Leeds United vs Liverpool: El Loco takes on heavy metal football
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Jurgen Klopp once famously compared his playing style as ‘heavy metal football’. However, it’s fair to say that this season has been a lot less Rammstein and a lot more Atomic Kitten.
This has been a long, hard season for Liverpool, but even though they will end it without silverware, they are still in contention for a top-four finish.
The Reds have won three straight Premier League games, and despite sitting sixth, they’re in touching distance of the Champions League places.
The returns of Diogo Jota and Fabinho have undoubtedly helped their recent form. What’s more, Mo Salah is once again finding the back of the net and Trent Alexander-Arnold also seems to have found a bit of momentum. Perhaps missing out on an England call-up may have lit a fire inside his belly.
Nevertheless, this weekend’s clash with Leeds will prove to be a massive test of Liverpool’s top-four credentials. Marcelo Bielsa put on a managerial masterclass in Leeds’ 2-1 win over Man City and the Whites will take no liberties when Klopp’s men arrive at Elland Road.
Key battle zone
Leeds took Liverpool to the absolute limit when they lost 4-3 earlier this season. Jurgen Klopp’s men held on for the three points, but let’s not forget how their goals were scored.
Two of them came from the penalty spot, one from a corner and one from a free-kick. Clearly, the difference on that day was Liverpool’s ability to punish Leeds for their every mistake.
On the other hand, all of Leeds United’s goals came from open play. Liverpool struggled to prevent the Whites from penetrating their defence and asking questions of Alisson Becker.
Avoiding individual errors will be key if Leeds are to win. We know that the Whites can score, but there’s no use in scoring three if you’re going to concede four.
Liverpool may be sixth in the standings, but they still have enough quality to really hurt Leeds. The likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota could have a field day if the Whites are not defensively on point.
Keep an eye on… Fabinho
It’s no surprise that Liverpool’s form has picked up ever since Fabinho returned from injury.
The Brazilian is an almighty figure in the heart of Liverpool’s midfield not only as a player but also as a leader. The 27-year-old replaced the injured Jordan Henderson as captain and he’s done well to galvanise the team in recent weeks.
Fabinho has spent the majority of this season playing as a makeshift centre-back as the Reds struggled with a defensive injury crisis.
The Brazil international is now back in his preferred role as a defensive midfielder and he has impressed since returning to action in March.
With Leeds expected to be a real attacking threat, Fabinho will play a key role in providing cover for his centre-backs and creating an offensive platform for the Reds.
One to watch… Mo Salah
Salah experienced a bit of a dry spell in late February and early March having failed to score in four successive games.
Nevertheless, the Premier League’s joint-top scorer seems to have rediscovered some form after bagging four goals in his last six Liverpool appearances.
The Egypt international scored a hat-trick in his last game against Leeds and the forward will be looking for more as he targets another Golden Boot this season.
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