A thrilling 9-0 was never going to be emulated against Burton Albion but Leicester City did manage a third of that tally to progress to the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup, where they play Everton.
It was a major chance for some of the fringe players to place themselves back in the conversation for a starting place. James Justin, Christian Fuchs, Hamza Choudhury, Dennis Praet, Marc Albrighton, Demarai Gray and Kelechi Iheanacho all got their chance but not all of them could take it.
The better performances came from Fuchs, Praet, Albrighton, Gray and Iheanacho. Fuchs has consistently performed when asked upon, especially during Ben Chilwell’s absence earlier in the season.
His composure and assurance on the ball injects confidence into the rest of the team. He doesn’t carry the same levels of stamina that allowed him to be an integral part of the title-winning campaign, but as cover to Chilwell, there’s not many better options at the moment.
Praet had another solid performance in the midfield. He is arguably the Foxes’ best box-to-box midfielder, as he naturally pushes offensively and defensively in tandem, unlike Youri Tielemans who is more committed to attacking.
The return of Leicester’s characteristic 4-1-4-1 also allowed Albrighton to play in his strongest position. The role of a standard wide midfielder who is almost a secondary full-back suits Albrighton’s skill set perfectly. He was unfortunate to not grab a goal.
Gray, meanwhile, had a frustrating evening. He’s become a rotational player and he did show why on Tuesday. Despite bagging an assist for James Maddison’s goal in the 89th minute, he was disappointing.
Iheanacho was just as brilliant. The Nigerian international played with a level of confidence that you would associate with a striker who is fully in form and playing week-in week-out.
He looked competent in possession, offered good service in the build-up and by held his position well, allowing both wingers to have space out wide by occupying both the central defenders. This meant that when the wingers beat their respective full-backs, they had space to deliver a quality ball into the box, which is why all three goals came from cutbacks from the by-line.
The eventual outcome, however, did paper over the cracks. Leicester struggled defensively, against a team that has not been doing particularly well as far as attacking goes.
The closing stages of the first-half started to outline issues for Leicester and it continued into the second-half. The visitors started the game well, they slowly began to tail-off and allowed the Brewers back into the game.
Justin was targeted on the right side of Leicester’s defence. The game wasn’t one of Justin’s best – his defensive awareness of the space in behind him wasn’t great – and he remained a good source of chances for the League One side until Leicester City’s third goal.
Did the fringe players offer enough? Will Brendan Rodgers start dropping some of the players who were not up to the mark against Burton as the latter stages draw closer or will he stick with them over the course of the entire competition?
Lots of questions to answer in the coming weeks.