Harvey Barnes is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed the winger would likely require surgery on a knee injury.

The in-form 23-year-old, whose impressive displays had put him firmly in the conversation around England's Euro 2020 squad, was substituted six minutes into the second half of Sunday's 3-1 loss to Arsenal.

And Rodgers confirmed Barnes had significantly aggravated an issue that first came to light earlier this month.

"It's not good news, it looks like he needs to go in for an operation, so it will be a minimum of six weeks," said Rodgers, whose squad has been hugely impacted by injury setbacks.

"I believe it's around his cartilage. He had a clash of knees a few weeks ago, so it has just been irritable. Today he's had a challenge right on it [and that] has just made it worse.

"He'll need that repaired. He's had niggles with it, that's why we tried to recover him on Thursday, to take some pressure off him, but unfortunately it's a bad one for him, and a huge blow for us.

"I'll hear more on Monday, but initially that's what we think it is."

The Foxes' treatment room is a busy place at present, with James Maddison, James Justin, Wesley Fofana, Ayoze Perez, Dennis Praet and Wes Morgan all out of action.

Worse still for the Champions League hopefuls, defender Jonny Evans was forced off with a calf problem against the Gunners, who roared back from 1-0 down at the King Power Stadium.

"He's had this dead calf, which he's been able to get through, but in some games he has made some actions that have aggravated it," said Rodgers. "He'll need a scan to see where he's at.

"We're down to the bare bones, we've carried it all season and the players have been great. It's absolutely fair enough.

"My players to this point have been brilliant, but we've suffered with a lot, and found a way, but when you're missing the influential players and can't change, it makes it difficult. We'll find a way.

"One thing that goes when you have that tiredness is technique, when passes go astray. With our team, it's usually crisp and precise with our passing."

The minimum six-week recovery time for Barnes would see him miss five top-flight games and the FA Cup quarter-final with Manchester United.

Despite the defeat, which came on the heels of Thursday's Europa League exit at the hands of Slavia Prague, Leicester sit third in the Premier League.

Brendan Rodgers blamed a lack of intensity, creativity and quality for Leicester City's Europa League exit as his own poor record in the competition's knockout stage continued.

The Foxes were favourites to progress from their last-32 tie with Slavia Prague after a goalless draw in the first leg, but succumbed to a 2-0 loss at the King Power Stadium on Thursday

Rodgers has now been eliminated from all five of his Europa League knockout ties as a manager (all last 32) – with Liverpool in 2012-13 and 2014-15, Celtic in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and Leicester this season.

"We didn't create enough over two legs. That's the reality," Rodgers told BT Sport.

"We didn't defend with any intensity. We gave away two disappointing goals.

"We got into some good areas but lacked quality when we arrived in them. We started pretty well and exploited some spaces in behind, but we didn't have enough quality to break them down.

"Before this game we were in three competitions and we wanted to give it our all. We know where our priorities are and now, we'll do our very best. We just lacked intensity and quality.

"Overall, the better team won and got through. We have to recover for the weekend."

Rodgers was without injured playmaker James Maddison while Harvey Barnes, their top scorer in Europe this season, started on the bench.

The Northern Irishman defended his decision to leave Barnes out of the starting line-up and felt those players selected were good enough to get them through the tie.

"We lost to the better team. I take responsibility for the team I've picked. I picked a team I felt could win the game," Rodgers added.

"Was it a game too far with our domestic commitments? Yes, but I don't want to give too many excuses. We had players not available tonight at the top end of the field. Guys that can make a difference for us.

"However, I still expected us to show up more. They'll learn from it, like they always do, and although we're disappointed to be out but we know we weren't good enough."

Leicester reaction

February 25, 2021

 

 

 

Leicester City were knocked out of the Europa League at the last 32 stage after a meek 2-0 home defeat to Slavia Prague on Thursday.

With the first leg having finished goalless in Prague, Leicester were strong favourites to reach the last 16 at the King Power Stadium.

But Lukas Provod gave Slavia the lead early in the second half with a cool volleyed finish inside the penalty area after his run went unchecked by the Leicester defence.

Abdallah Dipo Sima made the outcome certain with 11 minutes left when he fired home spectacularly from just outside the box as the Premier League high-flyers went crashing out.

The Foxes tried to seize the early initiative as Cengiz Under twice struck efforts from distance, but their opponents looked the more threatening side in the first half.

A weak Caglar Soyuncu header from a Slavia long ball allowed striker Sima to break clear just before the half hour but his early shot went wide of Kasper Schmeichel's goal.

The unmarked Jan Kuchta should have done better for the Czech First League leaders when he planted a header wide from a good position.

Moments before the interval Jamie Vardy escaped down the left but with few options in the box he kicked the advertising hoardings in frustration after his cross was easily gathered by Ondrej Kolar.

