Manchester United and Leicester City bolstered their top-four hopes with Premier League wins on Saturday – as Mason Greenwood announced himself as a major star and Jamie Vardy reached a long-awaited landmark

Third-placed Leicester have laboured since England's top flight resumed last month, collecting two points from three matches heading into the home game against Crystal Palace.

Kelechi Iheanacho's close-range finish from Youri Tielemans' low 49th-minute cross set the Foxes on course for a 3-0 win and a costly slip by Mamadou Sakho allowed Harvey Barnes to tee up Vardy for his 100th Premier League goal.

The former England striker then streamed clear in stoppage time to dink past Vicente Guaita and Brendan Rodgers' side remain three points ahead of United, who are up to fourth – at least temporarily – after dismantling Bournemouth 5-2.

The relegation-threatened visitors hit the front at Old Trafford through Junior Stanislas, who cheekily nutmegged Harry Maguire before beating David De Gea at his near post.

But teenage forward Greenwood then took centre stage, blasting into the top corner to equalise.

He finished with similar venom after half-time, the 18-year-old's 15th in all competitions this term making it 4-2 after Marcus Rashford converted from the penalty spot and Anthony Martial spectacularly found the top corner.

Another penalty by Joshua King - Eric Bailly the handball offender as Adam Smith was before him – briefly gave Bournemouth hope early in the second half, although that had dissipated by the time Bruno Fernandes crashed in a 59th-minute free-kick from the edge of the area.

Wolves and Chelsea must now offer their response, with the Blues knowing a win over Watford in Saturday's late kick-off will put them back above United.

Nuno Espirito Santos' Wolves face Arsenal before that in a crunch clash at Molineux, where three points would pull them level with the Red Devils.

Watford head to Stamford Bridge in 17th and a point better off than second-bottom Bournemouth, although the relegation picture became grimly clearer for Norwich City.

Brighton and Hove Albion's Leandro Trossard scored the only goal at Carrow Road, moving the Seagulls nine points clear of the drop zone and leaving Norwich seven from safety with five matches to play.

Jamie Vardy scored his 100th Premier League goal as he netted against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Leicester City striker brought up the landmark on his 205th appearance in the division, putting the Champions League-chasing Foxes 2-0 to the good.

Few of the former England international's ton have been so straightforward, as Harvey Barnes capitalised upon a slip from Palace defender Mamadou Sakho to leave Vardy with a simple finish.

It makes him the 29th player to reach a century of goals in the Premier League and the 16th to do so for a single club. 

Vardy now has 20 this season, making the 33-year-old the leading scorer in England's top flight.

His achievement is made all the more remarkable by the fact that Vardy was still playing non-League football at the age of 25.

Brendan Rodgers defended Jamie Vardy's form and said his focus was on Leicester City as a whole amid their goalscoring struggles.

Since returning to action earlier this month, Leicester have scored just one goal in three games, having bowed out in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 loss to Chelsea on Sunday.

Vardy is without a goal in those three games, but has scored 19 times in 33 matches this season, to go with six assists.

Asked about the forward's form, Rodgers backed Vardy and said he wanted more from his entire attack, not just the Englishman.

"There's lots of focus on Jamie, but this is not just about Jamie, this is the responsibility of the team and it's my responsibility to find ways in which we can find ways to increase our goalscoring," he told a news conference.

"It's the responsibility of everyone. I think if you look at his record in terms of his goals and what he has done up until this point, he hasn't needed a lot of action, he's a true finisher.

"He is not one of those players who is involved in the link-up, in the game. That's not his strength. His strength is in the box and running from deep in behind.

"Of course we want to get him more service, but we are looking at ways to develop and get our wingers back to being involved and scoring and creating goals, and of course our midfield players.

"A lot of spotlight [is] on Jamie, but it is not just the striker, it's the team's contribution. So that's something we need to improve."

Leicester City, who are third in the table, are away to Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers is "pretty relaxed" over transfer rumours regarding Ben Chilwell and hailed Jamie Vardy's "phenomenal" story as he approaches a Premier League landmark. 

