LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 22, 2021: Leicester City's manager Brendan Rodgers during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Brendan Rodgers “embarrassed” by Leicester ahead of Liverpool trip

Days before their trip to Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers was left “embarrassed” by his Leicester side as they lost to Nottingham Forest, questioning the futures of many.

The most disappointing result of the Reds’ campaign remains the 1-0 loss to Leicester three days after Christmas, with a well-rested side falling to one stretched to their limits.

It was an abject display from Liverpool, and if they had secured the three points as expected before kickoff, the title race would have been alive and kicking, rather than a faint hope in the distance.

Since then, Jurgen Klopp‘s side have revived their fortunes and produced a seven-game unbeaten run, extended with a 3-1 win over Cardiff in the FA Cup.

Later in the day, Leicester fell to a 4-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest, despite Rodgers fielding many of his first-choice starters including Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Wilfred Ndidi.

“That’s the first time since I’ve been here that I was embarrassed,” Rodgers told BBC Sport after the game.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 22, 2021: Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates after scoring his side's second penalty of the shoot-out during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties after a 3-3 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In his post-match press conference, as reported by the Leicester Mercury, the former Liverpool manager added that “that’s why a lot of these players are not top players.”

“I always judge it on the physicality of the team, the pressing, the aggression. When you stop getting it, you can’t quite get there, your time could be up,” he said.

“There are a lot of these players, between now and the end of the season, who need to prove that they are still worthy of being here. Because we’ve seen it now for a little while.

“Forget about the players who are missing. There are players here that may have achieved everything that they can here. It’s not what I want to do.

“It’s something we’ll have to look at between now and the end of the season.

“Until then, they’ve got to have a look at themselves in the mirror and fight like hell to prove they’re good enough to be here.”

Brendan Rodgers, Leicester ((Mike Egerton/PA))

It doesn’t bode well for Leicester ahead of their visit to a vengeful Liverpool, who could even have Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane back in the fold after the Africa Cup of Nations final.

To publically question his players could, of course, go one of two ways for Rodgers: morale could dip even further and affect results, or it could spur them on to prove him wrong.

Leicester are struggling with injury problems ahead of Thursday night, too, with Jamie Vardy, Wesley Fofana, Jonny Evans, Timothy Castagne and Ryan Bertrand all sidelined.

Ricardo Pereira has returned to action, however, after breaking his leg under a challenge from Tyler Morton in the Foxes’ League Cup defeat at Anfield.