Brendan Rodgers is worried by the depth of his Leicester City squad as they begin a marathon campaign at West Brom.
Leicester qualified for the Europa League last season, having fallen out of the Champions League places, and so now potentially face a long, hard season.
Rodgers acknowledged the extra fixtures mean the Foxes need to boost their squad in the transfer market.
And he does not yet believe the club have made the necessary moves, losing Ben Chilwell to Chelsea but signing Timothy Castagne as an apparent replacement.
A series of injury issues – including that of James Maddison, so costly last term – persist, too.
“We don’t [have a big enough squad],” Rodgers said. “Our idea this year was to improve. The players in this last season have shown many great moments. In order to improve, we need quality. In that last period, when we lost some of our players, in order to rotate, we didn’t have that depth.”
By contrast, West Brom are making progress in the transfer market.
Callum Robinson returned to the newly promoted club in the week leading up to the Leicester match, with Slaven Bilic then confirming the imminent arrival of Branislav Ivanovic on Friday.
“It’s the quality, of course – that is why we’re signing players, to improve our players – but also the experience, on and off the pitch,” Bilic said. “So it’s not only [Ivanovic] but him plus the influence he’s going to have, not only on the defenders but the whole squad.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
West Brom – Grady Diangana
Diangana’s West Ham departure sparked outrage among players and supporters at London Stadium, but West Brom are the beneficiaries. The winger sparkled in the Championship and now will look to prove his worth in the top flight.
Leicester City – Jamie Vardy
There will come a day when Leicester can no longer depend on Vardy, but for now, with a number of injury problems heading into the new campaign, he will again have to perform. The 33-year-old ended last season with the Golden Boot despite an up-and-down campaign.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Leicester have never won five consecutive away Premier League games against a single opponent, with their four straight wins up to now versus West Brom their joint-best such streak in the competition (also v Newcastle United in January 2020).
– West Brom have won their opening league match in three of the past four seasons (3-0-1), having won just twice in their previous 18 (2-6-10).
– Leicester have won their first Premier League match of the season in just one of their past 11 attempts (1-5-5), although that win came in their title-winning season in 2015-16 (4-2 against Sunderland).
– After collecting 24 points in an eight-game winning run between October and December 2019, Leicester won the same number of points in their final 22 Premier League matches of the 2019-20 season (6-6-10).
– Vardy has scored in all four of his away Premier League appearances against West Brom. The only player in Premier League history to play more away matches against an opponent and score in each match is Ruud van Nistelrooy at Newcastle (scored in all five).