England left-back Chilwell has been the subject of reported interest from Chelsea and Manchester City.

The Foxes are said to be confident of keeping Chilwell at the King Power Stadium, though, with Leicester on course to qualify for the Champions League, while he still has four years to run on his contract.

Finding a replacement that represents value for money could also prove difficult, as was the case when Leicester sold Harry Maguire to Manchester United last August.

Rodgers, whose side return to Premier League action following the coronavirus-enforced break at Watford on Saturday, is confident Chilwell remains focused on helping Leicester achieve their goals.

"I'm sure you can imagine the answer,  there's no need to comment on it now," Rodgers said during a virtual news conference on a day where it was confirmed captain Wes Morgan, Christian Fuchs and Eldin Jakupovic had all signed one-year contract extensions.

"He's come back, Ben, he looks absolutely fantastic. He's been able to go away, reflect on his game, everything he's done, he's been exceptional. 

"We're pretty relaxed on it, it's a sequence the club is used to now, over these last number of years, but when you have a talented group of players, they're always going to make the headlines. 

"I'm pretty relaxed, he's a fantastic boy to work with, outstanding young player, very driven to help us achieve what we want to this year."

Rodgers was also asked about Vardy, who needs just one more goal to chalk up 100 in the Premier League.

The 33-year-old's rags to riches story has been well documented and Vardy did not make his Football League debut until the age of 25.

Having risen through the pyramid to join Leicester from Fleetwood Town in 2012, the striker has become a Premier League winner and earned 26 England caps since moving to the Foxes.

"His story is absolutely phenomenal. Into professional football at 25, I read somewhere his first competitive game at the top level was only a few years ago, at 27," Rodgers added. 

"It's absolutely remarkable and it shows you the talent the guy has and the spirit and drive the guy has. 

"No doubt he'll get to that, pretty much sure he'll go well beyond it. 

"It's a phenomenal story Jamie's, but he'll go beyond it. He's super fit, super fast, I think he'll enjoy every minute, he'll get back to the level he was very quickly."

The Premier League returned on Wednesday with a double-header between Aston Villa and Sheffield United, and Manchester City and Arsenal.

There were many who advocated not finishing the season, with Watford striker Troy Deeney last month saying he would not return to training due to fears for his family during the COVID-19 crisis.

Rodgers said any member of his squad would be supported should they decide they did not want to play.

"100 per cent [they would be supported] that has always been the case, that question has gone to each player," said Rodgers, who himself recovered from coronavirus during the league's suspension. 

"The players are full of confidence here for the work the club has done but of course if there was any doubt, my relationship has always been open with the people and the players, they wouldn't have to play, it's as simple as that."

The pause in the football calendar (except in Belarus, of course) gives players across Europe plenty of time to reflect on their efforts so far this season.

While some have a few things to work on when matches return, there are others for whom 2019-20 has been a showcase of the very best they have to offer.

In the latest piece in our series, we look at the best-performing forwards in the Bundesliga, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A.

Goals might be the most obvious (and fundamentally important) of metrics for these players, but the number of times the ball crosses that white line is not the only measure of their quality.

To that end, we have also examined seven other parameters: minutes-per-goal rate, shots on target, shooting accuracy, shot conversion rate, big chance conversion rate, dribbles completed and dribble success rate. And these are for those players to make at least 10 league appearances this season, to avoid any unfair imbalance in the results (we're looking at you, Florin Andone).

Without further ado, we present the most ruthless forwards elite-level football in Europe has to offer...

