Leicester City: Brendan Rodgers under fire after Brighton draw

Brendan Rodgers, Manager of Leicester City (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Brendan Rodgers, Manager of Leicester City (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /

Leicester City squandered yet another lead at the weekend, this time against table neighbours Brighton who rallied after a Patson Daka opener 26 seconds into the second half.

Following their collapse and eventual defeat to Spurs last week, a mood lifter was required when faced by a Brighton side who carry a similar innocent optimism likened to that of the Foxes upon their return to the top-flight in 2014.

To the dismay of supporters, their side were unable to do so and while player application has been subject to debate this campaign, the consensus among fans was that Sunday’s stalemate lay at the manager’s door.

Assessing the cause of Leicester’s problems

Injuries in conjunction with key talent being away at the Africa Cup of Nations have hampered manager Brendan Rodgers’ ability to field a settled starting eleven.

At the height of his side’s selection problems, the Northern Irishman was without 16 senior outfield players, leading to fixture postponement and further disruption.

To compile Rodgers’ woes, he hasn’t been afforded the luxury of being able to rely on the club’s accomplished scouting network to help facilitate said absences.

Prior to the season starting several positions had been identified as problem areas, and those in charge appeared to have found adequate replacements for all, albeit on a stretched budget.

Their summer window began with the addition of Boubakary Soumaré to add depth in midfield, Patson Daka as back-up to Jamie Vardy and Ademola Lookman to offer balance on the right flank.

Rodgers also added Ryan Bertrand to help with the loss of injured James Justin and in the latter stages in the window was forced to seek options for a central defender after Wesley Fofana suffered an injury, of which he is yet to return from.

While their newly acquired attacking talent has thrived since arriving, the defensive side of their business has left a lot to be desired.

Tasked with alleviating the strain left by Fofana’s loss was Jannick Vestergaard of Southampton whose importance soared after Leicester experienced a centre-back crisis of sorts.

The Danish international has struggled since arriving at the King Power Stadium and has seen midfielders and full backs picked ahead of him — such is the extent of his underwhelming impact.

His former teammate Bertrand, who was incidentally part of the backline that conceded nine to Leicester in 2019 alongside Vestergaard, has also failed to hit the ground running, with the after-effects of Covid setting the 32-year-old back just before the opening weekend.

Leicester’s prior success has been founded upon momentum and their ability to build upon it to achieve previously uncharted domestic success for the club.

The factors listed above have provided obstacles for the East-Midlands club in ascertaining said momentum and are all valid arguments when discussing Rodgers’ position as manager.

Has Rodgers taken Leicester as far as he can?

Speaking after Leicester’s agonising loss to Spurs last week, Rodgers’ comments suggested that he may have, or at least a contingent of their fans interpreted it as so.

"We’re not too far from where our budget is. I’ve a dose of realism from when I came in here. I said I wanted to disrupt the market and we have done that. We have won things – which is great. Progress has been hampered a little bit this season."

"With success, what happens is that you have two fifth-placed finishes and then you qualify for European football, people think you have created a foundation for success but for a club like ourselves, it may be the pinnacle. Because of resources and where others are at, it’s very difficult."

Links to vacancies elsewhere come with the territory regarding a manager of the former Liverpool boss’ pedigree, but they may have in part been reason for a lapse in focus.

Refraining from dealing in speculation, the question of Rodgers commitment to the cause is just that and the jury is still out until Leicester’s ever-present injury concerns are behind them.

More. The importance of signing Patson Daka. light

However, Rodgers’ lack of optimism is clear-cut and parallels that of the club’s outspoken supporters — as due to a lack of funds — their hopes look to be restricted to the return of side-lined players.