Leicester City caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare said he is ready to take on the role full-time after overseeing an impressive 3-1 win against Liverpool in his first game on Monday.
Shakespeare was promoted from his role as assistant following Claudio Ranieri’s sensational dismissal on Thursday last week, nine months on from Leicester’s 5,000-1 English Premier League title triumph.
Leicester looked a team reborn on Monday, prevailing through Jamie Vardy’s first-half brace and a sweet Danny Drinkwater strike, and Shakespeare said the experience had whetted his appetite.
“Do I think I’m capable of it? Yes. Does it faze me? No, but it’s the owners who decide and they’ll do their diligence and look. I think it’ll take its course,” he told reporters at the King Power Stadium when asked if he wanted the job. “They’ll sit down, and I’ll try and prepare the team as rightly as I can for Hull [City] unless told otherwise.”
Ranieri might have gone, but Leicester’s faithful showed the much-loved 65-year-old Italian he would not be forgotten.
Several fans brandished banners thanking him and there was a coordinated smartphone light show in his honor in the 65th minute, accompanied by chants of his name.
Asked what Ranieri would have made of Leicester’s dramatic return to form, Shakespeare replied: “Knowing Claudio, he’ll say: ‘That’s football.’”
“The performance you saw tonight, I saw it against Man City [who Leicester beat 4-2 in December last year]. We have done it, but not often enough,” he said.
Leicester, who host second-bottom Hull City on Saturday, had lost their previous five league games and were the last team in Europe’s five major leagues to find the net this calendar year.
The weekend’s results had seen Leicester slip into the bottom three, but they moved up to 15th place, two points clear of the relegation zone.
Liverpool would have gone third with a victory, but they remain in fifth place and now trail leaders Chelsea by 14 points.
Beaten manager Juergen Klopp said his players had been told to expect an “emotional” display from Leicester and there was no excuse for the passivity of their display.
“We knew how Leicester would play — go back to their roots,” said the German, whose side welcome fourth-placed Arsenal to Anfield on Saturday. “We could have done much better. We let them be the Leicester of last year — that’s our fault. We should get criticized. This inconsistency makes absolutely no sense.”
Liverpool have won only two and lost six of their 12 games this year and Klopp accepted both he and his players were under heavy scrutiny.
“We all play for our future, myself included,” he said. “We get judged every day, especially on match days and of course performances have influences on these things. I don’t think they [the players] are not as good as I thought they were, but I think they need my help more to show it every week.”
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