By Ian Parker, PA
Brendan Rodgers expects to have money to spend in the January transfer window but has backed his current squad to pull Leicester into the top half of the table.
After a dismal start to the season, the Foxes had built some momentum by winning six out of seven in all competitions going into the World Cup break, but they again need to a find a spark after losing back-to-back games since the Premier League returned.
The latest setback came against Liverpool on Friday night, when two own goals from Wout Faes in the space of seven minutes saw Leicester relinquish an early lead to lose 2-1 at Anfield.
Faes was the club’s only summer signing aside from back-up goalkeeper Alex Smithies, and the shallowness of the squad has been exposed this term as Leicester have been hit by a succession of injuries.
Rodgers offered hope that reinforcements might be on their way in the coming weeks, but insisted Leicester have the quality to haul themselves up the table.
“I don’t have any doubt about the squad, the team, they’re great guys,” Rodgers said. “They have always done that, they are an honest group. Whatever they lack in quality they certainly have always made up in effort and endevaour…
“Where a club like ourselves are at, we don’t have luxuries when one or two are missing but the guys gave everything (at Anfield).
“It’s a very difficult league. It is not all about money but if you’re going to progress you have to be able to bring in players. If you stand still, others overtake you.
“For us, these guys are working so hard and developing really well. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall is only going to get better, Harvey Barnes and all these guys are developing. You want to continually develop the squad. Hopefully we can do that. Otherwise it’s a very, very difficult league.
“I think there will be a little bit of money to spend in the areas we want to, so we feel we can do that.”
There was no change in Leicester’s fortune on the injury front on Friday, with Patson Daka forced off early on with a hamstring problem that Rodgers expects to rule him out of Tuesday’s match against Fulham.
Rodgers also confirmed that veteran defender Jonny Evans, whose reassuring presence has been missed at the back, is not expected to return for another month.
“Jonny will be (out) probably into February,” he said. “Speaking to the medical team it looks like it will be longer than we thought, so probably early February…
“(The number of injuries) is unfortunate. It’s something we just have to deal with and when a player misses out it is an opportunity for someone else. It’s the nature of the season, players coming back, you see it so we just have to manage that.”
Although Leicester suffered defeat at Anfield, Rodgers was much happier with his side’s performance after the disappointment of their 3-0 home defeat to Newcastle a few days earlier.
Dewsbury-Hall had fired Leicester into an early lead, and they had more opportunities to punish mistakes in the Liverpool defence before Faes’ own goals changed the game.
“We lose the game and you’re never happy to lose but it was more like us,” he said.
“That was unexpected, our start against Newcastle, and it was a real disappointment but we have come (to Liverpool), shown a really good reaction. I don’t think anyone can argue we shouldn’t take something from the game and we had spells in the game where we played some good football.
“Now we are moving into 2023 so we want to get ourselves into the top half of the league as quickly as we can and once you do that then you can look forward. Now it’s about looking to win our next game.”