THE MOST RUTHLESS FORWARDS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

 

BUNDESLIGA:

Most goals scored: Robert Lewandowski (25)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Robert Lewandowski (81.7)
Most shots on target: Robert Lewandowski (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Marcus Thuram (76.3 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Paco Alcacer (35.7 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Rouwen Hennings (71.4 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Marcus Thuram (57)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Lucas Alario (83.3 per cent)

LALIGA:

Most goals scored: Lionel Messi (19)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Lionel Messi (99.5)
Most shots on target: Lionel Messi (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Lionel Messi (68.9 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Lucas Perez (40.7 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Charles (83.3 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Lionel Messi (118)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Pione Sisto (76.9 per cent)

LIGUE 1:

Most goals scored: Kylian Mbappe and Wissam Ben Yedder (18)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Kylian Mbappe (84.1)
Most shots on target: Kylian Mbappe (49)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Kasper Dolberg (78.1 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Mauro Icardi (37.5 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Moussa Dembele (72.2 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Neymar (90)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Zaydou Youssouf (85.7 per cent)

PREMIER LEAGUE:

Most goals scored: Jamie Vardy (19)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Sergio Aguero (87.6)
Most shots on target: Mohamed Salah (43)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Anthony Martial (68.2 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (36.2 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Harry Kane (70 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Adama Traore (144)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Billy Sharp (86.7 per cent)

SERIE A:

Most goals scored: Ciro Immobile (27)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Luis Muriel (70.2)
Most shots on target: Cristiano Ronaldo (53)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Romelu Lukaku (65.5 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Ante Rebic (42.9 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Felipe Caicedo (85.7 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Jeremie Boga (106)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Sergio Floccari (72.2 per cent)

AND THE TOP EIGHT:

Most goals scored: Ciro Immobile (27)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Luis Muriel (70.2)
Most shots on target: Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Kasper Dolberg (78.1 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Ante Rebic (42.9 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Felipe Caicedo (85.7 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Adama Traore (144)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Billy Sharp (86.7 per cent)

Jamie Vardy's first goals of 2020 helped end Leicester City's four-match winless run in the Premier League with a dominant 4-0 victory over struggling Aston Villa.

Vardy has led the scoring charts for much of the campaign, but a calf injury and a loss of form coincided with a tough stretch for Brendan Rodgers' third-placed Leicester.

However, Villa – second from bottom and facing swift relegation back to the Championship – made for an easy target at the King Power Stadium on Monday, granting the Foxes revenge for their EFL Cup semi-final defeat.

Harvey Barnes preyed on an awful Pepe Reina error to net the 40th-minute opener after a wasteful Leicester start, beating the goalkeeper to a long ball 25 yards from goal, steadying himself and firing beyond a pair of backtracking Villa defenders.

Vardy was introduced from the bench just before the hour-mark and had his name on the scoresheet four minutes later, as he dispatched a penalty after Tyrone Mings was adjudged to have handled in the area.

The former England striker doubled his tally with a near-post finish past Reina 11 minutes from time, and there was still time for Barnes to also convert a second, sweeping in Marc Albrighton's centre.

Dean Smith's Villa, beaten by Manchester City in last weekend's EFL Cup final, are two points from safety but do have a game in hand. 

Pep Guardiola has hailed Jamie Vardy as an "exceptional player" whose game is tailor-made to torment Manchester City.

Guardiola's team travel on Saturday to take on Leicester City, the against-all-odds 2015-16 Premier League champions whose success has owed plenty to Vardy's goals.

It is a battle of second against third in this season's top flight, with Guardiola's team currently four points ahead of Brendan Rodgers' Foxes.

Vardy leads the league's scoring charts with 17 goals in 24 appearances, putting him one ahead of Guardiola's star marksman Sergio Aguero.

And Guardiola believes it is obvious why Vardy has enjoyed success against his City team in the past, pointing to the high defensive line the speedy striker has been able to exploit.

"Because we play 40 metres in front, it's perfect for him," Guardiola said.

"Jamie Vardy scored goals against us and against all the teams, because in the box, in the final third, he's exceptional.

"He's one of the better strikers I've ever seen in movement, in finishing, in high pressing. In many things he's an exceptional player."

Vardy has netted five times in 11 Premier League games against City – no one has scored more top-flights goals against a Guardiola side across his spells in charge of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and the current English champions.

