Brendan Rodgers’ return to the Premier League ended in bitter disappointment as he lost his first game in charge of Leicester 2-1 at Watford.
Andre Gray scored an injury-time winner for the Hornets after Jamie Vardy had cancelled out Troy Deeney’s early opener.
Here, Football Paradise takes a more detailed look at Rodgers.
Back in the big time
It is 1,247 days since Rodgers last managed in the Premier League and he probably cannot help but smile at the irony of it. It was a 1-1 draw at Everton that cost him his Liverpool job in October 2015 and his return to the big time comes on the same day as a Merseryside derby at Goodison Park. Liverpool have yet to win any silverware since his departure, while he filled his boots at Celtic, winning seven trophies at Parkhead. Vicarage Road was also a fitting place for his first game in charge as his management career began with the Hornets in 2008 when he guided them to Championship safety before leaving for Reading.
The Watford fans were in no hurry to forget Rodgers’ defection to the Royals a decade ago as they resoundingly booed his name when it was read out before the game, before informing their former manager that they thought ‘Javi Gracia, he’s better than you’. His reception from the travelling fans was warmer as they also chanted his name in more positive terms, but the lasting sound will be the chorus of boos he received from three sides of the ground as he went on to the pitch at the end of the game to applaud Leicester’s fans.
Rodgers did not take too much time to put his marker down on how he wants Leicester to play as he deployed a 3-4-3 formation that became 5-4-1 out of possession. Wes Morgan came into a three-man defence, with Demarai Gray the man to miss out from the midweek win over Brighton. Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell pushed up into wing-back roles, with Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi sitting in the midfield. Harvey Barnes and James Maddison supported Vardy in attack. They played a possession-based game, hoping to find Barnes and Maddison in space but failed to do so. In the end, it was a classic Leicester-style goal as a gap was found in the opposition defence that found Vardy who coolly slotted home the equaliser.
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