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‘Ridiculous’ schedule frustrates Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers

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Brendan Rodgers says it is ridiculous that Leicester is returning to action just over 48 hours after their extraordinary Boxing Day loss to Manchester City.

The Foxes, injured by Rodgers, host Liverpool, second in the Premier League on Tuesday, just two days after a breathtaking 6-3 loss to the leaders at the Etihad Stadium.

It’s an intimidating mission and Rodgers, echoing the concerns of a number of top managers about the Christmas schedule, says the closeness of the two games is wrong.

Rodgers must recover his players after facing Liverpool after a remarkable 6-3 loss to Manchester City (Barrington Coombs / PA)

“It’s a ridiculous schedule, we all know that,” the Leicester boss said. “The players aren’t fully recovered for 72 hours after a game, so for us to play on a Tuesday against Liverpool is ridiculous.

“It’s a very quick turnaround. Facing Man City and Liverpool in quick succession during this time is a big challenge, especially with the teams they have.

“However, we have to play the game. We will do what we did during this period. We’re going to fight, keep working and do our best, and that’s what we’re prepared to do on Tuesday.

To make matters worse for Rodgers, Leicester are without a host of players for the clash with his former club.

Ryan Bertrand became their latest victim when he twisted his knee during the warm-up at Etihad Stadium.

Foxes hope Jamie Vardy will be in good shape to face Liverpool
Foxes hope Jamie Vardy will be in good shape to face Liverpool (Mike Egerton / PA)

It came after Ricardo Pereira was ruled out for up to eight weeks with a fractured fibula after last week’s Carabao Cup loss to Liverpool. Caglar Soyuncu and Patson Daka face three-week layoffs with hamstring injuries while Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi were not at risk of leaving the bench on Boxing Day, also due to issues with the hamstrings.

“It was too big a risk,” said Rodgers of Vardy and Ndidi. “We had to put them on the bench but knew we weren’t really going to be able to use them.

“They were suffering from tension and putting them in the game would have been really difficult. Hopefully they’ll be okay and recovered for Tuesday’s game.

Jonny Evans, Harvey Barnes, Danny Ward, James Justin and Wesley Fofana remain on the sidelines.

Liverpool will enter the game relatively fresh after their Boxing Day fixture against Leeds was postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak at the Yorkshire club.

Rodgers said: “During that time it’s clearly a big advantage and it’s just a coincidence. It was probably one of Man City’s first weeks off so they were fresh and ready (for Boxing Day).

“Liverpool haven’t played since our Cup match, so they can bring players back.

“But that’s what we have to face. Some players will have to leave. It’s a huge challenge for us, but it’s a challenge we are taking on. We continue to fight and we continue to work.