Tom Love has two picks for liverpool vs leeds as the Premier League kicks off
Leeds are back in the big time. It’s been a long road for them but they’ve been transformed under famous head coach Marcelo Bielsa and were fully deserving of their promotion after battering sides, if not getting the desired result, all season. It’s going to be fascinating to see how the Whites adapt to the top flight, my hunch is they will thrive compared to most and I could see them following the footsteps of Wolves and Sheffield United in securing a top half finish come the end of the campaign.
They play in a shape and style that opposition find extremely hard to keep on top of, they press well and high up the pitch, looking to win the ball back in dangerous areas, much like their opponents here. But it would not be a surprise to see the Yorkshire club be in line for a few upsets against the big guns, but this clash represents probably the most difficult they could’ve wished for.
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Liverpool have a scary record at Anfield and so rarely lose under Jurgen Klopp’s watch. The fact there will be no fans present could affect that slightly but only time will tell, they coped ok towards the back end of last season. Klopp won’t have faced many teams like Leeds before and it will be interesting to see if he tweaks his formation accordingly. The likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane could find joy behind Leeds’ wing backs and if the visitors play a high line then those two have the requisite pace to cause carnage in behind.
Defensively Liverpool were so sound last season but they could be threatened by a Leeds team that monopolised all the major performance metrics last season. If it wasn’t for the profligate finishing of Patrick Bamford and co then they could’ve secured the league title much earlier. Rodrigo Moreno comes in from Valencia to hopefully rectify that problem, he is a Spanish international and you don’t get those caps for nothing, he should fit in well and get plenty of chances this season. Ben White may not have returned but Robin Koch, another international, is a classy signing at centre-half.
I do think given the quite similar nature of how these two plays that they could cancel each other out. Teams are likely to be rustier than seasons before given the lack of preparation this summer and I’m therefore surprised to see the goal line set quite high. Liverpool are much more controlled than they were in the early years of Klopp and his ‘heavy metal football’ whereas Leeds were strong at the back last season too.
Two plays appeal here but I’m only going to have a point on each with it being the opening weekend. Firstly, the 13/8 on under 2.5 goals looks a bit too big to ignore. Secondly, the 11/4 on the game being 0-0 going into the break looks huge compared to what it usually is for premier league games. I expect it to be a very interesting watch from a tactical perspective but overall I’m expect two strong defences to be on top at Anfield.