Leicester City team. Credit: Getty.
Leicester City’s squad looks much healthier following the recent international break than prior to it, Brendan Rodgers revealed on Thursday afternoon.
The Foxes host Manchester City on Saturday as the Premier League roars back into action, with Rodgers aiming to once again take points off Pep Guardiola.
After a solid start to the season, which has seen them gain six points from the opening three games, Leicester now look in a much stronger position to challenge at the top again, thanks to the return of four key defenders.
Who’s back for Leicester?
Rodgers explained that Ryan Bertrand, Jonny Evans and summer signing Jannik Vestergaard are back in contention for the weekend meeting at the King Power Stadium.
“We have most of our players back available now, although some are still short of fitness,” said the former Liverpool and Celtic boss, during his pre-match press conference. “JJ [James Justin] and Wesley Fofana are the only two out.
“Ryan Bertrand will be back and available. Evans and Vestergaard are progressing very well. We’ve had a good international break in terms of players getting fitness. Hopefully all those players will be available.
“That’s what we have to assess in this final 24 hours [if they can start],” he continued. “We had a training game last week that both of them played in. They came through that.
“They’re not going to be 100 per cent. We only have three subs so we need to be sure they’re going to last. They will be training more over the next couple of weeks.”
Rodgers also revealed that Ricardo Pereira, who came off with an injury last time out against Norwich City, has progressed well during the two-week break.
“[Ricardo] trained today and he came through a session and looked very good,” claimed the Leicester manager.
So how will Leicester line-up?
In nets, Kasper Schmeichel is a definite starter, against his former club. Ahead of him, Pereira or Timothy Castagne are expected to operate at right-back, with Luke Thomas and Ryan Bertrand competing for a starting berth on the opposite side.
Caglar Soyuncu will likely play at centre-back, alongside one of Evans or Vestergaard, although Daniel Amartey is also an option.
Further forward, Wilfred Ndidi will anchor the midfield alongside Youri Tielemans, with James Maddison expected to play in the No.10 role. Harvey Barnes will most probably begin from the left wing, while Marc Albrighton will be on the right due to Ayoze Perez’s suspension. Deadline-day signing Ademola Lookman could also play there and earn his Leicester debut.
In attack, Jamie Vardy can expect to lead the line. The experienced striker just loves a goal against Guardiola - in fact, no-one has scored more against the City boss across his entire managerial career.
Predicted line-up: Schmeichel; Castagna, Soyuncu, Vestergaard, Thomas; Ndidi, Tielemans; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy.