Leicester supporters left King Power Stadium in their droves with 20 minutes remaining against Liverpool and their Premier League fate could well have been sealed by the time they return.
Should Everton win at Wolves on Saturday and Dean Smith’s side get beaten at Newcastle two days later, Leicester will be relegated to the Championship.
Leicester are firmly rooted in trouble after defeat by Liverpool, languishing in 19th place and two points adrift of safety, and need an extraordinary turnaround in fortunes to preserve their top-flight status.
“It’s not the margin of the defeat, it’s the manner of the defeat. It’s how they crumbled after that first Liverpool goal,” former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Leicester just folded and from that point they offered very, very little.
“It’s the same defensive frailties. For the first 25 minutes they played really well in this game, they had the best opportunities and were pushing Liverpool back but as soon as the first Liverpool goal went in you could almost feel the confidence just sapped out of this Leicester side.
“The place went quiet almost in expectancy of when the next goal was coming.”
That sombre mood soon turned into venomous anger.
A cacophony of jeers and rattling of seats from supporters emptying out of the stadium after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s stunning strike on 70 minutes echoed loudly around the arena.
Liverpool were already cruising at that stage following two goals from Curtis Jones in the first half, and it could have been so much worse but for poor finishing from the visitors.
The fans who remained until the end screamed “you’re not fit to wear the shirt!” – just as they did in the demoralising 5-3 loss at Fulham last time out – and hopes of survival seem to have evaporated with further chants of “we are going down”.
Chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha witnessed another dismal defeat, shaking his head in the stands at full-time alongside director of football Jon Rudkin.
“The crowd are here to see us try to win football games,” Smith told Sky Sports. “They get disappointed when you’re two goals down at half-time. You understand that when goals go against you.
“That is only my third home game and it’s the first home defeat we’ve had. They were magnificent in the first two against Everton and Wolves. No football fan wants to see their team get beaten.”
Asked why they have struggled so badly this season, returning defender Jonny Evans said: “It’s hard to put your finger on it. We haven’t been good this season. That’s the bottom line. We’ve lost too many games and other teams have been better than us.
“Two more games left, we’ll have to put in the same effort we did tonight.”
On this very day only two years ago, Leicester were riding the crest of a wave as they stunned Chelsea at Wembley to win the FA Cup.
And, on this day in 2016, Leicester went to Stamford Bridge where they were given a guard of honour by Chelsea having clinched their incredible title triumph.
Those heady heights now seem a lifetime away.
“They look drained,” former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville said on Sky Sports. “Not just on the pitch but off the pitch, which is worrying.
“The fans have obviously turned, at half-time they were booing and it’s a massive problem for them. You think Leicester may have to win two games – they’re in massive, massive trouble.
“I think they look like a group of players who are beaten. Anything can happen, but I genuinely feel Leicester tonight have gone and there’s no coming back from it.
“I think that’s the end of them tonight.”
Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher added: “You hear the fans singing ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt…’ going into training tomorrow, I don’t know how they lift themselves for that Newcastle game.”
|Nottingham Forest (16th)||Everton (17th)||Leeds (18th)||Leicester (19th)|
|Arsenal (h) 20 May||Wolves (a) 20 May||West Ham (a) 21 May||Newcastle (a) 22 May|
|Crystal Palace (a) 28 May||Bournemouth (h) 28 May||Tottenham (h) 28 May||West Ham (h) 28 May|
As Leicester slid towards another “abysmal” defeat on Monday, many Foxes fans took to social media to express their dismay at the position they find themselves in…
Kevin: A lot of the Leicester players already look like they’ve given it up, and that’s probably the ones who knew they were leaving this summer anyway! They know who they are!
Alan: Ask us about not investing. Instead of investing after Champions League and Premier League titles in successive seasons we effectively have gone backwards this season.
John: Unlike some of the other teams, Leicester City have shown no heart. Some of the stars who are leaving should be ashamed.
Jamie: Every fairytale has an ending. They’re writing the final pages as we speak. Falls from grace don’t come much bigger than this.
Paul: Goodbye Leicester. Absolutely abysmal.