However, 33-year-old Vardy is also mired in a goal drought, having not netted in his past eight games, six of which have been league fixtures.

Leicester have hit a sticky patch collectively but still sit nine points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea going into the weekend.

Guardiola knows that form could flip in an instant, with Leicester having shown in the first half of the season what a strong unit they are, and what an impressive job Northern Irishman Rodgers is doing at the King Power Stadium.

"I said when we played before, in our home game, how impressed [I was]," Guardiola said.

"I know the incredible job he did at Liverpool, but I was not here. I saw him when he was at Celtic in Glasgow and I thought, 'Wow, this team plays good and aggressive and had good vibes'.

"They have incredible organisation at Leicester, with good scouting. They know exactly what they have to do, and it's nice to see teams play as well as they play for the benefit of English football, to have this kind of manager and a team playing this way."

Jamie Vardy will miss Leicester City's FA Cup trip to Brentford on Saturday but Brendan Rodgers is hopeful he will be back to face Aston Villa in the EFL Cup semi-final.

The striker was substituted during the first half of the Foxes' 4-1 win over West Ham in the Premier League, with initial fears that he had suffered a hamstring injury proving unfounded.

Vardy was in fact struggling with a problem in his glute and will undergo treatment in Leicester when his team-mates are in action at Griffin Park.

Manager Rodgers is optimistic, however, that the former England forward will return on Tuesday to face Villa for the second leg of a tie that is poised at 1-1.

"He's not available for the weekend and there will be a question mark for Tuesday, although it's certainly not as serious as we first thought," Rodgers said on Friday.

"It's not his hamstring, it's a glute, so we're hopeful for Tuesday, but there's a little bit of work to do. He'll get some work in with the medical team. He'll stay with them for the weekend.

"He's much better than directly after the game, when he was tight and sore and struggling to move. But today he was much better."

Vardy is the Premier League's top scorer this season with 17 goals.

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers was relieved the injury that forced Jamie Vardy to hobble out of Wednesday's clash with West Ham was not a hamstring issue.

Premier League top scorer Vardy lasted 43 minutes of Leicester's 4-1 victory at the King Power Stadium before coming off in pain.

Fears that his problem could be hamstring-related were dispelled by manager Rodgers, however, meaning Vardy may soon be back in action.

"He just felt a twinge in his glute, so we'll just have to wait and see on that over the next day or so," Rodgers said in his post-match news conference.

"Thankfully, he said his hamstring was fine, he just felt the pain on his glute, so we'll assess that over the next couple of days."

Vardy has scored 17 goals for Leicester in the English top flight this season, helping them to reach third place, three points behind second-placed champions Manchester City.

Leicester's next match is an FA Cup fourth-round trip to Brentford on Saturday.

They face Aston Villa in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final next Tuesday, before returning to Premier League duty on February 1 when Chelsea visit the King Power Stadium.

Jamie Vardy gave Leicester City an injury scare before Ayoze Perez proved himself a capable deputy in Wednesday's 4-1 win over West Ham.

Harvey Barnes tapped in Ricardo Pereira's cross to give Leicester a 24th-minute lead, but the Foxes suffered a potentially major blow shortly before half-time when Premier League top scorer Vardy went off with what looked like a hamstring injury.

There was time for a second Leicester goal prior to the break, with Barnes darting in from the left and teeing up Pereira, returning the earlier favour and allowing his team-mate to thunder a shot beyond Darren Randolph.

Mark Noble slotted in a 50th-minute penalty to revive West Ham's hopes after Wilfred Ndidi fouled Sebastien Haller.

However, when Angelo Ogbonna caught Kelechi Iheanacho Leicester were awarded a spot-kick of their own and Perez fired the ball high and emphatically into the net to make the home win a certainty.

Perez rifled in a clinical late fourth for Brendan Rodgers' third-placed hosts, who coped admirably without Vardy but will nevertheless hope his absence is brief.

