Leeds host Liverpool at Elland Road on Sunday evening in the Premier League. These sides faced off in a thriller last season as the Reds won 4-3 at Anfield in September. The second meeting in April saw Leeds grab a late equalizer to take a 1-1 draw at home. With the hosts in great form on their own patch and Klopp’s team holding an excellent record when traveling to Yorkshire, something has to give in to this one.
Leeds finished last season in superb form with seven wins and two draws in their final 10 league clashes. That streak included a smash-and-grab win against Man City, a win against Spurs and draws with Liverpool and Man Utd.
Bielsa’s team has had a mixed start to this campaign. A 5-1 thrashing against Man Utd was followed by twice coming from behind to draw 2-2 with Everton. Their last match saw a late equalizer from Patrick Bamford to take a point in a 1-1 draw at Burnley. Leeds United is unbeaten in their last seven home league matches (W3, D4), their longest unbeaten home run since 2001.
Leeds Team News
Leeds has Raphinha as a major doubt due to FIFA potentially imposing a ban on clubs from using Brazilian players. Junior Firpo is doubtful at left-back and Mateusz Klich could be absent in midfield due to COVID-19.
Robin Kock is a doubt with a groin problem in defence. Winger Dan James arrived from Man Utd on deadline day and could make his debut from the start, especially if Raphinha is out.
Leeds is much more solid of late in bigger games, aside from the opening day thrashing at Man Utd. They kept clean sheets against Chelsea, Arsenal, and Man Utd last season and are capable of not overcommitting bodies.
In the fixture last season, Leeds have over 60% of the ball against Liverpool and eventually scored a deserved equalizer in a 1-1 draw. They will play to win but would be satisfied with a point.
Liverpool looks like a different side from the one that had a terrible run of form at one stage last season. 33 points from the last 39 available – ten wins and three draws in 13 matches – has given them the air of being back to their best.
Klopp’s team has started this season with a 3-0 win at Carrow Road against Norwich before a 2-0 win at home against Burnley. Their last match saw a 1-1 home draw with Chelsea despite playing the second half against ten men. They never really found a way through an organized, deep defence but won’t face the same thing against Leeds.
FIFA is threatening to make Brazil players serve a ban after their clubs refused to release them for the international break. Fabinho and goalkeeper Alisson would miss out, as would Roberto Firmino, but he is injured anyway.
James Milner, Harvey Elliott, and Takumi Minamino are also carrying injuries so the options could be greatly reduced. Diogo Jota should play upfront and Caoimhin Kelleher could deputize in goal.
Liverpool will play to win. They may start off patiently and wait for Leeds to leave gaps to exploit. Despite the threat of Bielsa’s team, Liverpool has the defence to deal with their pace and movement.
Klopp’s team will relish the extra space afforded to them by how many extra men Leeds commit forward when on the attack compared to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea two weeks ago.
Leeds United are unbeaten in their last 7 home PL matches, their longest run since 2001
Liverpool have won 7 of their last 8 PL matches
The Reds have kept 4 PL clean sheets in 5 PL matches
Liverpool have lost just 1 of their last 9 away league matches at Leeds (W5, D3)
Bamford has scored 4 goals in his last 7 PL appearances
Mohamed Salah has is chasing his 100th PL goal (99 in 161 apps)
This is a really tough match to call. We saw a goal-fest in one meeting last season and a relatively cagey 1-1 draw in Yorkshire. Liverpool is expected to win the match with their very strong defence likely to shine through. Back Salah to pass his century of goals in the Premier League.
Best Bet: Liverpool win at 1.80
Alternative Bet: Liverpool win to nil at 3.80
Goalscorer Tip: Salah anytime at 1.95 OR Salah 2 or more goals at 6.00