Football | Vardy thriving under Rodgers at Leicester

The Foxes are flying.

Leicester City continued their superb start to the season with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Newcastle on Sunday, their biggest top-flight win since 1987.

The five-goal hammering lifts Leicester up to third in the Premier League table on 14 points, with only Liverpool and Manchester City producing a better return after seven matches.

Indeed, only the Reds (49) and City (43) have recorded more points in the league than the Foxes’ 31 since Brendan Rodgers replaced Claude Puel at the King Power Stadium.

Ricardo Pereira gave the hosts the lead against the Magpies on Sunday, before Newcastle lost Isaac Hayden to a red card after 43 minutes.

Goals from Jamie Vardy (two), a Paul Dummett own goal and a late strike from Wilfred Ndidi condemned Steve Bruce’s visitors to their fourth league defeat of the season.

After his brace, Vardy has now scored 10 goals at the King Power Stadium in 2019, a return bettered only by Sadio Mane at Anfield (14) and Sergio Aguero at the Etihad (12).

Mane (20) and Aguero (18) are also the only two players in the entire league to score more goals in 2019.

The former England international’s double takes him to 14 goals in 17 appearances since Rodgers took charge of the Foxes.

No player in the league can better that tally over the same period.

Vardy was publicly critical of Puel’s style, and how it failed to get the best from him, but he can no complaints about Rodgers’ impact.

The 32-year-old has scored five goals in seven games this season, and is thriving under Rodgers’ attacking philosophy.

His second goal against Newcastle was his 85th in the Premier League, which lifts him one above Cristiano Ronaldo in the all-time goalscoring list, and draws him level with Fernando Torres.

What’s remarkable is that Vardy usually averages only around 20 touches per game this season. He is being instructed to do what he does best; lurk on the shoulder of the last defender and stretch opposition defences with his frightening pace and clever movement.

Rodgers has always been good at getting the most out of creative players, and with the likes of James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez in the Foxes squad, Vardy isn’t short of players who can supply him.

It was Barnes who teed up Vardy for the English striker’s first goal against Newcastle, with Vardy firing a low left-footed shot past Martin Dubravka at the near post.

Substitute Marc Albrighton found Vardy’s head with a pinpoint cross for Leicester’s fourth (and Vardy’s second) goal of the day.

Leicester may have won a Premier League title in the last five years, but their aim moving forward will be to upset the established top six.

They suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier this season, but inflicted a 2-1 defeat on struggling Spurs.

Next up is a tricky visit to league leaders Liverpool, who have collected maximum points from their opening seven league matches.

“We know it’s a big ask because of all the other clubs that have been regulars there,” Rodgers said after the win over Newcastle.

“We are only really focusing on how we play, looking at our performance levels.”

Vardy has enjoyed plenty of success against the Reds in past meetings, and will be eager to test himself against Virgil van Dijk and his defensive companions.

His record against the top six is hugely impressive, and he will need to maintain his impressive goalscoring feats if Leicester are to upset the big boys come May.

Every elite team needs an elite striker.

Leicester have one in Vardy.