Boss Brendan Rodgers believes Leicester's title winners hold the key to their top-four hopes.

The Foxes are fourth ahead of this evening's Premier League visit of Sheffield United (6pm).

They suffered a shock 4-1 defeat at relegation-threatened Bournemouth on Sunday but remain in a Champions League qualifying spot after Manchester United's 2-2 draw with Southampton.

Jamie Vardy, Wes Morgan, Kasper Schmeichel, Christian Fuchs and Mark Albrighton played huge roles in Leicester's remarkable title triumph in 2016.

Just seven champions remain at the club, with Demarai Gray and Daniel Amartey also picking up winners' medals, and Rodgers feels his old guard remain vital to their chances of success this term.

He said: "100%, but they can't do it on their own, you do need that calmness and energy and commitment and a bit of luck as well. We didn't have that the other night at Bournemouth.

"Kasper has had an absolutely outstanding season, he has been superb and has been a great influence.

"Jonny Evans has great experience. Fuchsy, Vards, Wes - even though he hasn't been playing so much his calmness around the team is very important.

"All these guys have been very pivotal since I've been here and they will remain that, they are key."

The Foxes, who could be without the injured James Maddison and Ben Chilwell against the Blades, and will definitely be without the suspended Caglar Soyuncu, are four points behind third-placed Chelsea, with Thursday's game in hand.

Chris Wilder (R) and Ireland striker David McGoldrick

Sheffield United could have midfielder John Fleck back after a groin injury but Ben Osborn has proven an able deputy as part of an in-form side that has taken 10 points from their last four games.

Eighth-placed United are in contention for a Europa League spot in their first season back in the Premier League and another victory at the King Power Stadium would move Wilder's side to within two points of fourth-placed Leicester.

However, Blades boss Chris Wilder is not getting carried away and thinks there could be many more twists and turns in the remaining games this month.

"On every level it is an exciting finish - at both ends of the table," said Wilder.

"The majority of teams still have something to play for, there's the relegation battle - which we are delighted we are not involved in - and there's the top end of the table.

"We are capable of winning games of football, losing or drawing. We will reflect at the end of the season after the Southampton game.

"I have got to prepare for Leicester, which is a tough game and one we go into in good spirits and good nick.

"We are positive, and why shouldn't we be based on the last two or three games? We need to make sure we are up there as we were against Chelsea, Wolves and Spurs."

Victory would keep Leicester in the hunt for third and Rodgers says he prefers to look forward rather than over his shoulder.

"I've always been like that. The intention from me is always to look forward and we'll always continue to do that," he said.

"As a group we will always be hunting, we'll always be that type of team. Whatever spin people want to put on it for us, we can only control ourselves and that's our focus.

"If you'd have said to me back in Evian, when we were on a pre-season trip, that with three games to go you're fighting for the Champions League, I would have bitten your hand off.

"There have been disappointments, but I've got a real sense of perspective about how well this team has done, amidst what our competition has been and where we were at the start of the season.

"This is something that will make us stronger and better. I'll get that message through to the players."