Slavia took a deserved lead four minutes into the second half when Nicolae Stanciu's cross picked out the run of Provod, who side-footed a volley beyond Schmeichel.

Rodgers missed the creative talent of the injured James Maddison but he did bring top scorer Harvey Barnes off the bench just after the hour.

However, Slavia grabbed a second when the impressive Sima was allowed time and space by the Leicester defence and curled a powerful low shot into the corner of the net.

Manchester City showed few signs of slowing as they recorded another win at Arsenal on Sunday.

The runaway Premier League leaders remain 10 points clear of both Manchester United and Leicester City, who each enjoyed victories of their own.

West Ham complete the top four, meanwhile, after a long-awaited triumph for manager David Moyes.

We start at the London Stadium in recapping the best of Sunday's action with the help of Opta data.
 

West Ham 2-1 Tottenham: Moyes ends miserable run against Mourinho

Moyes finally got the measure of Jose Mourinho as West Ham climbed into the top four with a 2-1 home win against Tottenham.

This was Moyes' first victory over Mourinho in 16 attempts in all competitions, halting his worst winless record against any one coach.

Michail Antonio's fifth Premier League goal against Spurs and 42nd in total - all of which have come from inside the box - opened the scoring early on, before another swift strike in the second half took the game away from Tottenham.

Scorer Jesse Lingard, whose best spell of his United career came under Mourinho, has netted as many goals (three) for Moyes in four league games on loan at West Ham as he did in 36 appearances for Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Although Lucas Moura's header halved the deficit, Mourinho has now suffered 15 defeats and picked up only 81 points from his first 50 league games as Tottenham coach - the worst such returns of his career.
 

Aston Villa 1-2 Leicester City: More Villa Park joy for Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers maintained his 100 per cent winning record away to Aston Villa as Leicester won 2-1 at Villa Park.

Rodgers has won all six of his Premier League games at Villa Park as manager, the past two with Leicester ensuring the Foxes have enjoyed back-to-back away top-flight wins against Villa for the first time since October 1960.

James Maddison's eighth Premier League goal of the season broke the deadlock and made this his best scoring campaign in the top tier, before Harvey Barnes added his 13th in all competitions in 2020-21 - second only to Jamie Vardy (14) among Leicester players.

Bertrand Traore got a goal back and has now been involved in eight in the league for Villa since his debut, but the absent Jack Grealish, the only man at the club this season to better that tally (10), was sorely missed.

0.9 - Under Dean Smith, Aston Villa have averaged 1.5 points-per-game in league competition when Jack Grealish has featured compared to 0.9 points-per-game without him, losing all three Premier League matches without the Englishman since the start of last season. Centrepiece. pic.twitter.com/QafEdQ7IKY

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 21, 2021  

Arsenal 0-1 Manchester City: Records stacking up for Pep's class of 2021

City equalled their own record for consecutive away wins across all competitions by a team from England's top flight, landing a 1-0 success at Arsenal.

An 11th straight victory on the road - tying their 2017 run - also made City the first visiting team to ever enjoy four league wins in a row at Arsenal without conceding.

In all, Arsenal have lost eight league matches on the bounce to City, tying Leeds United's benchmark streak against the Gunners from 1973 to 1976, and a familiar foe proved their undoing.

Raheem Sterling has scored in three consecutive league games at Emirates Stadium and no player in the division has more than his 20 on the road since the start of last season.

City stood firm at the other end with a 15th league clean sheet of the campaign and more achievements might be on the horizon, as a 25th game without defeat across all competitions takes them closer to their best run under Pep Guardiola of 28 in 2017.
 

Manchester United 3-1 Newcastle United: Red Devils dominate Magpies again

United's dominant home record against Newcastle United only briefly looked at risk as they won 3-1 in Sunday's final match.

Newcastle have won on just one of their past 36 league visits to Old Trafford, where Marcus Rashford's 40th goal in all competitions since the start of last season broke the deadlock - his tally is only bettered in that time by Mohamed Salah (47), Harry Kane (45) and Sterling (44).

Allan Saint-Maximin soon equalised - his fifth goal involvement of the campaign - but Dan James restored the home advantage from Bruno Fernandes' pass.

Fernandes secured the points from the penalty spot and now has 15 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League this season, the third player to reach double figures in both goals and assists in Europe's 'top five' leagues (also Kane and Thomas Muller).

United, who have just one defeat in 19 in the league, have now scored 53 times in 25 league matches, their best return at this stage of a season since their title-winning 2012-13 campaign (60).

Manchester United are making plans for Paul Pogba's departure and may have already identified the Frenchman's replacement in Real Madrid's Federico Valverde.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries this season, while veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been in vintage form for LaLiga's champions.

