Jamie Carragher feels Leicester’s performance in a 3-1 victory over Liverpool vindicates the criticism meted out to the Foxes players in the wake of Claudio Ranieri’s sacking as manager last week.
The Italian was dismissed from his role nine months after guiding Leicester to a shock Premier League title win with the midlands club hovering above the relegation zone.
Former Liverpool and England defender Carragher said in his Daily Mail column he was “raging with the role of the players” in Ranieri’s downfall, although they responded by claiming Leicester’s first league win of 2017 on Monday night.
Afterwards Jamie Vardy said he and his team-mates have been subjected to “unfair stick” in the days since Ranieri’s exit and, while Carragher acknowledges they were in a no-win position, his opinion of them has not changed.
He told Sky Sports 1: “They were brilliant, absolutely superb. They’ve won the game by having energy, by closing people down, being horrible, being difficult to play against. That’s not about tactics, that’s not about having great players, that’s about just having something inside you.
“It is right that you’re asking those questions because it wasn’t as if we’d just seen 11 fantastic footballers. We’ve just seen a team fully committed.
“I’ve been watching football for a very, very long time and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game of football where two teams who come off the pitch and hang their heads in shame; Liverpool for how bad they were and Leicester for how good they were on the back of how poor they’ve been, just through effort and commitment.
“They’ve been battered and we’ve been a part of that (in the pre-match build-up) and that still doesn’t change it for me, what we’ve said about Leicester. In some ways it may even reinforce it, that we said they haven’t done enough for Claudio Ranieri.
“Whatever they did, they were going to get criticism for how it’s come across but from their point of view, all they should be caring about now – the owners, the manager – is staying in the Premier League and (the win) gives them a great opportunity.”
Carragher then turned his anger on his former club.
“Liverpool were shocking tonight, I was at the games at Hull and Burnley and they were the exact same games. They’re on course to concede 50 goals again this season and Klopp hasn’t rectified that.
“There’s no way you are going to win anything conceding that amount of goals, it’s just impossible to do that.
“My other problem is Liverpool always play the same way, and I said it again before the match. What’s wrong with Liverpool going to a side like Leicester and saying, ‘Let Wes Morgan and Robert Huth have the ball, we know Vardy wants to spin in behind. We can hit you on the break with Sadio Mane.’
“It’s always the same thing that happens for Liverpool – it was [Burnley’s Andre] Gray and [Hull’s Oumar] Niasse before and Vardy tonight – I just don’t know why it hasn’t changed.
“There’s no difference in tactics, there’s not a different plan for certain games. I think Klopp has far too much faith in certain players. He has to make changes in the summer.
“I’m not saying what happened tonight is a good thing for Liverpool but it reinforces the changes that will need to be made.
“Sometimes when it is going well for Liverpool you kid yourself about certain things. I love James Milner but he’s not a left-back.
“Lucas Leiva I’m sure will be getting plenty of stick. I felt so sorry for him as he shouldn’t be playing at centre-back, it would have been like playing me at right wing.
“There’s no way he can catch Vardy in a sprint if the team is pushed up to the halfway line. He was put in a position that completely exposed him.
“There should be no blame attached to him, the blame for that should be to Jurgen Klopp for putting him in that position.
“I still expect Liverpool to beat Arsenal next week. But you play these games more than you play the top four or top five and this is a massive problem for Liverpool.
“They continue to play into the hands of players like Gray, Niasse and Vardy. They leave themselves exposed to pace in the channels.”