BRENDAN RODGERS has pencilled in Leicester’s February 13 showdown with title rivals Liverpool as the Reds letter-day for Jamie Vardy’s return.
After briefly topping the Premier League in midweek, the Foxes suffered a sickening blow yesterday when Rodgers confirmed his 34-year-old Golden Boot winning striker will be out for ‘a few weeks’ to have surgery on his hernia.
Jamie Vardy should be back when Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester face LiverpoolCredit: Getty
Rodgers and his medical team have gambled tackling the problem now could pay off if in the long-run if Vardy returns by February 13, when Jurgen Klopp’s champs are in town for a heavyweight Saturday lunchtime clash.
“It will just depend on the recovery period,” said Rodgers. “It’s not a major operation, just a minor one.
“It could be earlier than two weeks but we’re thinking on a rough guess that’s what it will be.
“We’ve been putting it off. We were looking at doing it in the last international break but unfortunately we couldn’t and it had to change at the last minute.
“Jamie’s obviously been in pain while training and we’ve de-loaded his training to get him ready for games. This was the point we felt we had to get it done so we could benefit for the remainder of the season.
“Until then we’ll have to carry on without him.”
2016 champions Leicester have emerged as serious contenders in the most open title race in years, with the top seven clubs only separated by eight points.
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Vardy scored 23 goals last season to win the Premier League’s Golden Boot.
Ironically Rodgers confirmed his injury minutes after Pep Guardiola revealed Manchester City would be without Kevin De Bruyne for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury, while Liverpool have struggled without long-term casualty Virgil Van Dijk for most of their campaign.
Rodgers tried to put a brave face on it and insisted: “We’ve played without Jamie before and scored goals and won games.
“But when you don’t have one of the top strikers in the league available it’s obviously disappointing. However we’ve already had long periods without key players and managed to find results.
“This is our best chance of getting Jamie his operation and then getting him back for what will be a huge part of the season.”