Jamie Vardy missed a penalty as Burnley came from behind to beat Leicester City 2-1 at Turf Moor and condemn the Foxes to back-to-back Premier League defeats.

After Chris Wood's instinctive finish against his former side had cancelled out Harvey Barnes' contentious opener, Leicester looked set to retake the lead when Ben Mee fouled the Foxes' goalscorer with 23 minutes remaining.

Vardy, however, lacked his usual composure from the spot, with Nick Pope making a smart stop down to his left and also denying Leicester's forward in a one-on-one soon after.

Pope's saves paid further dividends in the 79th minute as Ashley Westwood lashed home from the centre of Leicester's box and, despite a late glut of pressure, Brendan Rodgers' side could not find a way back.

Sunday's victory ends a four-match losing streak in the Premier League for Burnley, with Sean Dyche's side – who were furious that Barnes' opener was allowed to stand despite a robust challenge from Dennis Praet in the build-up – now up to 14th, five points clear of the relegation zone.

Leicester, meanwhile, have lost four of their past six league fixtures but remain in third place, six points above Chelsea.

Harry Kane may have suffered an untimely injury, but England boss Gareth Southgate could well be blessed with a wealth of attacking options heading into Euro 2020.

Kane's hamstring injury should not see him miss the European Championship, but it has handed plenty of England hopefuls the chance to prove their worth.

And it seems as though this season, the Premier League belongs to homegrown forwards.

Jamie Vardy – who has retired from international duty – leads the way with 17 goals, ahead of three players sharing second place in the scoring charts with 14: Danny Ings, Marcus Rashford and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal striker Aubameyang is one of only four non-English players to take their place in the Premier League's list of leading scorers as things stand, along with Sergio Aguero, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Raheem Sterling, Tammy Abraham and Kane complete the top 10 and, using Opta data, we assess whether the 2019-20 Premier League campaign is an anomaly or the start of something new.

SIX OF THE BEST

Vardy's incredible form has been key to propelling Leicester City up the league, with Brendan Rodgers' side currently sitting third. 

The 33-year-old has 17 league goals to his name this season, though it is another Englishman who has been making the headlines recently – one who downed the Foxes last time out. 

Southampton's Ings has scored 10 goals in his past 11 top-flight appearances and is already the highest-scoring Southampton player in a single season since Jay Rodriguez in 2013-14. 

Level with Ings is Manchester United's Rashford, who seems to have finally taken up the mantle as the Red Devils' talisman and has scored 19 times across all competitions, one less than England team-mate Sterling, who has 11 league goals. 

Chelsea's transfer ban in the off season handed Abraham the chance to shine, and shine he has, scoring 13 times in the top flight, two more than England captain Kane. 

It should also be noted the six leading English scorers all represent different clubs, showing that homegrown talent is shared across the league. 

THE NEXT GENERATION

Of the English players leading the way this season, two – Rashford and Abraham – are 22, while City sensation Sterling is only just 25.  

Indeed, only Vardy, of the English forwards in the top 10, is above the age of 30. 

After overcoming a glut of injury issues, Ings is finally hitting his stride once more, with Southampton the benefactors.  

But, with the 27-year-old averaging a goal every 109.8 minutes in the league – a figure bettered only by Vardy among the other English players – Ings must be in serious contention for a place in Southgate's squad for the upcoming friendlies against Italy and Denmark. 

There is also plenty of potential for the future outside of the players in the top 10. After Sterling and Kane, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the highest-scoring English player and the 22-year-old seems to be coming into his own for Everton. 

He has scored eight league goals and 10 in total across all competitions, while United's Mason Greenwood is the highest-scoring teenager in the competition. 

Away from the Premier League, Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho has been lighting up the Bundesliga since his move from City in 2017.

HISTORY SAYS...

Only twice in the past nine Premier League seasons has an English forward won the Golden Boot, with Tottenham star Kane doing so in both 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Last season, the award was shared between Mane, Salah and Aubameyang, though each only managed 22 goals – the lowest amount since Carlos Teves finished top of the charts with 20 in 2010-11.

