James Justin to miss rest of the season after suffering ACL injury

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Leicester’s James Justin has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a serious knee injury.

The defender was carried off in Wednesday’s 1-0 FA Cup win over Brighton and has damaged his anterior cruciate ligament.

Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers was hopeful the problem was not too serious immediately after the game but scans have shown the severity of the injury.

“The scan hasn’t shown up so well. It looks like he has done his ACL which is a devastating blow for us because he has been incredible,” said Rodgers.

“He was walking about after the game and we hoped he would be OK but you have to wait to get the scan.

“He was upset yesterday because he has been so robust for me. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have been too far away from Gareth’s (Southgate) thoughts.

“He is in London with our doctor and trying to get the expertise and the next step. He is tough mentally and he’ll come back a better player for it.

“We have had it with Ricardo Pereira recently, he has come back fitter and stronger and getting his game time up. That will be a source of inspiration.

“Wherever I have asked him to play and whatever position he has been a minimum of 8/10 and has been developing as a top Premier League player.”

Justin will now miss England Under-21s’ Euro 2021 campaign in Hungary and Slovenia with the group phase held next month.

He has made 48 appearances for the Foxes, scoring four goals, since a move from Luton in 2019.

Dennis Praet, Wesley Fofana and Timothy Castagne are also out with hamstring injuries along with Wes Morgan (back).

The Foxes will go six points clear of Liverpool with victory over the defending champions at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

They are third in the Premier League, a place above their visitors, after one defeat in their last 10 top flight games.

Rodgers said: “I don’t think it’ll define where we’ll finish but it’s the next game and against the champions. It’s another game to measure our progress. We have had a few games where they have been good and others not so (against Liverpool).

“We have given away poor goals in some of the games against Liverpool and if we can cut them out and play with the quality and aggression we have been we’re hopeful it’ll be another good performance against a top team.”

Rodgers hopes victory against his former side will provide further evidence of Leicester’s progress.

He is yet to beat Jurgen Klopp, who replaced him at Anfield in 2015, but wants to prove the Foxes’ pedigree.

“I thought we were unfortunate when we lost 2-1 there last season, when we lost in injury time on my first visit back,” he said. “I thought we did well on the day. They got a penalty which was dubious.

“There’ve been other games where they’ve clearly been the better team and you have to hold your hand up.

“You have to keep chipping away, they’re an outstanding team for a reason, they play in the big games and play well for a reason.

“For us it’s just step-by-step, our results against the top teams this season have been very good in the main so, this is another challenge for us, can we go and make the next step?”

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