Valverde has only started 12 games in all competitions this season, but the Uruguayan has impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enough for United to step up their efforts to bring him to Old Trafford this off-season.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE VALVERDE TO PLUG MIDFIELD

Valverde has shown his class while featuring in 89 games during his three seasons in the Spanish capital and has turned heads at United.

The Red Devils are said to admire his energy and box-to-box qualities as they seek a long-term solution to lock down a place in the centre of Solskjaer's midfield, according to The Sun.

One snag in the recruitment drive could be the Uruguay international's buy-out clause of a staggering £148million, though United can offer him a major improvement on his current £120,000 per week wage.

Leicester City scored three goals in the space of seven minutes to stun Liverpool as the Premier League champions slipped to a 3-1 defeat in Jurgen Klopp's 300th match in charge. 

Mohamed Salah's carefully placed finish gave the visitors a 67th-minute lead at the King Power Stadium, yet from a position of strength they suffered a dramatic collapse to slip to a third successive loss. 

James Maddison equalised with a free-kick from a tight angle – the strike was initially ruled out for offside prior to a VAR check – before a calamitous moment between Alisson, at fault for two goals in last Sunday's 4-1 loss to Manchester City, and debutant Ozan Kabak gifted Jamie Vardy his first goal of 2021. 

With Liverpool still reeling, Harvey Barnes wrapped up a first win for Brendan Rodgers over his former employers since the end of his Anfield reign – and moved his current club six points clear of them in the table. 

Liverpool are reportedly prioritising a new deal for Virgil van Dijk over Mohamed Salah, while they could be beaten to Dayot Upamecano by Manchester United.

Salah's future has been a talking point in recent weeks, although the forward is contracted until 2023.

Van Dijk also has an agreement at Anfield until 2023, but the injured defender is apparently Liverpool's focus.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL PRIORITISE VAN DIJK DEAL OVER SALAH

Liverpool are prioritising a new contract for Van Dijk over Salah, according to Eurosport.

Van Dijk, 29, is recovering from a serious knee injury and his absence has been felt by the Premier League champions.

Salah, meanwhile, has scored 13 goals in 18 league games this season, but in an interview with AS last month the 28-year-old refused to rule out a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona.

The report also says Liverpool may look at West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, with Georginio Wijnaldum set to leave as a free agent at the end of the campaign.

ROUND-UP

- With Van Dijk and Joe Gomez injured, Liverpool have been linked with a move for RB Leipzig defender Upamecano. But The Sun reports Manchester United are poised to sign the centre-back for £38million (€42.7m).

- Amid uncertainty over his future at Barcelona, Ousmane Dembele is being looked at by numerous European giants. Sport reports Chelsea, Manchester United, Juventus and Bayern Munich are monitoring the forward's situation. Dembele is out of contract in 2022 and the Catalan giants could sell him if he does not extend his deal.

- Frank Lampard is under enormous pressure at Chelsea as the Premier League side struggle for form. The Mirror reports Chelsea could turn to Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers if they move on from Lampard.

- Yet to re-sign with Southampton with his contract expiring next year, Danny Ings is linked with a move. 90min reports Leicester City and Everton have joined the race for the forward, who has also been linked to Tottenham.

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy will be out for "a few weeks" as he needs a hernia operation, manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed.

The 34-year-old has scored 11 goals in 18 Premier League appearances this season, with only Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah above him in the scoring charts.

Vardy has averaged a league goal approximately every 134 minutes, a rate that only six players can better this term, although he has not found the net in any of his past five appearances.

Rodgers is therefore confident Leicester's season will not be badly impacted by the loss of Vardy as they prepare for a run of matches that includes meetings with Everton, Leeds United, Wolves and Liverpool before the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie with Slavia Prague.

"Jamie Vardy will be out for a few weeks," Rodgers said on Friday. "As you know, we've been managing him over this last number of months, and he's been absolutely fantastic.

"We have a window now that allows him to have a minor operation on his hernia and then he'll be back within a few weeks. He'll be out for that period.

"It's one that doesn't keep him [Vardy] out for too long, but it's just a repair in and round that hernia area. It's one we feel he can't really put it off much longer.

"We were hoping to do it a few weeks back, but this is a window where we can get it done and that will obviously leave him with a good part of the season where he can be really influential for us."

Leicester, who are two points behind league leaders Manchester United, travel to Brentford in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday.

Frank Lampard is adamant he can handle the pressure that has come with Chelsea's slump in form, which continued with a 2-0 defeat to Leicester City on Tuesday.

Goals from Wilfred Ndidi and James Maddison sent Leicester top of the Premier League, nine points clear of a Chelsea side that has now won just two of their last eight league games.