Since the start of the previous decade there has been a steady increase in the number of English players finishing in double figures for the season, with five last term being the most. But with six players inside the top 10 – and Calvert-Lewin not far away – this season, 2019-20 is proving the best season for homegrown strikers in that timeframe.

With Euro 2020 on the horizon, it appears this could well be the season that kick-starts a new wave of English talent starring in the big time.

Harry Kane is not expected to return to training until April in a huge blow to both Tottenham and England.

The Spurs striker suffered a ruptured tendon in his left hamstring in the Premier League defeat to Southampton this month, and the club confirmed on Thursday he would undergo surgery.

The latest estimate for Kane's lay-off should concern Tottenham fans, with the team sixth and six points off a Champions League place, while England manager Gareth Southgate will also be worried as Euro 2020 approaches.

So, will Spurs stick or twist in the transfer market? And does Southgate have an alternative to his talismanic captain?

SON TO THE FORE AT SPURS?

Jose Mourinho had insisted prior to this injury he had little interest in January business. While that must surely change with this news, Tottenham have rarely been willing to spend big in recent seasons.

Might their new head coach instead tinker with his existing options, then? Son Heung-min would appear the obvious candidate to take on Kane's striking role.

The winger started up front at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Sunday and deputised well for Kane for a stretch last season, prompting suggestions the South Korea star might play better without his most lethal attacking team-mate.

Lucas Moura, who also led the line in Kane's absence last season, and Dele Alli are options to join Son in attack, while Troy Parrott – 17 years old with just two senior appearances to his name – would hope to be handed a more prominent role.

 

PIPPING RIVALS TO PIATEK?

Spurs finally looked to have suitable cover for Kane in the form of Fernando Llorente last season, only for the veteran to depart for Napoli on a free at the end of the campaign.

Now, Tottenham are not the only English side searching for goals in the mid-season transfer window, with Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace all short in that department, but Mourinho's men should have the profile to blow those rivals out of the water.

One man linked with Spurs, Newcastle and Villa in recent days is Krzysztof Piatek, the Milan striker now at risk of slipping to the fringes of the Rossoneri first team following Zlatan Ibrahimovic's return to San Siro.

Piatek was one of Europe's form strikers last season and, while his goals tally is far more modest this term – he only has four in 18 appearances in Serie A – Tottenham may have little choice but to take a risk. Milan reportedly want £30million rather than a loan.

 

ENGLAND U-TURN FOR VARDY?

Kane was the leading scorer in Euros qualifying with 12 goals and had been set to star for England in a finals tournament that will feature seven matches, including the semi-finals and final, on home soil at Wembley.

But perhaps Southgate is better equipped than Mourinho to deal with the absence of his key striker, with four of the Premier League's top five marksmen this term eligible for England.

Leading the way with 17 goals is Jamie Vardy, who has not featured for his country since the 2018 World Cup, citing in part his reduced role behind Kane in the pecking order as he stepped away from international football.

Yet with Kane facing a race against time to be fit for the finals, Vardy might now find himself a prominent figure if he could be tempted back into the squad.

 

FIVE YEARS ON, ANOTHER INGS CAP?

England are not short of options, as the Golden Boot race suggests, with Tammy Abraham in top form and both Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling capable of playing through the middle.

But Danny Ings will surely see this as his opportunity to add to his sole Three Lions cap earned in 2015 – he replaced Kane from the bench on that occasion – before awful injury troubles at Liverpool.

The Southampton striker, who scored the only goal in the game Kane suffered his injury, is enjoying the best season of his top-flight career, scoring 13 times already.

Southgate surely must at least assess Ings as an option in the March internationals, while Callum Wilson will hope to return to form for Bournemouth in order to stake his own case. Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin may also be in with a chance.

Jamie Vardy is set to return to training but will not take part in Leicester City's FA Cup clash against Wigan Athletic on Saturday, Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed.

