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Leicester City-Southampton Preview

Brendan Rodgers will continue to push his Leicester City side and they have Manchester United in their sights ahead of the trip to Southampton.

The Foxes are again in the Champions League chase this season, although last term they faded down the home straight and finished fifth. Victory over Crystal Palace on Monday brought qualification into view, however, with Leicester seven points clear of fifth-placed West Ham with five games to play.

And Rodgers' FA Cup finalists are only five points behind Manchester United in second, who they still have to play.

"Up until this point, it's been really good," Rodgers said ahead of Friday's game against Saints. "But it's not the time to soften up. We're level on points with last season, but we want to finish as high as we can and finish with a trophy.

"We've got a really good team and the mentality is strong. We want to give it everything we can. Our idea is to try to catch United if we can."

Leicester beat Southampton in their cup semi-final earlier in April and will be confident of a repeat against a team struggling in the league. The Saints sit in 15th place with two wins in their last 15 league games.

"The target is clear; we want to have a much better average of points because recent performances are not what we showed in the first half of the season," manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said. "Yes, we had some injuries, but we have to find the quality to win these tight games where we are good in the game but don't take the points in the end.

"It's important against the strong sides to show we that we can also do things better."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Southampton – Jannik Vestergaard

Southampton's defensive record has been particularly poor of late, their miserable stretch of two wins in 15 matches including only one clean sheet – against basement side Sheffield United. Vestergaard was the subject of plenty of praise early in the season but must now step up again. Saints know how dangerous Leicester can be.

Leicester City – Ayoze Perez

Kelechi Iheanacho has been Leicester's star man of late and Jamie Vardy is always a threat, but Perez has an impressive record against Saints. He has more Premier League goals in meetings with Southampton (seven) than with any other side, including hat-tricks for both Newcastle United and the Foxes.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Southampton have lost their past three Premier League home games against Leicester by an aggregate score of 15-2. Their 9-0 defeat in this fixture last season is the biggest home defeat by any side in English top-flight history.

- Leicester won the reverse fixture 2-0 in January but have not done the double over Southampton in the Premier League since the 1999-00 campaign.

- Southampton have lost twice to Leicester already this season, 2-0 in the league and 1-0 in the FA Cup. The last time they lost three times to the same opponent in a season was against Chelsea in 2017-18, while the last time they did so without scoring was against Derby County in 1997-98.

- Saints have taken just 10 points from their 16 Premier League games so far in 2021 (W3 D1 L12), fewer than any other side this calendar year. Hasenhuttl's side have lost 12 of their past 15 league games (W2 D1), a run which began with defeat against Leicester.

- Southampton have dropped more points from winning positions than any other Premier League side this season (21). At home they have dropped a league-high 14 points, failing to win as many games when scoring first as they have won (W5 D1 L4).