Premier League preview: Leicester City aims to sparkle with the Brendan Rodgers touch

Brendan Rodgers will be keen to infuse his Premier League experience with Liverpool and title-winning pedigree with Celtic into Leicester City and make a push for a top-six place.

Expectations will be riding high on Leicester's record-signing Youri Tielemans.   -  REUTERS

It has been three years since's Leicester City's fairytale Premier League campaign and the club, slowly stripped of its title-winning stars, has found some stability in Brendan Rodgers.

Replacing Claude Puel with just ten games remaining, he took his predecessor's possession-based style and added a bit of direct approach to maximise the output of his squad. As a result the Foxes' slump came to an end, losing just thrice while finishing the season just five points behind an impressive Wolves side. 

In the season since its title win, the club has largely depended on its talisman Jamie Vardy for goals. It didn't take long for other teams to realise that and dealt with him by man-marking him, which nullified the club's only goalscoring option. Looking to add some diversity to its attack, Leicester made the most of the uncertainty caused by Rafael Benitez's departure from Newcastle United to sign Ayoze Perez. Capable of playing up front on his own, partnering Vardy or as a wide-forward, the Spaniard's versatility will help stretch opposition defences and give room for others to maximise their output.

A club-record deal to turn Youri Tielemans' impressive loan spell permanent has ensured Rodgers will have most of his team intact going into the season. The one absentee will be Harry Maguire, who has finally completed his big-money move to Manchester United — a year after being linked with it. In Caglar Soyuncu and Filip Benkovic, both signed last summer, the club has able replacements to partner Jonny Evans at centre-back. The £85 million departure of Maguire gives the club the option to flex its financial muscle on deadline day, so a move for Brighton's Lewis Dunk could still be on the cards.

The first eight games of the season see the club play Chelsea, Wolves, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool — teams which comfortably finished above it but will be juggling domestic campaigns with European commitments. A good start to the season could help Rodgers guide the Foxes to a Europa League-guaranteeing seventh place and maybe past a struggling top-six side too.

Is the team's revival under Rodgers last season a one-off or will the team be able to build on that, and cope with Maguire's loss, in his first full season in East Midlands? Only time will tell.

Leicester City's transfer activity

IN: James Justin (£8m, Luton Town), Ayoze Perez (£30m, Newcastle), Youri Tielemans (£40m, Monaco), George Hirst (£1m, OH Leuven). 
OUT: Elliott Moore (undisclosed, Oxford United), Lamine Sherif (free, Accrington), Shinji Okazaki (free, Malaga), Harry Maguire (£85m, Manchester United), Daniel Iversen (loan, Rotherham), Josh Knight (loan, Peterborough), Ryan Loft (loan, Carlisle United), Max Bramley, Kairo Edwards-John, Davide Lorenzo, Habib Makanjuola, Alassane Meite, Louis Ramsay, Danny Simpson (all released).

 

Premier League fixtures

August

10: Leicester City vs Wolves

18: Chelsea vs Leicester City

24: Sheffield United vs Leicester City

31: Leicester City vs Bournemouth

September

14: Manchester United vs Leicester City

21: Leicester City vs Tottenham Hotspur

28: Leicester City vs Newcastle United

October

5: Liverpool vs Leicester City

19: Leicester City vs Burnley

25: Southampton vs Leicester City

November

2: Crystal Palace v Leicester

9: Leicester City vs Arsenal

23: Brighton and Hove Albion vs Leicester City

30: Leicester City vs Everton

December

3: Leicester City vs Watford

7: Aston Villa vs Leicester City

14: Leicester City vs Norwich City

21: Manchester City vs Leicester City

26: Leicester City vs Liverpool

28: West Ham United vs Leicester City

January

1: Newcastle United vs Leicester City

11: Leicester City vs Southampton

18: Burnley vs Leicester City

21: Leicester City vs West Ham United

February

1: Leicester City vs Chelsea

8: Wolves vs Leicester City

22: Leicester City vs Manchester City

29: Norwich City vs Leicester City

March

7: Leicester City vs Aston Villa

14: Watford vs Leicester City

21: Leicester City vs Brighton and Hove Albion

April

4: Everton vs Leicester City

11: Leicester City vs Crystal Palace

18: Arsenal vs Leicester City

25: Bournemouth vs Leicester City

May

2: Leicester City vs Sheffield United

9: Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City

17: Leicester City vs Manchester United

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