AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Liverpool v Leeds United

It’s The League We All Love…. GULP. They say to start as you mean to go on, and the Premier League certainly can’t be accused of that with a number of big name fixtures on the opening weekend, including a meetup of Champions Liverpool against Leeds, winners of the Championship.

The last time Leeds were in the promised land was 2003/04, the season of Arsenal’s Invincibles, with Alan Shearer scoring 22 goals whilst The Lord of The Rings and Finding Nemo drew big theatre audiences and Radiohead’s Hail To The Thief provided an angry soundtrack to it all.

Time has changed but observers certainly don’t think Leeds will struggle in the new era – Leeds are just 2/1 for a top half finish with Star Sports, 4/9 to be the best promoted team and 12/1 to be the best side without the ‘Big Six’ to boot.

Such quotes wouldn’t surprise onlookers who remember Leeds’ phenomenal first half performance against Arsenal in the FA Cup, when the hosts had 15 (yes, 15) first half shots on target and somehow didn’t go in ahead – whilst they were Championship winners by ten points over West Brom (in the Premier League as recently as 2017/18 and then fourth in 2018/19).

Much discussion around Leeds revolves around the influence of Marcelo Bielsa and his pressing tactics, but last season their improved defence was the difference between glory and disappointment, with nine 1-0 wins including a key trio against Bristol City, Reading, and Middlesbrough that put their title challenge back on track.

Life in the Premier League will obviously be more challenging but Leeds have moved impressively in the transfer market, securing the loan deals of Helder Costa and Jack Harrison whilst the impressive Ben White has been replaced by Freiburg’s Robin Koch, who has always been comfortable with the ball at his feet. The big addition however is Rodrigo from Valencia – the 29-year-old had 13 goal contributions in La Liga last term as well as four in the Campions League, and hopefully will be an asset to help Patrick Bamford (16 Championship goals) find the net more often.

Liverpool v Leeds United
Premier League
17:30 Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD

(Maximum 10 matches, since 2010)
NOV 2016 EFL CUP Liverpool 2-0 Leeds

There’s arguably no more daunting task than facing Liverpool first up, but maybe this is not the worst time to be going to Anfield – a patch of two defeats and a draw in seven games at the end of the season has robbed some of the invincibility away from Liverpool, who grew into their Community Shield clash against Arsenal but didn’t look red-hot for a side with more pre-season football under their belts than than the Gunners.

They should be fitter for that outing and will come here at all but full strength – Jordan Henderson is likely to miss out thanks to his knee injury, but he’s not too far from being back in first team contention – but it’s possible that this won’t be the stroll for Liverpool that the market thinks this is.

Norwich came to Anfield as Championship winners at the beginning of last season and were taken apart despite playing some fine football themselves – Leeds look to be much better prepared for this big occasion and they can keep the score reasonably close. 4/5 about them with a 1.75 goal start on the Asian Handicap – where we would win if Leeds lose by a goal, and lose half our strake if Liverpool win by 2 – makes appeal.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Leeds + 1.75 on Asian H’Cap 3 pts at 4/5 with

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