…Ndidi, Vardy Delight New Boss
Demarai Gray and Jamie Vardy earned the Foxes a 2-1 win, and first since New Year’s Day, despite the visitors’ dogged persistence. The man who will now manage Nigeria’s duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Nidi among others, was dlighted at his new team’s performance.
Glenn Murray’s awful miss let Leicester off the hook at 1-0 and, while Davy Propper pulled a goal back, Brighton could not recover.
Rodgers, who signed a three-and-a-half-year deal after joining from Celtic before the game, watched from the stands and would have been encouraged with what he saw.
Leicester had lost seven of their previous nine outings but dug in against a determined Brighton side to rise to 11th.
The Seagulls, meanwhile, remain in relegation danger and sit just three points above the drop zone.
Rodgers, replacing the sacked Claude Puel, was given a rapturous welcome when he took his seat and his new side were eager to impress early.
Fine work from Youri Tielemans set James Maddison down the right and, when he cut the ball back, Vardy and Harvey Barnes’ efforts were blocked.
The Foxes had been slow starters under Puel – consistently being punished for it – but with the leash off they scored their earliest league goal of the season.
The classy Tieleman’s was at the heart of it as he advanced after Wilfred Ndidi won the ball to slip Gray through and the England Under-21 international fired under Mat Ryan from 16 yards.
Three minutes later Gray was denied a second by Ryan’s low save before Vardy guided the rebound over.
The Seagulls began to threaten, though, and Kasper Schmeichel turned over Pascal Gross’ deflected effort after it looped up off Harry Maguire.
The visitors had wrestled control but were thwarted again by Schmeichel eight minutes before the break.
Tidy play allowed Gaetan Bong to skip down the right and his cross fell for Anthony Knockaert, only for Schmeichel to produce an excellent low reflex save to keep out his first-time effort.
The Foxes looked to reassert themselves immediately after the break but Vardy could only glance Gray’s centre well wide. And they should have been pegged back three minutes into the second half only for Murray to miss his cue.
Maddison lost possession and Knockaert found Gross in the box. The midfielder produced an impudent backheel to Murray but, with the goal gaping, he blazed over from six yards.
The miss came at another cost as Gross limped off after appearing to injure his hamstring and was replaced by Yves Bissouma. The substitute threatened when he flashed a drive a yard wide on the hour as Brighton refused to go quietly.
But their hopes of a comeback were dented in the 63rd minute with Vardy’s ninth goal of the season.
Space opened up for Maddison and his cute pass teed up Vardy to smash in from an angle at Ryan’s near post.
Yet the Seagulls kept coming and pulled a goal back three minutes later when Propper’s low drive found the corner from 16 yards.
Murray should have levelled with two minutes left but, left unmarked, directed a half volley wide