A nod to the glory days of yesteryear, this time around both Liverpool and Leeds United fans can enjoy this fixture without the need to turn to nostalgia. The Reds start their Premier League title defence against the Yorkshire outfit – it’s been a long time since we’ve been able to write those words, and despite a quiet summer on the transfer front the hope is that Liverpool will be there or thereabouts come the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
As for Leeds, their lengthy hiatus from the top-flight has come to an end, and what a way to start their Premier League campaign than with a trip to take on the champions at Anfield. United behind an exciting young team and a charismatic manager, Leeds will be hoping for much more than mere survival this term.
Is essentially a case of as you were for Liverpool, with only Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana departing and Kostas Tsimikas – who will provide back-up for Andy Robertson at left back – coming in. Could continuity be crucial in a successful title defence?
Jurgen Klopp certainly thinks so, and as he eluded to there is more than one way to improve your squad as he watches both Manchester clubs and Chelsea splash the cash on marquee signings. “We always want to improve the squad but there are different ways – one way is to sign new players and the other way is to work together, improve the things you were good in and try to nullify the things you are not good in, the manager has said.
“That is football. No-one wants to talk about training and only about signings.”
It’s a bold strategy, although the form of Naby Keita when last season resumed in the summer – and the emergence of Curtis Jones – suggests he might just have a point. And, lest we forget, Liverpool finished 18 points clear of Manchester City and 33 ahead of Chelsea last season….it may take more than millions spent to close that gap.
Either way, the 2020/21 campaign should be outstanding – and it kicks off with a bang at Anfield on Saturday.
Liverpool Team News
Frustratingly, Liverpool have injury concerns without a single ball being kicked as yet.
Jordan Henderson’s knee injury, carried over from the conclusion of last term, means that he has had no pre-season to speak of – it could be a couple of weeks before the captain is ready to return.
Unfortunately, one possible replacement for Henderson – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – has also picked up a knee injury on the club’s pre-season tour. He will miss the start of the campaign.
And, you have to laugh, Liverpool announced the signing of Tsimikas….and he duly went and caught coronavirus while on international duty with Greece. He’s currently in quarantine.
Rumours persist of Gini Wijnaldum’s proposed move to Barcelona, but with Henderson and Oxlade-Chamberlain out will he start against Leeds on Saturday?
Leeds United Form
For a club that has been accused of ‘bottling’ promotion in the past, Leeds’ end to the 2019/20 campaign was extraordinary.
Six straight victories transformed a hard-fought title run-in into an absolute doddle – the Yorkshire club topping the table in the Championship by ten clear points in the ed.
Marcelo Bielsa focuses on shape and structure, first and foremost, and that’s why Leeds ‘only’ scored 77 goals in a title-winning campaign – the profligacy of Patrick Bamford in attack also didn’t help on that front.
But defensively secure, Leeds will be tough to break down this term and that will be the foundation on which their mid-table aspirations will be built.
Liverpool vs Leeds United Betting Tips
A new season brings with it uncertainty and unpredictability….
Both Liverpool and Leeds have opted for a low-key summer in terms of transfer activity, and that at least lets us build a profile of how this match will pan out.
Two things leap out – we don’t expect the Reds to concede against what is a fairly ordinary Leeds attacking line, and as such we don’t expect them to lose the game either.
As mentioned, finding a way to break through Bielsa’s tight lines could be another matter, and without Henderson’s industry and guile in midfield we will certainly feel his absence.
But, in the end, we expect Liverpool to just about take care of business. There’s no value in the 3/10 odds available, however, so let’s try Dutching the 1-0 and 2-0 correct scores at 8/1 and 7/1 respectively.