Leicester breathed new life into their Premier League survival bid as they ran out convincing 3-1 victors over Liverpool at the King Power Stadium on Monday.
- Leicester City 3 Liverpool 1
- Vardy brace inspires hosts
- Drinkwater also on the scoresheet
- Coutinho reduces the deficit
- Foxes climb out of relegation zone
The Foxes produced the perfect response to the sacking of Claudio Ranieri on Thursday as they went back to basics and scored twice in the first half through Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater.
Vardy added a third in the 60th minute to relieve the pressure on the East Midlands club, although Philippe Coutinho pulled one back for Jurgen Klopp's side 22 minutes from time to liven things up in the closing stages.
The first half belonged to Craig Shakespeare's men as they looked like the team that romped to the league title last season.
They threatened for the first time after seven minutes when Shinji Okazaki got on the end of Vardy's scuffed shot to test Simon Mignolet with a header from eight yards out.
Robert Huth should have done better after connecting with Marc Albrighton's corner in the 15th minute, but the German defender headed well over the crossbar.
The Foxes would break the deadlock from a trademark move on 28 minutes when Vardy was played through on goal by a delightful pass from Albrighton, and the England striker slotted past Mignolet at his near post from 13 yards out.
Coutinho had Liverpool's best chance of the first half on the half-hour mark as the ball was steered into his path by Wes Morgan, but Kasper Schmeichel denied the Brazilian from a tight angle on the left.
Mignolet was called into action again four minutes later to keep out Wilfred Ndidi at his near post after the Nigerian midfielder latched onto Vardy's backheel.
But there was nothing the Belgian keeper could do to prevent Drinkwater from doubling the hosts' lead on 39 minutes as he hit a first-time volley into the bottom-right corner from 22 yards out after pouncing on a weak clearance from the Reds.
Schmeichel then had to be alert in first-half stoppage time when Emre Can looked for the corner of the goal with a strike from outside the area that the Danish keeper tipped around the right post with one hand.
The visitors looked to get back into the contest in the second half and Coutinho got off a shot from 21 yards out that Schmeichel saved low to his right on 55 minutes after Morgan poked Roberto Firmino's pass straight to the Brazilian.
The Foxes put the game to bed on the hour mark as Christian Fuchs linked up well with Riyad Mahrez on the left before sending in a fine cross that was headed home by Vardy from eight yards out.
Still the Reds created chances as Joel Matip fired wide of the right post from distance on the right in the 63rd minute before Adam Lallana drew a save out of Schmeichel two minutes later with an effort from the edge of the box.
They did pull one back shortly afterwards when Can advanced towards the area from the left and slipped a square ball to Coutinho, who picked out the bottom-left corner of the net from just inside the box.
Fuchs looked for the spectacular on 77 minutes as he took a pop from 25 yards out, but his shot lacked the power to beat Mignolet, while Divock Origi forced a save out of Schmeichel moments later with a shot on the left that was parried around the left post.
Drinkwater then fired over from just inside the area on 79 minutes after being teed up by Mahrez, who carried the ball into the box from the right, before Lucas headed wide of the far post two minutes later after getting on the end of James Milner's cross on the right.
The Reds piled on the pressure in the closing stages, and Schmeichel was relived to see the ball go inches wide of the left post on 87 minutes after Coutinho fizzed in a low shot that deflected off the keeper.
However, Leicester stood firm at the back to claim their first win in the new year to move out of the bottom-three.