The long awaited rearranged game is upon us, after the original date was postponed due to Leeds’ covid outbreak.
Leeds travel to Anfield this Wednesday evening, for yet another tough test in their pursuit for top flight survival. Marcelo Bielsa and his Lilywhites hover in 15th position in the Premier League, just 5 points clear of the relegation spots. After their 2-4 home defeat to Manchester United at the weekend, this next game will surely offer no respite.
With a somewhat limited squad to pick a strong side from, Bielsa will be without the brilliant Kalvin Phillips, Liam Cooper, Patrick Bamford, Leo Fuhr Hjelde and Sam Grenwood, though Robin Kock may be available. Leeds are in trouble, and it means outside of Raphina coming back into the side, whichever eleven that starts could be in for a long nights work.
For Jurgen Klopp, this is Cup Final week territory, with Chelsea awaiting this Sunday at Wembley. The League Cup final may well see a near exact starting line up that starts against Leeds, so it will be full strength for Liverpool . The rotation of the reds has become evident recently, with the depth of a nearly fully fit squad used as required. After their 3-1 win (at home to Norwich) on Saturday, the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Fabinho, Thiago and Harvey Elliott are all looking to come back into the team. Divock Origi and Ibrahima Konate will also be looking to get the nod.
Liverpool will be looking to control every area of the pitch, yet the pace of Raphina and Dan James will still have to be managed, as the reds look to maintain their superb high line. In a game where both sides will look to maximize their off ball work, it could well descend into a basketball type game at times, and decisiveness in front of goal will prove pivotal.
Both teams are desperate for points, though for exact opposite reasons, which should make for an entertaining game. With Cup Final places still up for grabs, Liverpool will have players keen to impress, and that should be the difference in an intriguing contest. Leeds are conceding goals, and Liverpool continue to look ruthless when required, so a home win should be the end result.
Leeds are close to being dragged into a full blown relegation battle, and the teams below them are starting to pick up points. A heavy defeat must be avoided, but their recent form is a major concern, especially with so many key players sidelined.
A home win would take Liverpool within 3 points of leaders Manchester City, and that would make the title race a contest once more.
Player to watch – Harvey Elliott
Liverpool 5 – 0 Leeds