Peter sits down with Matt Cheetham to discuss the upcoming fixture
Hi Matt, can you please sum up Leicester’s season so far please?
Hi. It’s been a real rollercoaster so far. A great opening performance against Arsenal, then it fell apart for a bit and we were flirting with the relegation zone. Change of manager, some great performances and results to get us into the top half and then a little spell where we haven’t quite been able to click – 1 draw and 3 defeats in our last 4 games.
What are your thoughts on your new manager Claude Puel?
He’s made an impressive start, we look much better going forwards and he has reinvigorated Mahrez (although perhaps the imminent January transfer window has also done that). Southampton’s problems are clearly deeper than one manager and if you look at his long career in France he has had success with some “smaller” clubs like Leicester at Monaco, Lille, Nice and Lyon.
Were you surprised to see Ranieri leave Leicester last season?
It was a very sad end to the fairytale season and every Leicester fan would agree. He was gracious till the end: my brother went round his house the night he was fired to drop off a thank you card and Ranieri opened the door and had a chat with him. All he said about it was “that’s football”, and that sums it up, it’s a brutal business.
What positions do you think you should strengthen your squad in January?
We already have our first signing: Adrien Silva who signed 14 seconds too late for the August window so we are looking forward to seeing him at last (in the number 14 shirt). Otherwise I think a centre back and potentially right back cover would be top of my list for the next two windows, along with giving Mahrez whatever he wants to stay.
Who has been your stand out player this season?
Mahrez, Vardy and Albrighton have been playing as well as they did in the Premier League season and Iborra and Ndidi have steadied a midfield that’s been picked apart by Chelsea. However Harry Maguire has been an outstanding signing: good no nonsense defender and gets the odd the goal but watch his skills on the ball and passing – he loves driving forward from defence of hanging around the box after corners. Fun to watch even if he does lose the ball occasionally.
Score prediction and why?
I think a repeat of the last league fixture in September: 3-2 Liverpool. Liverpool’s attack scares me especially against immobile centre halves like Morgan however we can also score goals and hopefully some dodgy Liverpool defending can see us nick a couple.