Leicester City’s 2nd preseason game is in the bag, ending in a 2-1 to Liverpool in the Premier League Asia Trophy final. The Foxes got off to a flying start, dominating the first 15-20 minutes, including an opening goal from Islam Slimani.
From there on, however, Liverpool really came back into the game, eventually equalising and taking the lead through great goals from Mohamed Saleh and Philippe Coutinho. The Reds dominated possession, and will have given us a great work out in the heat and humidity of Hong Kong, and there were a few lessons we can take away as well.
1) Maguire and Morgan still need time
Both team’s forwards came out looking stronger, but we should maybe expect that at this point. Attackers can play as individuals, whereas defenders need to get fit AND gel as a unit. It should take longer.
The likely opening day starters of Morgan, Maguire and Fuchs got a long run together and, in general, it looked pretty good. There were lapses and gaps left open, but these things should come in time. Maguire has certainly shown right away that he looks like a typical Leicester City style defender.
Harry Maguire looks good for Leicester. Solid, physical CB.— Brad (@_BradLFC) July 22, 2017
Harry Maguire is a cumbersome oaf.— Gray (@ninjagray) July 22, 2017
We’ll call that a mixed reception.
2) There’s a role for Slimani here
The club’s record signing has had plenty of stick for his performances last year and, for that money, some of it is certainly justified. Still, today he showed what happens when you give him good service: he scores, simple as.
He’s regularly criticised for not bringing as much to the rest of the game but, while his touch and link up play are certainly a long way short of Okazaki, he bring the same energy and works just as a hard. There’s definitely ways for Slimani to really help win games this year.
3) Coutinho and Fermino are better than Daniel Amartey
This one might not be so much learned as reaffirmed. It was a very tricky assignment for Amartey, so i wouldn't judge him too harshly, but he’s never been convincing as a fullback. Shakespeare has said he still wants to bring in a few more players and this is certainly an area I would target.
Shakespeare also added, when asked about new signings in the coming days "I'd like to add, maybe one or two or three"— BBC Leicester Sport (@BBCRLSport) July 22, 2017
4) King is not a number 10
Sorry Shane, please don’t fire me.
In the second half we tried a different shape with King coming into a midfield three with Iborra and Ndidi. It didn't really work. King is a good player, but he doesn't have the creativity to unpick a good defence by himself.
In fact, we relied almost entirely on Mahrez for our creativity out there and were pretty impotent without him. Gray is still to return of course and it’s early for others, but not a good sign considering the Algerian’s intention to leave.
CS says there is a chance Mahrez will stay. No second bid from Roma #LCFC— Rob Tanner (@RobTannerMerc) July 22, 2017
5) Lawrence and James are Premier League quality
These two both find themselves at the deep end of the squad and, as such, there’s rumours that they could be loaned out or sold. Neither really stood out as a fantastic performance, but they both had their moments and looked good enough to keep around. The most recent rumours for both, however, have inexplicably been of sales to Derby County.
You can see why a Championship team would want them, they both excelled at level on loan last year, but for me both have shown enough to be given a chance at least. If we sell Lawrence to Derby for £5m now, I’d expect him to head back to the Premier League in two years for three times the price.