The Premier League season is finally back on Saturday, albeit still behind closed doors, and Liverpool will be taking on last years Championship title winners Leeds United for their first fixture of the campaign. The defence for the Premier League crown will start at 5:30pm live on Sky Sports and Leeds United will be wanting to come back to the top division with a bang to send shockwaves through the footballing world.
Unsurprisingly obsessive Marcelo Bielsa will be in a confident mood that his tactical meetings and plans that he may have been putting together for the past few weeks will work catching Liverpool on the backfoot. Bielsa said that “we’re going to play there” which shows that he is certainly not shying away from his style of play just to face the champions and to all but confirm that he said that “to begin we will try to play the same way.”
He also stated that “Anfield is only Anfield if it’s full.” Meaning that he certainly is not scared to rile up his team and even Liverpool’s squad and management however it may be a compliment to the supporters as the wrath of Anfield cannot be felt without the bellowing voices from the Kop.
Whatever the Argentine meant it was great to see him in a cheeky and fiery attitude which is what the whole of the Premier League should be anticipating from himself and the Leeds squad.
New signings Rodrigo and Koch will be in contention to play for Leeds as Bielsa said “they are in very good physical condition ahead of the game.” The only absentee for Leeds is Forshaw who is a “separate case.” So Bielsa has all of his squad to pick from that done him so well last season apart from defender Ben White as Brighton did not sell him to Leeds. That may be a real blow for Leeds as he was a star man last campaign, but it also depends on how well Koch settles in.
The hosts Liverpool will certainly not be underestimating Leeds’ qualities but Klopp was in a relaxed and also, like Bielsa in a cheeky mood. Jurgen said that ‘’We haven’t see any suspicious people around our training ground this week.’’ Obviously referencing the shenanigans that was from two seasons ago when Leeds got caught spying on Derby County’s training session.
Klopp was in a complimentary mood towards Leeds stating that they ‘’won’t open up and be naïve’’ and then went onto say that ‘’they will do well in the Premier League 100%.’’ So that will give Leeds fans a little smile ahead of the most anticipated game for their supporters in years.
Rumoured want away midfielder Gini Wijnaldum will likely be in contention to start the game on Saturday as Klopp said in his press conference that “I’ve spoken to him since he came back from International duty.But that’s all.” He then later explained that “It’s all good with Gini. Absolutely fine about the future as far as we are involved. I can’t speak about a few years, but it’s all good for the moment.”
So therefore there has been no bids or no contact from Barcelona confirmed for Wijnaldum so for now he will be staying and due to him being so crucial to Klopp’s plans it would not be a surprise to see him stay for at least one more year.
Klopp said for team news regarding Henderson, Shaqiri and Tsimikas being involved in some way that it is “Not decided yet. They are in training.” Furthermore according to Klopp Henderson “looks rather promising.” So potentially good news for Liverpool as their skipper may be returning back into the first team, most likely the midfielder will be on the bench rather than getting thrown into the deep end straight away.
With the likes of Minamino, Keita and Curtis Jones performing really well in pre-season there is a positive dilemma on Klopp’s hands. The German was using the 4-2-3-1 in the friendlies before the new season and Minamino looked like he has really settled in and ready to have an influence on the first eleven so there shouldn’t be a surprise if the Japanese international starts with Klopp changing the system from the usual 4-3-3.
The Premier League champions against the Championship title winners, Klopp versus Bielsa, Liverpool versus Leeds what a game this could be.
Written by Elliot Thompson