Liverpool play host to Leeds United on Saturday for the West Yorkshire club’s long-awaited return to the top-flight (5:30pm kick-off).
Liverpool confirmed XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Leeds confirmed XI: Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Struijk, Dallas; Phillips, Hélder Costa, Pablo Hernández, Klich, Harrison; Bamford
The Premier League rarely does things half measure, with the 2020/21 fixture list providing fans with a feast to close the opening day as two of football’s greatest minds come together at Anfield for a tactical battle of wits. Jurgen Klopp v Marcelo Bielsa has all the ingredients for a mouthwatering subplot.
The Reds will be looking to defend their title but enter the season off the back of a disappointing Community Shield penalty shootout defeat to Arsenal. Klopp will be hoping that concerning Wembley prelude does not spill over to the opening game of the campaign.
Perhaps the worst opening-day fixture for the German then, is Leeds. Given the meticulous, almost obsessive nature of Bielsa, he will have his Leeds side well-versed in everything Liverpool, and having had ample time to prepare, they will be ready when the whistle sounds at Anfield.
But who will come out on top in this battle of two of English football’s most historic clubs?
Where to watch Liverpool vs Leeds on TV:
- UK: Sky Sports Premier League & Sky Sports Main Event
- US: NBC
Where to live stream Liverpool vs Leeds:
US ONLY: Fubo* are streaming a selection of Premier League fixtures live for account holders. Those without a Fubo account already can take advantage of their seven-day free trial by following the simple steps below.
- Click on this link.
- Click ‘Start Your Free Trial’ and enter your details.
- Log in and pick your desired channel to watch.
*Geo restrictions apply. Fubo is currently available in the United States, Canada and Spain. Packages and pricing differ per country.
UK: Readers with Sky subscriptions can visit the website or Sky Go app.
Liverpool & Leeds ‘s previous line-ups:
Liverpool (vs Arsenal): Alisson; Williams, Van Dijk, Gomez, Robertson; Milner, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Leeds (vs Charlton): Meslier; Ayling, White, Cooper; Harrison, Strujik, Dallas Alioski; Klich, Hernandez; Bamford.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri are confirmed absentees for this contest, as is new signing Konstantinos Tsimikas who tested positive for coronavirus while on international duty with Greece. Club captain Jordan Henderson is also unlikely to feature having missed pre-season with a knee injury.
The only major concern for Bielsa is that to Gaetano Berardi, who will definitely remain on the sidelines with an ACL injury.
Liverpool were English football’s undisputed team in 2019/20, and they showed that by registering 85 goals across the Premier League season, meanwhile a division below Leeds were flexing their attacking prowess albeit playing eight games more. That being said, it will be curious to see if Bielsa’s side are capable of producing similar numbers, especially when it comes to attempting passes considering that’s a hallmark of his coaching.
Players to watch:
Liverpool: For the past four seasons Mohamed Salah has netted an opening-day goal. For Roma he scored in a 4-0 win over Udinese in 2016/17, and across the previous three campaigns for Liverpool he has netted on matchday one, against Watford, West Ham and Norwich. The Egyptian will now be hoping to replicate his exploits from last season and put a newly-promoted club to the sword on the opening fixture. Bielsa’s side conceded just 35 goals in the Championship last season, so will not be as open or expansive as Norwich, but when Salah is on song, there are few defences capable of keeping him quiet.
Leeds: Liverpool will execute their usual gameplan, which is to dominate the ball, press high, and press hard. That means Leeds will need players comfortable on the ball, able to compose themselves when a swarm of red shirts engulf them, and few are as level-headed in possession than Kalvin Phillips. The academy gem picked up his first England cap before his first Premier League appearance, but he will now have the chance to showcase his talents on the grand stage.