December 29, 2017 / 4:54 AM / 4 months ago

Soccer: Klopp praises Leicester transformation under Puel

(Reuters) - Claude Puel has made Leicester City more efficient while still retaining their identity as a ruthless counter-attacking team, Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp said of his Foxes counterpart ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash at Anfield.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Southampton vs Leicester City - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - December 13, 2017 REUTERS/Toby Melville

Frenchman Puel has led Leicester to five wins and three draws in 11 games since taking charge in October, adding possession play and crisp passing to Leicester’s counter-punching DNA.

Klopp is well aware of Leicester’s progress and pointed to striker Jamie Vardy’s brilliant goal in last week’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United as an example of the fluid interplay between their attackers.

“We didn’t make the analysis so far but I saw the Manchester United game — they really play football now. They are still a wonderful counter-attacking team,” Klopp told the club’s website. (www.liverpoolfc.com)

“The first goal they scored against United was, ‘wow’, a fantastic pass from (Demarai) Gray and (Riyad) Mahrez was in behind waiting for Vardy. It looks quite easy.

“They are fine-tuned and a good football-playing side. That may be the biggest change since Claude Puel was in.”

Liverpool are fourth in the league and looking to reduce a four-point gap between themselves and third-placed Chelsea but Klopp is expecting a difficult game against eighth-placed Leicester.

“It will be a tough challenge again. This period in the year is really tough for all of us and you need to be ready. I like that, actually.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien

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