sport news How Brendan Rodgers has made Leicester a force again since taking over the reins

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If Liverpool and Leicester win their matches this weekend, Leicester will be above Manchester City in the table with nearly a third of the season gone. 

In less than nine months, a team drifting under Claude Puel has become one of the most impressive in the country. 

It is not difficult to see the catalyst: since the appointment of Brendan Rodgers as manager last February, the club has been on a steep upward curve. 

Here, Sportsmail looks at the secrets behind the revolution.

Brendan Rodgers has brought a smile back to Leicester after a poor spell under Claude Puel

Brendan Rodgers has brought a smile back to Leicester after a poor spell under Claude Puel

Management

When Rodgers arrived with his trusted lieutenants — assistant Chris Davies, first-team coaches Kolo Toure and Adam Sadler, head physiotherapist Dave Rennie and head of fitness Matt Reeves — last February, he delivered a presentation to the players about exactly what was expected of them. 

It seems he is getting the balance right: midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, one of many who has thrived under Rodgers, describes him as a 'friend, father, boss'. 

Rodgers is keen on individual coaching, too, and has spent considerable time with James Maddison — one of the league's best midfielders this season — working on his tactical discipline and individual pressing. 

Speak to anyone at Leicester about the change in environment since Rodgers replaced Claude Puel in February and one phrase is repeated – 'high standards'. 

Players are given every chance to succeed but if they are not deemed to be working as hard as possible, they will soon be shown the door. 'You always try to create a culture where anyone can improve, whether it's young or old players,' says Rodgers. 

'It's there for you if you want to improve and we'll work our damnedest to make you better. If you want to do it you'll improve. If not you won't be here anyway.'

Rodgers brought Kolo Toure (second left) and Chris Davies (far left) with him to the club

Rodgers brought Kolo Toure (second left) and Chris Davies (far left) with him to the club

Tactics

Like many managers of his generation, Rodgers is a devotee of the Barcelona/Dutch school of football advanced by Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff. 

One of the former Liverpool and Celtic boss' key ideas is the 'counter press' and he demands the ball be won back before the opposition have completed four passes. To hone this skill, Leicester do rapid exercises where a point is awarded to the circle of six players when they complete four passes, and one to the two in the middle if they win it back before this has been achieved. 

The size of the pitch is altered through the week to suit different exercises. Rodgers believes strongly in 4-3-3 but wants his players to be flexible enough to drift between that and 4-1-4-1 – with Ndidi as the holding midfielder and Vardy the lone forward – or 4-5-1. 

The 46-year-old will indulge creative players, like Philippe Coutinho, James Forrest and Maddison, but not at the expense of the needs of the team. 

Leicester's full backs are a potent attacking weapon – Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell can often be found in the opposition penalty area and the results are proof it is working. Pereira has scored twice this term, while Chilwell has a goal and three assists.

Ricardo Pereira (left) and Ben Chilwell (right) are vital when it comes to creating attacks

Ricardo Pereira (left) and Ben Chilwell (right) are vital when it comes to creating attacks

Preparation

At present, Leicester are at a significant

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