Football Expert & Columnist
Leicester 'doomed' with Claudio Ranieri, says Graeme Souness
Last Updated: 26/02/17 1:30pm
Graeme Souness thinks Leicester were "doomed" to relegation with Claudio Ranieri in charge and understands why the owners decided to make a change.
Ranieri was dismissed as Foxes manager on Thursday, less than 10 months after winning the Premier League title.
His sacking was greeted with shock by a number of former players and pundits, with Niall Quinn saying the club has lost its soul.
But, having left the club just one point and one place above the relegation zone, Souness understands why a change was made.
"It's the harsh reality of Premier League football," he said ahead of Leicester's Monday Night Football clash with Liverpool, live on Sky Sports.
"Leicester have been a bit of a yo-yo side over the last couple of decades and do flirt with relegation, and the owners have seen the real possibility of that happening. I think if Ranieri had stayed it would have happened, I think they were doomed.
"So I get it. I fully understand it. The rot had set in. You look at some of the games they have had in recent weeks and you thought this could be the spark and turn their season around, but how long do you wait?"
The Foxes slipped into the relegation zone after Crystal Palace's win over Middlesbrough on Saturday and are yet to win in the league in 2017.
While Ranieri has paid the price for their poor season, Souness thinks the players are ultimately to blame.
"They are the ones who have to hold their hands up," he said. "Once again you have players escaping relatively scot-free. Yes, they might get relegated and might have something in their contract where they get less money: big deal.
"They will be looking for the bail-out clause and their agents will be knocking on the new manager's door and saying 'I'm a Premier League player, I want to be out of here'.
"That's the sad reality of the modern game. The players are escaping scot-free and they are the ones to blame.
"You can bet Claudio spoke to them the same way this year, trained the same way, same travel arrangements and tactics in games, and all of sudden it's not happening. Those players allowed themselves to get into the armchair. They thought they were proper players.
"The great mystery is how you go from a team that wins the league to a team that can't win a game. You can maybe go down to mid-table if you are Leicester, but they have gone from hero to zero in a very short period of time."
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Leicester will be looking for a lift when they take on Liverpool.
But Souness thinks they could be in for a tough evening if the Reds produce the same kind of performance that saw them beat Tottenham 2-0 in their last match.
"For Leicester you hope there is a bit of up-lift. But will it be enough to cope with Liverpool's firepower?" he said. "They were fabulous against Tottenham last time out and made them look very ordinary on the day. If it's that Liverpool it's a hard night for Leicester.
"If it's not then you would think Leicester would have some momentum with a new guy in charge, but it's still a big ask for them."