Vardy facing four weeks out as Leicester’s problems deepen

Jamie Vardy has been ruled out for up to four weeks with a hamstring problem as Leicester’s injury issues continue to worsen.

Vardy – 35 next month – had complained of an issue during the Carabao Cup defeat at Liverpool last week and was rested for the Boxing Day trip to Manchester City.

However, the striker went on to sustain the injury in Tuesday’s Premier League win at home to Liverpool.

“Jamie will be out,” said Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers. “It could be the next three to four weeks.

“It’s a hamstring. He could soldier on, which is what he wanted to do, but the scan has shown up as that.”

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy (PA)

Jamie Vardy has scored 11 goals in 22 games this season

Rodgers added he felt the packed festive schedule and the extra demands placed on players due to a rise in Covid cases had played a significant part in Vardy’s injury.

“I think the fatigue element in that combination of games has probably led to it,” said Rodgers.

“The players are not robots. People think, because they are paid a lot of money, they should turn out and play every single day of the week and that’s not the case.

“He felt it in the cup game at Liverpool, where the last half-hour it was hindering his performance.

“We didn’t involve him at the weekend to give him maximum rest – even though he was on the bench he wasn’t able to play – and the other night he just felt it towards the end of the game.

Jamie Vardy was injured during Leicester's win over Liverpool on Tuesday (AP)

Vardy was injured during Leicester’s win over Liverpool on Tuesday

“It’s the combination of games we have had and the recovery time has made it difficult for him.”

Patson Daka is also injured and will miss the Africa Cup of Nations, while Kelechi Iheanacho is set to travel to the tournament next month, leaving Rodgers with limited options up front.

There was better news for Leicester regarding James Maddison, who will be fit for Saturday’s game at home to Norwich – his former club – despite coming off against Liverpool on Tuesday with an injury.

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Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers reflects on Jordan Henderson’s comments on player welfare and says he hopes fixture congestion is addressed in future seasons

Salah has rare off-day as Liverpool stunned

Leicester had conceded 26 goals in their last nine games while Liverpool had scored at least once in their last 34.

So when Mohamed Salah stepped up to take an early penalty he himself had won, it seemed the script for a game which pitted the Premier League’s most prolific attack against one of its more porous – and injury-hit – defences was already written.

But Salah, the Premier League’s top scorer and a man who had converted his last 15 spot-kicks in the competition, instead saw his uncharacteristically tame effort repelled by Kasper Schmeichel before heading the rebound against the crossbar.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester’s win against Liverpool in the Premier League

Leicester harnessed the power of that moment, holding firm against sustained Liverpool pressure before substitute Ademola Lookman’s second-half winner, while on the other side Salah wilted.

The Egyptian has been irrepressible all season but his penalty miss knocked him off his stride at the King Power Stadium. In the first half, sloppy touches crept into his game. In the second, there were over-hit passes and misdirected efforts on goal.

Salah, who will soon join up with his country for the Africa Cup of Nations, was not the only one to spurn opportunities. Sadio Mane missed a gilt-edged one-on-one chance. Diogo Jota headed wide when he should have hit the target. But it was Salah’s struggles that best summed up Liverpool’s night.

Nick Wright

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