A smiling Jamie Vardy reckoned he had never scored a finer goal than the blistering long-distance volley which helped Leicester City's footballing fantasy enter ever more surreal territory on Tuesday.
A smiling Jamie Vardy reckoned he had never scored a finer goal than the blistering long-distance volley which helped Leicester City’s footballing fantasy enter ever more surreal territory on Tuesday.
In front of England manager Roy Hodgson, Jamie Vardy, who keeps pushing his Euro 2016 claims with such elan, scored both goals in Leicester’s 2-0 win over Liverpool, a win which keeps them three points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
Yet it was his extraordinary opening goal on the hour, a thunderous, dipping 25-yard shot taken on the run and on the bounce over the head of the flailing Simon Mignolet that left Hodgson, along with the Foxes’ faithful, laughing in incredulity.
“Unbelievable,” Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri called it, while Juergen Klopp, the Liverpool counterpart, could only sigh: “It was a world-class goal.”
Even Vardy had to concede on Sky Sports: “To be fair, I don’t think I’ve scored a better goal than that. But a goal’s a goal and, more importantly, it’s three points for the club.”
It was the result of a well-conceived plan too. “I’d been looking all game and he (Mignolet) was quite far off his line and so as soon as Riyad (Mahrez) played the ball through and it’s bounced quite high and I’ve got no support, I thought I’d take my chance. Luckily, it’s gone over the top of him.”
Twelve minutes later, Vardy wrapped up the key victory with his 18th goal of the season from close range to cap another vibrant individual performance that can only have buoyed Hodgson as he mulls his options.
“It’s always brilliant to have him watching — hopefully I’ve put on another good performance in front of him,” Vardy enthused.
With each performance like this, Leicester will become ever more keen to secure Vardy’s long-term future at the club amid media reports that he is on the verge of signing a new contract. “I’d like to be here for a long time,” he said.
The victory sets up a top-of-the-table clash for Leicester against Manchester City, three points adrift, on Saturday.
“We are free of pressure. The players have a good feeling,” Ranieri said, while midfielder Danny Drinkwater, when asked if Leicester could win the league, told the BBC: “It’s not a coincidence we’re top of the table.
“This is team spirit at its highest. We won’t stop believing. If we carry on the way we are then why not have the belief? It would go down in history surely.”