There is just the one match in the Premier League on Sunday for us to enjoy but it is one of the historical classic fixtures as Leeds United host Liverpool in what feels like a big match for both sides even this early in the season.
Leeds have come out of the blocks quite slowly this term and need to have used the international break wisely to reset and go again. Only a masterclass from the Chelsea keeper has denied Liverpool a perfect start so they are in good touch.
After a season where they were a breath of fresh air, there is just the slight danger of the second season syndrome hitting Marcelo Bielsa’s men if they are not careful. They have begun the season with a couple of draws after a good hiding by Manchester United but they had to come from behind in both those stalemates. If they were suddenly to find goals hard to come by then with a wide open defence and a keeper who inspires little confidence in a punter they could easily slide where they don’t want to be.
This is probably one of the big danger matches for Leeds. Last season when they came up against the big boys there was a naivety to them. They got off to a decent start to the campaign though so they could afford to play with that freedom. After three winless matches they probably need to play a little more conservatively but that isn’t generally how they go about their business. That adds a different dynamic to this one.
You get the feeling Liverpool have come into the season with a bit of a chip on their shoulder that everyone was talking about Manchester City and Chelsea as far as the title race is concerned, and even Manchester United but not so much Liverpool. They have come out of the blocks fast this term but wins over Norwich and Burnley aren’t exactly going to be gaining on the field. The draw with Chelsea might but we should remember that prior to the sending off they were behind in that game.
I don’t have Liverpool as champions this season because of who will be leaving in January, assuming they actually let them go, but their form has to be recognised. In the main they have been untroubled defensively and are looking good in attacking areas so they will head across the Pennines in good spirits and believing they can pick up another three points. A win here would leave them nicely placed as they begin their European campaign in midweek.
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Leeds could give a debut to Daniel James after they finally landed their man on deadline day. Raphinha has been cleared to play now while Stuart Dallas has been passed fit. Mateusz Klich has recovered from Covid-19.
Liverpool will be without Roberto Firmino for this contest but the concerns over the injury to Virgil van Dijk in midweek were unfounded and he appears to be fine to play in this match. Alisson Becker and Fabinho have both been cleared to play.
I am a little concerned about Leeds at the minute I have to admit. I’m not a massive fan of Patrick Bamford and if the support acts to him get shackled I’m not convinced there is a lot in this Leeds side offensively while defensively they have never really been any better than competent but even then they get opened up by the big sides all too often for my liking. Aside from a passionate home support behind them, I’m not sure what the hosts have going for them here.
On the same token, I’m not as hung up on Liverpool as some seem to be but I do appreciate they are playing well and have the players in the attacking areas to get the job done here against a fragile defence which even Burnley were creating chances at will against. We might find out a lot more about just how strong Liverpool are defensively in this match but I still expect them to come out on top. I’ll add some value to the price and take them to win and there be over 1.5 goals in the game as 1-0 Liverpool doesn’t feel like a hugely likely final outcome.
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