Claudio Ranieri believes Leicester City have the support of the neutrals in the Premier League title race as they look to capitalise on the struggles of the established elite.
The Foxes lead the table ahead of Boxing Day’s trip to Liverpool just 12 months after being bottom at Christmas.
Leicester, Crystal Palace, Watford and Bournemouth top the form table, with the Foxes not having lost since September and Watford just a point behind the top four.
Chelsea remain three points above the relegation zone, while Manchester United lost to Norwich last weekend to drop out of the top four. Ranieri feels the change is a boost for English football and reckons the Foxes may have become many fans’ second team.
He said: “There is no easy match because if Leicester, Bournemouth, Watford and Crystal Palace are top of the form table, that means everyone wants to win. The other thing is big teams are thinking about other things, because it’s not normal that the big teams aren’t at the top. If there is one year strange, OK.
“I think if we go through this fantastic moment – because now we have Liverpool, City and then Bournemouth, who are in great form, then Tottenham – maybe if we are still top not only Leicester fans are behind us, but a lot of English fans as well, because Leicester I think are a likeable team.
“Maybe the people say: ‘If my team don’t win, I’m very happy if Leicester win’ and this is a good thing.”
Leicester are two points clear of Arsenal, the only team to beat them this season, after last week’s 3-2 win at Everton.
Robert Huth is available after suspension to face Liverpool and Ranieri must choose either Shinji Okazaki, who scored at Goodison Park, or Leonardo Ulloa to partner Jamie Vardy.
He added: “I have good strikers. They’re different players – Ulloa and Okazaki.
“But when they play the team is the same. Of course each player gives me the opportunity to make something different.”
The last time Leicester travelled to Anfield was on January 1, 2015, with two second half strikes earning them a 2-2 draw.