Leeds United vs Liverpool
When Leeds United returned to the top flight of English football, after a 16 year absence, fans were a little fearful of a return to the Championship and very hopeful of a top ten finish.
Well now the latter is a real possibility as they currently sit in tenth position and, having beaten champions elect Manchester City last week, Marcelo Bielsa’s side have their sights set on the 2020 league champions. Premier League: Leeds vs Liverpool is one of those fixtures which captures the imagination; a battle between Yorkshire and Merseyside’s finest and two of the most attacking sides in Europe.
A victory for Leeds will keep their recently found momentum moving, while landing a heavy blow on Liverpool’s top four hopes. Jurgen Klopp’s team is full of quality but the flair and threat of Leeds have taken most teams in the top flight by surprise.
The Reds will have to be at their best to take all three points over the Pennine hills and back to Merseyside… and we’re set for a pulsating clash.
Places mean prizes for Leeds
The Whites come into this match on a run of three consecutive victories and confidence at Elland Road is sky high. Three wins, all by a 2-1 score line against Fulham, Sheffield United and then Manchester City have lifted Leeds up into the top half and they will be determined to stay there. Not only does every position bring a welcome financial reward, being one of the best ten teams in England is what Leeds fans expect.
Bielsa’s side has had ups and down throughout the campaign but they have never stopped attacking and centre forward Patrick Bamford has been a revelation, scoring 14 goals in his first full season of top flight football. Jack Harrison and Stuart Dallas have seven goals each, and five and three assists respectively, while Brazilian winger Raphinha is the Whites’ most exciting player and has provided six assists.
Raphinha will be assessed; having suffered a thigh strain, but there will almost certainly starts for Harrison and Dallas, who scored both Leeds’ goals in the victory over Manchester City last week. But they will be without defender Liam Cooper who was red carded in the game, and that could mean a return for centre back Pascal Struijk.
Top Four is Liverpool’s last target
The Reds are out of the Champions League having lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the first leg at the Bernabeu, and Jurgen Klopps’ men had no answer at Anfield, drawing 0-0 and going out of the competition with a whimper.
They are out of both England’s domestic competitions and, with the two Manchester clubs well ahead, it looks like a battle for the third and fourth places in the Premier League will see two of Leicester City, Chelsea and Liverpool qualifying for the 2021/22 Champions League.
Mo Salah could win a prize of his own, on 19 goals and in contention for 2020/21 Golden Boot, he’s two behind Tottenham Hotspur’s striker Harry Kane, but the Spurs man has picked up yet another injury and that could open the door for the Egyptian. Alongside Salah, Diogo Jota is back from a long injury lay-off and is now second top scorer on eight goals
But without long term absentees Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson, Liverpool have a softer centre and one which Leeds will be happy to exploit.
The Reds have had the better of the head to head Leeds vs Liverpool results winning 16 of the 25 meetings in the Premier League era while Leeds have won six, and there have been just three draws.
The two teams met on the opening day of the season in a match which gave us some good clues how both would fare in the 2020/21 league campaign. The champions got off to winning start but they were pushed all the way by the newcomers who breached the Reds defence three times but went down to a 4-3 defeat. To come close to matching the team which romped to the 2020 title set Leeds up to play without fear throughout the season, while other teams saw how Liverpool could be broken down by a group of players willing to take them on.
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