Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Leicester starts post-Ranieri era with 3-1 win over Liverpool

Leicester players applaud fans after beating Liverpool 3-1 at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017.

Rui Vieira/AP

Leicester began life without manager Claudio Ranieri by easing its English Premier League relegation fears after a stirring 3-1 home victory over Liverpool on Monday.

In its first game since Ranieri was sacked last Thursday by the club's Thai owners, Jamie Vardy scored twice for last season's struggling champion.

Danny Drinkwater also netted with a superb long-range strike. It helped propel Leicester out of the relegation places and up to 15th, two points above the drop zone with 12 games remaining.

Story continues below advertisement

Vardy scored 24 league goals last season but the England international's strikes in either half were just his sixth and seventh of this campaign.

"We've come in for a lot of unfair stick with things that have been in the press, but you've seen that the lads wanted to react," Vardy said.

"We needed to show that we've got that fight, and win or lose as long as the performance was right, we could hold our heads up high."

Liverpool, which was out of sorts despite a warm-weather training break in Spain, could not match Leicester's energy, intensity and commitment. It remains in fifth place.

Ranieri was dismissed nine months after masterminding one of the biggest sporting shocks of all time by leading the 5,000-1 outsider to league glory.

But Leicester has failed to replicate that form. Before facing Liverpool, it had won just five league games. Five consecutive league defeats sent it spiraling down the standings.

There was a strong show of support for the former manager at the game, with fans donning Ranieri masks and holding placards inside and outside King Power stadium. One banner held aloft said "Thank you Claudio for making our dreams come true."

Story continues below advertisement

Leicester's players, some of whom have denied any part in an alleged revolt that led to Ranieri's sacking, had their names cheered by fans and appeared up for the highly charged occasion.

With Ranieri's assistant, Craig Shakespeare, in interim charge, Leicester made a bright start. Shinji Okazaki forced Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet into an early diving save.

Center back Robert Huth wastefully headed over from a corner, and Mignolet blocked Vardy's volley as Leicester showed plenty of attacking intent.

The home side's pressure was rewarded when a through ball from Marc Albrighton sent Vardy away on goal and last season's leading scorer calmly slotted past Mignolet to give Leicester the lead after 28 minutes.

Just 11 minutes later, Leicester fans were on their feet again to acclaim an outstanding goal from Drinkwater, the midfielder sending a dipping volley past Mignolet from fully 30 metres.

Vardy got his second on the hour when he headed in a Christian Fuchs cross and, although Liverpool enjoyed its best spell after Philippe Coutinho pulled a goal back in the 68th, Leicester held firm.

Story continues below advertisement

Whether Leicester moves quickly to appoint a permanent successor to Ranieri or lets Shakespeare make his case to step up remains to be seen.

Nigel Pearson, sacked by Leicester in June 2015 after saving the club from relegation, a move which led to Ranieri's appointment, is among the names linked with the job. Guus Hiddink, Roy Hodgson, Roberto Mancini, and Martin O'Neill are also in the frame.

Report an error

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at