Brendan Rodgers has dismissed the “lazy” assumption that Leicester City can’t cope without Jamie Vardy as they head to Everton without their star striker.
After a hernia operation, Vardy will spend the next three or four fixtures cheering City from home while the club try to strengthen their top-four bid.
Critics of City have accused the club of being overly-reliant on their number nine, with their form sure to dip without him leading their line.
However, Rodgers said “digging a little deeper” would show that is far from true.
The numbers this season back up Rodgers’ point, with Vardy scoring just 13 of City’s 56 goals across all competitions. In fact, Harvey Barnes (10) and James Maddison (9) have both scored more goals from open play than Vardy (6), with the majority of his strikes coming from the penalty spot.
Rodgers said: “You also have to respect the other players, we all know Jamie’s qualities and what he gives the team whether he’s scoring or not scoring. We understand that, but you have to respect the development of the rest of the squad.
“The numbers are there to look at. It can be lazy to say: ‘Jamie Vardy’s out, Leicester won’t score.’
“There’s enough evidence to show that’s not quite true. Whether that was an issue before, I’ve always tried to work on the collective to make sure it doesn’t hamper us so much.
“The problem is when there are a number of players out in key positions, that can affect the performance level and you have to work hard to cope with that.
“But otherwise, with Jamie out for a small period of time, we’re missing that real direct threat on the last line, but you saw from the team at Brentford, we can still penetrate and get in behind through different avenues and get players into goal-scoring positions. We have enough quality to get us goals.
“If people dig a little deeper, they would see it’s not the case. We’ve scored 56 goals up until now and 43 of them have come from other players. That tells you that other players here are capable of scoring goals.
“Maybe that doesn’t get looked at sometimes. Maybe we need to try a different narrative.
“That’s taking nothing away from Jamie, we all know what I think of him and the love I have for his game. He’s an amazing striker, but my job is to make sure the collective doesn’t suffer.”
In Vardy’s place, Rodgers is set to choose between Ayoze Perez and Kelechi Iheanacho at Goodison Park. The pair have scored five goals between them this season, but just once in the Premier League.