LIVERPOOL VS LEEDS UNITED: PREVIEW
Liverpool host Leeds United on Wednesday night in what is their game in hand. The Reds have the opportunity to cut the gap to Manchester City down to three points with a victory, whilst Leeds are looking to steer further clear of the relegation places. Here’s a preview of the game.
Tottenham’s win at the Etihad has blown the title race back open again. Liverpool now have their fate in their own hands. Should they win each of their remaining 13 games, they’ll likely be crowned champions. Should City also win their remaining games, it’ll come down to goal difference.
That is all pretty unlikely with further slip ups more than probable for both sides. For all that to matter though, Jürgen Klopp’s side first have to dispatch Leeds to move within 3 points of Guardiola’s expensively assembled outfit.
Opponents Leeds have had a horrid season so far, with a terrible start compounded by an injury crisis that has dogged them all season. Marcelo Bielsa’s charges won just 3 of their opening 18 league games this season. Such wretched form has seen them dragged into a relegation battle.
They sit in 15th place on the log with 23 points, just 5 above the relegation zone. It’s been a heavy dose of second season syndrome for the Yorkshire club after finishing 9th in their return to the top flight last season.
Their poor run of results has seen manager Marcelo Bielsa’s approach questioned. Leeds’ man marking, high intensity style has been their staple under the Argentine tactician. With the number of injuries they’ve suffered this season, a direct correlation has been drawn to their explosive style of play.
Calls for the manager to alter his playing style has fallen on deaf ears with Bielsa sticking to his principles. Leeds are the neutral’s favourite as their gung ho style makes them exciting to watch. They play on the front foot no matter the circumstance.
4-0 down, a man down, a thrown together starting XI, you name it, whatever be the case, Leeds will keep bombing forward. Teams have wisened up to their style somewhat. They are no longer the culture shock that they were last season.
Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United had a similar run in the Premier League. Their first season was the stuff of dreams as their overlapping centre back system caught teams by surprise on their way to a 9th placed finish.
By the time their second season rolled around, teams had worked out a plan to stop them and they struggled to adapt. Leeds have conceded a whopping 50 league goals so far, the same tally Norwich let in after 24 games. Norwich’s 25th game was their 3-1 defeat at Anfield on Saturday. No side in the division has conceded more.
In Leeds’ last outing, they showed character to fight back from a 2-0 halftime deficit before eventually losing 4-2 at home to Manchester United. That was their 4th defeat in their last six in all competitions, winning just once in that run (a 3-2 win away to West Ham).
Liverpool on the other hand, are on an impressive run of eight straight wins in all competitions, conceding just thrice in that time. They are in peak form and condition at the minute and know they are within touching distance of City should they secure victory.
Jürgen Klopp is in the enviable position of having been able to rest key personnel against Norwich. He’s got a strong squad to pick from even with Jota and Firmino still unavailable. Anfield will be rocking tomorrow night, especially after that City result.
Relegation threatened sides are tricky at this stage of the season, as the Reds found out against Burnley and Norwich recently. Liverpool are overwhelming favourites however, especially with the stakes high in their title chase.
Jürgen Klopp has overseen three wins and a draw in his encounters with Leeds; a 2-0 home win in the FA Cup back in 2016, a 4-3 home win in the league and a 1-1 draw at Elland Road last season, before a convincing 3-0 win back in September (in a match memorable for Harvey Elliott’s ankle injury).
Liverpool know what’s at stake. Up against a struggling Leeds side without a clean sheet in any of their last 11 fixtures in all competitions, there can be no excuses. Sunday’s Carabao Cup final shouldn’t even come into the thinking.
For Liverpool, Diogo Jota (ankle) and Roberto Firmino (muscle) are out. It is still unclear how long both will be out, with the club not ruling them out of the League Cup final just yet. Aside the pair of them, everyone else is available.
For Bielsa’s side, Kalvin Phillips, Liam Cooper (hamstring) and Patrick Bamford (foot) all remain out. Leo Hjelde (knee) is also unavailable whilst Robin Koch is a major doubt after sustaining a nasty blow to the head on Sunday.
The Colombian got off the mark with a lovely dinked finish against Norwich last time out. He’s enjoyed an impressive start to his Liverpool career and could be set for consecutive starts for the first time with Jota and Firmino out.
The 25 year old has enjoyed another strong season despite Leeds’ struggles. He’s netted 9 goals and provided 2 assists in the league this season, with only Salah, Jota and Sterling managing more goals. This has seen the Brazilian linked to Liverpool, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and a host of other top clubs.
The flying Scotsman has been in sensational form over the past few months with Tsimikas keeping him on his toes. He’s been directly involved in 9 goals in his last 14 appearances for the Reds (1 goal, 8 assists). Having been rested at the weekend, he should be raring to go.
3 thoughts on “LIVERPOOL VS LEEDS UNITED: PREVIEW”
It should be a game filled with intensity with both teams having something to fight for, it’s just a matter of who wants it more.
Liverpool are hungry at the moment and I don’t expect less from Klopp on how he would line up tomorrow, he’s going to use every weapon in his Arsenal.
Win against leeds tomorrow, ride it out, play city at etihad and give them a Tottenham stunner.
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