Leicester City’s Champions League aspirations suffered a major blow with the news full-back James Justin will require surgery on an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Justin hurt his knee in Leicester’s FA Cup win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday and was taken off on a stretcher.
Manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed the severity of the injury in Friday’s pre-match media conference ahead of their Premier League meeting with Liverpool.
“Sadly the scan hasn’t shown up so well, which is a massive blow for us,” Rodgers said.
“He looks like he’s done his ACL, which is a devastating blow for us because he’s been incredible since he came into the team last year.
“He’s played in many positions. Wherever I’ve asked him to play, whatever position, he’s been a minimum eight out of 10 and developing as a top Premier League player.”
— James Justin (@jamesjustin98) February 12, 2021
Rodgers’ words are supported by the Opta data, with Justin clearly emerging as one of the better attacking full-backs in the league and among Leicester’s top outlets going forward.
Justin has created 20 chances in the league this season, level with attacking midfielder Harvey Barnes and behind only James Maddison, who has crafted double that amount in an excellent campaign, among Leicester players.
The gap between Maddison and Justin in chances created from open play is significantly closer. Maddison still has the edge, but only by a 24-19 margin.
Marc Albrighton (5) is the only Leicester player to set up more ‘big chances’ for his team-mates than Justin (4).
Only one of Justin’s chances created has resulted in an assist, though his proficiency in starting attacks is illustrated by his accuracy on passes into the final third.
He has been successful with 74 per cent of such passes, second only to Maddison (75).
Among Premier League defenders who have played at least 10 games, Justin has created the 12th-most chances and the fifth-most big chances.
Just seven defenders have generated more chances from open play, Joao Cancelo leading the way with (30), while seven defenders have a higher number of passes into the final third than Justin’s 312.
Leicester will face the top two players in that regard, Andrew Robertson (577) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (508), when they welcome Liverpool to the King Power Stadium on Saturday.