players back after finishing their own covid quarantines.
“Liverpool haven’t played since our cup game, so they’ll be able to bring players back in,” said Rodgers.
“But that’s what we have to deal with. Some of the players will have to go again. It’s a huge challenge for us but it’s a challenge we’re up for. We keep fighting and we keep working.”