James Maddison's first half strike was the highlight as Leicester moved into second with a deserved victory over Southampton at the King Power Stadium.
In a game between two sides with a similar style, it took some time to burst into life. Leicester took the lead eight minutes before half time when Maddison spun Jack Stephens and beat Alex McCarthy at his near post with a thumping effort from an acute angle, with the 24-year-old following up with a socially distanced celebration.
Southampton almost responded immediately with Ryan Bertrand spurning a chance to equalise with a shot straight at Kasper Schmeichel - making his 400th appearance for Leicester - when through on goal.
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Leicester were the better side after the restart and Jamie Vardy had a couple of half-chances to put the game beyond Southampton's reach, while Harvey Barnes had a shot cleared off the line. But the visitors went agonisingly close to restoring parity with Stuart Armstrong rattling the crossbar with a fine 25-yard effort.
That was as close as Southampton would come as Ralph Hasenhuttl's side lost for just the second time on the road this season, with Leicester adding a late second through Barnes in stoppage-time.
The win sees Leicester close the gap on leaders Manchester United to just one point, while the Saints fall to eighth.

TALKING POINT - Leicester march on in pursuit of title

It is now mid-January and almost halfway through the season, so is it time Leicester are classed as genuine title contenders? Their home form has been patchy but this was a high quality performance that suggests the Foxes have turned the corner at the King Power Stadium.
Rather than being reliant on Vardy - who limped off late on - goals are now being shared amongst the team. Barnes grabbed his 10th of the season to cap another classy performance from the wideman. He's just one of a number of players Rodgers is getting the best out of in a well-balanced team.
Leicester's post-Christmas slump last year is well known, but Rodgers has always insisted there is a different feeling about this season, and it's so far, so good. In these craziest of times, could Leicester do the unthinkable - again - and win the Premier League?

MAN OF THE MATCH - Harvey Barnes (Leicester)

Another supreme performance from the 23-year-old, who is growing in confidence every week. With England boss Gareth Southgate in attendance, he will have done his international dreams absolutely no harm.

PLAYER RATINGS

Leicester: Schmeichel 7, Justin 8, Castagne 7, Evans 6, Fofana 7, Ndidi 7, Tielemans 7, Albrighton 7, Maddison 8, Barnes 9, Vardy 6.. subs: Soyuncu 5, Iheanacho N/A, Perez N/A,
Southampton: McCarthy 7, Walker-Peters 6, Bertrand 7, Stephens 5, Bednarek 6, Diallo 6, Smallbone 6, Ward-Prowse 5, Armstrong 7, Walcott 6, Adams 6.. subs: Long 5, Valery N/A, N'Lundulu 5.

Jamie Vardy and Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester City interact prior to the Premier League match between Leicester City and Southampton at The King Power Stadium

Image credit: Getty Images

KEY MOMENTS

37' - GOAL! Leicester 1-0 Southampton (James Maddison): Stephens gets too close to Maddison, who turns the Southampton defender easily as he drives into the penalty area and fires past McCarthy at his near post with a vicious shot from a tight angle. Leicester are ahead!
41' - Great chance for Southampton! Bertrand times his run perfectly to get in behind the Leicester defence. But his shot is straight at Schmeichel, and it's a let off for the hosts who were carved wide open there.
73' - Off the crossbar! Southampton aren't out of this one yet! Armstrong sees his venomous effort from 25 yards crash off the woodwork. Long is manhandled by Evans as he tries to get on the end of the rebound, and that would have been a penalty only for the offside flag to go up!
75' - Off the line! Bednarek keeps Southampton in the game with a brilliant act of defending, getting back to clear Barnes' shot off the line from Albrighton's cross!
90'+5 - GOAL! Leicester 2-0 Southampton (Harvey Barnes): Barnes seals the victory after a rapid counter-attack catches Saints cold and the Leicester No 15 finishes coolly.

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KEY STATS

  • Jamie Vardy had seven shots against Southampton - his highest ever tally in a Premier League game without scoring.
  • Leicester City have recorded two top-flight league matches in a calendar year for the first time since 1984 under manager Gordon Milne.
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