Brendan Rodgers says it will be a “big ask” for to finish in a spot – despite continuing their strong start to the season with a thumping win over Newcastle.

Jamie Vardy scored twice as Leicester demonstrated potential to secure a top-four finish by recording their biggest win to move back up to third in the table.

The 2015-16 champions are three points clear of both and Tottenham, who finished third and fourth respectively last season.

Yet Rodgers played down his side’s chances of finishing in the top four, and said: “It’s very early in the season.

“We know it’s a big ask because of all the other clubs that have been regulars there. We are only really focusing on how we play, looking at our performance levels.”

Newcastle are anchored in the relegation zone after Leicester took full advantage of Isaac Hayden’s straight red card for a terrible tackle on fellow midfielder Dennis Praet by running riot.

Leicester were already leading through Ricardo Pereira’s outstanding low finish before the hosts made the extra man advantage count with three goals in 10 second-half minutes.

Vardy beat Martin Dubravka at his near post to double the lead and, after Paul Dummett had deflected Praet’s cross into his own net to make it 3-0, headed the fourth.

On a shocking day for Newcastle, Wilfred Ndidi added a late fifth goal with a shot on the turn.

Rodgers’ side, who started the weekend third but dropped to fifth following Saturday’s games, are two points off second-placed and seven behind leaders , who they visit next Saturday.

Leicester thriving under Rodgers

Rodgers will have a spring in his step when he makes his first return to Anfield since being sacked by in 2015.

This was Leicester’s 10th – and almost certainly easiest – top-flight win in 18 games since they announced his appointment in February.

“I’ll give my life to make the supporters proud of this club,” said Rodgers on the day he was unveiled as Leicester’s fourth permanent boss in 23 months.

Rejuvenated and full of energy, they have been transformed by the former Celtic manager who took over a team drained of confidence and starved of wins seven months ago.

Only and have accumulated more points than Leicester since Rodgers’ appointment, and Newcastle can count themselves fortunate not to have been on the end of an even heavier drubbing.

Leicester produced a clinical performance and scored from all five of their shots on target.

Portugal defender Pereira’s second goal in as many top-flight games set the tone for an utterly dominant performance – the former Porto player starting the move inside his own half before finishing after a neat one-two with former Newcastle player Ayoze Perez.

After Hayden’s red card, Leicester swarmed their opponents yet Dubravka should have kept out Vardy’s first goal.

Dummett’s own goal added to Newcastle’s woes yet Leicester were not done as Vardy was left unmarked to make it 4-0 with a close-range header before Ndidi piled on the embarrassment for the visitors.

Problems mounting for Bruce

Newcastle started the weekend in 17th spot but end it rooted in the bottom three after a spineless performance devoid of fight and character.

Steve Bruce talked about “a huge challenge” when he was appointed head coach in the summer yet, just seven games in, the problems are piling up.

Bruce already knew before this game his side had serious issues in front of goal after scoring just four times in six matches – as many as they managed in the last match under Rafael Benitez in May.

Not only did they fail to find the net against Leicester, they did not muster a single shot on target.

With the game goalless, Hayden’s shot from distance almost found Yoshinori Muto in a scoring position, while – one goal since December 2017 – lifted another attempt over the bar.

Hayden did his side no favours with his out-of-control challenge, while Dubravka’s failure to stop Vardy from scoring Leicester’s second left the visitors demoralised with more than half an hour remaining.

While Perez – Newcastle’s leading scorer in the last season – is thriving at Leicester, the goals have dried up for the Magpies.

They invested a club record £40m in the summer to sign ian striker Joelinton yet he has found the net once, as many times as Netherlands defender Jetro Willems who joined on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt.

It does not get any easier for Bruce or Newcastle. After next Sunday’s home game with Manchester United, their first game after the international break is at on 19 October.

Man of the match – Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester)

Wilfred Ndidi

‘No complaints about red card’ – what they said

boss Brendan Rodgers: “It was an outstanding performance and result. Going down to 10 men can work for or against you but I thought how the players dealt with that and managed the game was outstanding.

“In the second half the players showed a wonderful appetite. We pressed it so hard, were hungry in the game and hungry for goals. A clean sheet, five really good goals and a really good day for us.”

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce on Isaac Hayden’s red card: “I’ve got no complaints, the red card was a poor challenge.

“Maybe back in my day you might get away with that but in today’s game then I’ve got no argument.”

Day to forget for Bruce – the stats

  • This was Steve Bruce’s joint-heaviest defeat in the , alongside losing 2-7 v in January 2010 and 0-5 v in April 2011 as Sunderland manager.
  • Newcastle failed to land a shot on target in a game for the first time since December 2018.
  • Since Brendan Rodgers’ first match with Leicester, Jamie Vardy has scored more goals than any other player (14 goals, 17 appearances).
  • Isaac Hayden’s red card was the 52nd occasion on which Bruce has seen one of his players dismissed in the . Only former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger (78) has seen more of his players sent off in the competition.

What’s next?

Leicester now begin preparing for next Saturday’s game at leaders (15:00 BST), while Newcastle are at home to Manchester United next Sunday (16:30) – the final league game before the international break.

Line-ups

Leicester

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 21Ricardo Pereira
  • 6Evans
  • 4Söyüncü
  • 3Chilwell
  • 25Ndidi
  • 17PérezSubstituted forGrayat 84′minutes
  • 26PraetSubstituted forChoudhuryat 79′minutes
  • 8Tielemans
  • 15BarnesSubstituted forAlbrightonat 58′minutes
  • 9VardyBooked at 24mins

Substitutes

  • 2Justin
  • 5Morgan
  • 7Gray
  • 11Albrighton
  • 12Ward
  • 14Iheanacho
  • 20Choudhury

Newcastle

  • 1Dubravka
  • 17Krafth
  • 6Lascelles
  • 5SchärBooked at 88mins
  • 3Dummett
  • 14HaydenBooked at 43mins
  • 36S Longstaff
  • 24AlmirónSubstituted forYedlinat 74′minutes
  • 13MutoSubstituted forKi Sung-yuengat 45+1′minutes
  • 30Atsu
  • 9JoelintonSubstituted forCarrollat 63′minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Ki Sung-yueng
  • 7Carroll
  • 10Saint-Maximin
  • 18Fernandez
  • 19Manquillo
  • 22Yedlin
  • 26Darlow
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
32,168

Match Stats

Home TeamLeicesterAway TeamNewcastle
Possession
Home69%
Away31%
Shots
Home13
Away3
Shots on Target
Home5
Away0
Corners
Home9
Away0
Fouls
Home12
Away9

Live Text

Booking

Fabian Schär () is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Wilfred Ndidi () wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Emil Krafth () wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Paul Dummett () wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, . Hamza Choudhury replaces Dennis Praet.

Çaglar Söyüncü () wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Youri Tielemans () right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by .

Substitution

Substitution, . DeAndre Yedlin replaces Miguel Almirón.

Attempt missed. Youri Tielemans () right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Wilfred Ndidi with a headed pass.

Ki Sung-yueng () wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, . Fabian Schär tries a through ball, but Andy Carroll is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, . Andy Carroll replaces Joelinton.

Ki Sung-yueng () wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Emil Krafth () wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Jamie Vardy () header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ben Chilwell with a cross.

goal

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