It’s been almost a full week since Liverpool were last in action. The Reds sealed a late point against table topping Arsenal last Sunday, in a classic game of two halves. Up next is a trip to relegation threatened Leeds United. Here’s the match preview.

That game against the Gunners encapsulated everything that is wrong and right with Jürgen Klopp’s side this campaign. The first half hour showcased them at their very worst. There was not enough energy to close down, neither was there any semblance of competence defensively to halt the visitor’s attacks.

Arsenal cut through at will it seemed, and threatened to rack up an embarrassing scoreline for the Reds. Then came the flashpoint. Granit Xhaka and Trent Alexander-Arnold got into a bit of a shoving match and that got the crowd going.

It fired up the players as well, with the side dominating the rest of the game and looking back to their relentless best. There was newfound energy as Arsenal were pressed and hemmed in their own half, with the hosts keeping the pressure on and creating chance after chance.

Roberto Firmino climbed off the bench to net a late equaliser, which is the least the side deserved. Jürgen Klopp’s men were unlucky not to nick the win, with Salah missing a second half penalty and Konaté failing to convert a chance at the death.

The challenge now for Liverpool is to repeat that level of performance (minus the slow start of course). How many times this season have the Reds produced a big performance one week and then followed it up with dreadful display the next?

Beating Manchester City one week and then losing at Nottingham Forest the next, thrashing Ajax away from home and then losing at home to Leeds straight after, not to mention failing to win any of the five games since the 7-0 dismantling of Manchester United are all clear examples.

The manager will be hoping there isn’t a repeat at Elland Road on Monday night. Opponents Leeds haven’t enjoyed the best of season themselves, with American tactician Jesse Marsch losing his job as a result.

Javi Gracia was handed the reins in February and has overseen seven league matches, winning three and drawing one. They currently lie 16th in the table, just two points clear of the drop zone.

In the reverse fixture at Anfield back in October, Leeds pulled off a shock win. Rodrigo Moreno handed them an early lead before Mohamed Salah equalised first half. The stage was then set for Crysencio Summerville to clinch all three points with a late winner.

To date, that remains the Reds’ sole home league defeat this campaign. Monday night is a chance to get one over on an old enemy. Do Liverpool really have anything to play for though? With 12 points separating the Reds and the top four, is there still hope of clinching Champions League qualification?

It is more than unlikely at this point. There are 27 points left to play for. Should Klopp somehow mastermind a nine game winning run, he would still require Newcastle to only pick up 11/24 points in their remaining eight games. It’s more than a tall order.

Maybe this means we will see the side play with less pressure and more freedom. What else is there to lose? This final lap of the campaign can serve as building blocks for next season. It’s a chance for some to prove whether they belong at the club for the long term.

A much needed rebuild will take place this summer, but maybe it needs to start on Monday night. Under the lights at a vociferous Elland Road, against a side fighting for their lives won’t be easy, but we need to know who in this Liverpool side is up for the fight going forward.

Team News

Luis Diaz is set for a long awaited return after a five month layoff. Thiago should be in line for a start after he marked his return with an impressive cameo against Arsenal. Alisson and Konaté meanwhile are hoping to overcome slight knocks. Keita (muscle), Ramsay (knee) and Bajcetic (groin) remain out injured.

For Leeds, Max Wober (hamstring), Stuart Dallas (leg fracture) and Tyler Adams (hamstring) are all expected to miss out through injury.



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