Lampard's team are five points adrift of the top four, with their 29 points the fewest Chelsea have had at the midway point of the season since 2015-16, when Leicester won the league and the Blues finished 10th.

Asked about his future at a post-match media conference, head coach Lampard said: "I can't control it. I've been asked before, I understand it, it's the expectations of this club.

"It's a developing team but I can't get caught up in the reaction. I took this job knowing we would have difficult times.

"We just have to fight. Where everything was rosy in mid-December, it isn't so rosy now. I am good at handling pressure."

Chelsea have taken seven points from a possible 24 since going top of the Premier League in December with a win over Leeds United.

On his side's form, Lampard told BBC Sport: "We were in a really good place in December, second in the league and two points from the top. Maybe complacency set it. There's only one way out of it which is hard work. Today Leicester were in better form than us.

"It is clearly concerning. It is a period we are not happy with, other clubs have been in that period. All we can think about is getting through the period, working hard. The important thing is the players bounce back. This is the cut-throat nature of what it is.

"The players have to keep their heads up but also keep their eyes open and review the game and see there was an energy in the Leicester team we didn't have.

"You cannot be sluggish and slow because it won't work against a team like Leicester that are firing."

Leicester are top after 19 games or more for the first time since they lifted the trophy in 2016, but Brendan Rodgers' focus is not on their status as potential title challengers.

"It is still too early. But it shows in the first part of the season consistency has been good and performance levels have been very high," Rodgers said to BBC Sport.

"This gives the belief to the players. It keeps the momentum going and keeps the concentration. In order to stay there at the top you need desire and hunger and I feel we have seen that from the team."

Frank Lampard stated Chelsea do not have players to compare to the calibre and experience of Eden Hazard and Diego Costa as he again sought to temper expectations around his youthful stars.

A 1-0 win over 10-man Fulham last weekend was the Blues' first three-point haul since before Christmas and they are seventh in a Premier League table they briefly topped early in December.

Throughout the subsequent slump, when critics have highlighted a moderate return on considerable transfer investment, Lampard has pointed to the fact the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner - the Germany duo who have underwhelmed since arriving for a combined cost in the region of £125million - and a host of other youngsters still have their best years ahead of them.

For now, though, he feels the elite winners from his own playing days at Stamford Bridge are something Chelsea lack and must work towards

"When you look at the Premier League going forward, around us, when people were sort of lauding us to be title challengers and stuff like that, we do have a squad when you look at the composition of it that is very young, particularly in the forward areas," he told reporters ahead of Tuesday's match against third-placed Leicester City.

"We don't have that history of players: goal machines or assist machines or those things that win you games. With our team, it's potential.

"The club hasn't got an Eden Hazard contributing 50 per cent of goals and assists, it hasn't got a Costa scoring 30 goals.

"We're trying to develop those players and I believe in them strongly, but at the moment we're not quite there, where other teams around us possibly are at the front end of the pitch.

"I think for us, and I should just focus on us, there could be tough times. That's why it's important for me, and I've said this to the players, to keep working, but also to be patient and stay calm around that."

Another figure from the club's past, Brendan Rodgers, will be in the opposite dugout to Lampard at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester manager Rodgers was appointed to Chelsea's academy staff during Jose Mourinho's first spell in charge, although he infamously said he did not wish to "destroy" his career when touted as a possible replacement for Andre Villas Boas in 2012 while at Swansea City.

"I don't know, that's a difficult one, I've got to be careful with this one," Lampard replied when asked whether the Chelsea he leads is a more "nurturing" environment than the one Rodgers experienced.

"I don't want to speak for Brendan when he said that. I suppose at that time, there was a turnaround of managers. I was a player here, so I get that.

"Whether he would give the exact same answer tomorrow after the game, maybe not. For me, all I can do is tackle the job that's in front of me and at the moment we, as Chelsea, are not the Chelsea of when Brendan made those quotes.

"I'm presuming they were made at the time of Chelsea having [Didier] Drogba, [Petr] Cech, [John] Terry, I'm not going to name myself, [Claude] Makelele, whoever, and it would have been a team that was always challenging and the benchmark was different.

"At the moment, we're not a team that has Costa, [Cesc] Fabregas, Hazard, any of the era that came slightly after that.

"We're a team relying on players at the front end of the pitch [who] are clearly new to the Premier League, young to the Premier League."

Lampard was keen to highlight his pitch was not one for sympathy.

He added: "We've seen a couple of big clubs and big managers be questioned within one or two or three weeks, a couple of results this year.

"That's the modern world; I'm not crying about this because it's the Premier League, we all have different expectations, [and] if we're seen to not be getting to them, the pressure comes. That's why we're in this job."

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