The in-form striker missed the 3-0 triumph over Newcastle United on New Year's Day due to a calf problem having sat out the 2-1 win at West Ham four days prior because of the birth of his daughter.

Vardy, who tops the Premier League goalscoring charts with 17 this term, is nearly ready to make a comeback but will not be risked for the third-round tie at home to Championship side Wigan.

"He's coming along very well," said Rodgers. "He's done some good work with the medical team and he'll be back out on the [training] pitch [on Saturday].

"He's not available for the game but he'll be training with us Sunday. Everyone [else] has been brilliant; fit, recovering and all available."

Rodgers is planning to make changes for the game against the Latics, with Croatian centre-back Filip Benkovic part of the matchday squad.

Benkovic worked under the Northern Irishman during a loan spell with Celtic but has yet to feature this term and has featured in Leicester's Under-23 side to build his fitness after an ankle problem.

"We'll pick a strong team to look to win the game," Rodgers added. "We'll make some changes after a tough game, but I always pick a team to win.

"Filip comes into the squad for the game. He's been very unfortunate. In the summer, there were options for him to go on loan, but I needed to keep him.

"I needed four centre-halves. He's trained well and adapted very well to not playing. We've put him into some of the Under-23s games, so if the time comes for him to play, he's ready.

"He's a very imposing presence in the game. He's six foot four and he's good in both boxes and on the ball. He likes to defend forward.

"It's a great opportunity for him. He was terrific for us at Celtic, he played big games but unfortunately he got injured and never really recovered in the second part of the season."

Jurgen Klopp warned his Liverpool players that keeping "exceptional" Wolves winger Adama Traore quiet will be even more difficult than shutting out Jamie Vardy.

Premier League top scorer Vardy was largely anonymous as Liverpool won 4-0 at second-place Leicester City on Thursday to move 13 points clear at the summit with a game in hand on the Foxes.

However, the runaway leaders face a quick turnaround in fixtures as they are back in action on Sunday with a home match against Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves.

Klopp is expecting a tough test at Anfield and is particularly wary of the threat posed by versatile attacker Traore, who has starred on the right of a front three this term and scored twice in a win at Manchester City in October.

"Finally, Traore has a manager who has found a position for him," Klopp told reporters ahead of the match. "He started as a wing-back and now he can play in the front three.

"He is an exceptional player and was already exceptional as a kid when he played for Barcelona. He's probably the quickest player in the league.

"It makes it really difficult to play against them, but it should be difficult for them, too. That's the plan.

"This year they won against City. In the big space, Jamie Vardy is difficult to defend but I would say Traore is even more difficult to defend because the speed is exceptional."

Traore has a combined six goals and assists in the top flight this season, compared to two in his maiden campaign at Molineux after joining from Middlesbrough in August 2018.

The 23-year-old was part of Barcelona's famed academy and has previously been on Liverpool boss Klopp's radar.

"Of course, everybody knew him," Klopp said. "I think it was in Barcelona - I saw thousands of players, but as a kid he was at Barcelona, right?

"I saw him at Middlesbrough and he was exceptional but someone had to give him the right information, obviously, because that's a big, big challenge.

"He's still very young and now he has found it. Everybody was pretty sure that it will happen and now it happened. Good for Wolves. It makes them really dangerous."

Liverpool boast an in-form attacker of their own, with Roberto Firmino making it four goals in three games with his brace at the King Power Stadium.

That follows a run of six games without scoring, but Klopp was never concerned about a lack of goals from the Brazil international.

"I think in the last three games he's scored four goals and before that it was a little bit like he didn't score that often," Klopp said.

"Journalists told me Bobby Firmino didn't score for a while and I didn't even realise. When I think about Bobby I don't think about scoring, I think about how important he is.

"So we had a bit of a talk and I told him because he looked, for the first time since I've known him, a little bit concerned about that fact.

"I told him that I'm not interested in that number because he's the 'connecter' for our team. He's so important for us. He's not the only one who can play in the position but he can play the position in a very special way."

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