Brendan Rodgers breathed a sigh of relief and piled the pressure on Steve Cooper as Leicester ended their winless start to the season at the eighth attempt with a fine 4-0 victory over Nottingham Forest.
In a meeting of two under-pressure managers and their struggling teams, Rodgers celebrated at full-time after Leicester hit three in 10 first-half minutes – two from the outstanding James Maddison either side of Harvey Barnes’ curling strike.
F365 says: Lingard the harbinger of Steve Cooper sacking and/or Nottingham Forest relegation
Maddison then turned provider in the second half, teeing up substitute Patson Daka for the final blow.
It was enough to lift Leicester off the foot of the table at the expense of their East Midlands rivals, a much-needed success for Rodgers as Leicester chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha jetted in to watch his first match in person in six weeks.
The outlook for Cooper is far less certain after a fifth straight league defeat – Forest’s worst run since January 2004.
It is a year and 12 days since Cooper took the job, performing miracles in lifting Forest from the Championship relegation zone to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years.
But having signed 22 players in a huge overhaul this summer it is not clear if Cooper knows his best XI, or if Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis will afford him the time to work it out.
There was little sense of the perilous position both clubs found themselves in before kick-off as fans filled the King Power Stadium with noise, the only calls for Rodgers to go being heard from the Forest fans in the corner of the ground.
Jamie Vardy, back in Leicester’s starting line-up, scuffed an early shot wide before Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall miraculously missed the target with a free header in front of goal.
Vardy then got clear of the Forest defence to head wide from Maddison’s free-kick before shooting straight at Dean Henderson after being played in by a midfielder in the mood to stake his England claim.
Forest were unable to get on the ball, their pressure coming through a succession of early set-pieces, but they created a superb chance in the 22nd minute when Morgan Gibbs-White played in Taiwo Awoniyi, who skipped beyond Wout Faes but saw his shot bounce back off the post.
It was a let-off for Leicester, and one they quickly took full advantage of.
Jesse Lingard mis-hit a clearance straight to Maddison, whose shot deflected off Scott McKenna to beat Henderson in the 25th minute.
Two minutes later it was 2-0 as Barnes cut in off the left and bent a shot beyond the goalkeeper.
Forest were imploding, and Leicester were happy to pile it on. After Cheikhou Kouyate was booked for bringing down Dewsbury-Hall on the edge of the D, Maddison added to the punishment as he curled a free-kick beyond the stationary Henderson.
Serge Aurier came on to make his Forest debut at the break, one of three changes as Cooper also sent on Remo Freuler and Ryan Yates.
Six minutes after the restart Awoniyi looked offside as he ran through on goal, but Danny Ward would have taken confidence from the save he made regardless.
Instead it was Leicester who pushed on. Barnes struck a shot which deflected off the arm of Steve Cook, who looked relieved when only a corner was awarded.
The fourth arrived in the 73rd minute as Maddison added an assist to his two goals, crossing for Daka to beat Henderson with a neat flick at the near post.
At the other end, Ward saved well from Brennan Johnson at his near post, then from Gibbs-White’s header, to preserve Leicester’s first clean sheet of the season on a fine night for the Foxes, and an ominous one for Forest.