Leicester City 2, Liverpool 0: Sublime Vardy keeps Foxes clear at Premier League summit

Ross McLean
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Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri hailed prolific hitman Jamie Vardy’s wonder strike before reiterating his message to fellow title challengers that his side are free from pressure following last night’s dismantling of Liverpool.

Premier League top scorer Vardy dealt an opening blow to the Reds with a sublime 25-yard half-volley from Riyad Mahrez’s exquisite pass before applying the knockout punch by turning home Shinji Okazaki’s deflected shot from close range.

Vardy’s double, which takes his top-flight tally for the season to 18, maintained Leicester’s three point lead at the league’s summit, while a trip to second-placed Manchester City lies in wait on Saturday.

“Amazing. The first goal was unbelievable,” said former Chelsea boss Ranieri. “Jamie is very fast and can create a lot but it was unbelievable how Mahrez found him and how he had the time to see the keeper out of the goal and scored a fantastic goal.

“The team is in good condition. Now it is important to recover the energy because we have to run a lot against Manchester City. We are free of pressure. The players have a good feeling.”

With successive fixtures against Liverpool, City and Arsenal, Leicester passed the first hurdle expertly. Mignolet had denied Mahrez and Okazaki before Vardy, who is set to sign a new three-and-a-half year contract with the Foxes, stole the show in stunning fashion.

He allowed Mahrez’s forward pass to bounce before sending a majestic half-volley over Mignolet on the hour mark, while 11 minutes later he wrapped up maximum points. Defeat left Liverpool eighth in the league, 11 points behind Arsenal.