After the conjecture of the will he or won’t he sign transfer saga, all that can be put to one side, for one day at least, as the competitive action returns on Saturday
The opening day of the 2020-21 Premier League season sees a battle of the two champions as top-flight winners Liverpool welcome Championship winners Leeds United to Anfield on Saturday evening.
Back in the big time after a 16-year absence, life couldn’t get off to a trickier start for Marcelo Bielsa’s men, a visit to last years runaway champions presents the sternest test of all as the Argentinian manager looks to plot his way to what he hopes will be a comfortable survival.
For Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp will be hopeful his side can get back to their pre-title clinching form as they rather dipped from their usual extremely high standards somewhat having wrapped up the league with a number of matches remaining.
Leeds will welcome their record transfer Rodrigo to the squad, the Spaniard arrived from Valencia from a reported £27 million fee. He will be joined by another new arrival, German defender Robin Koch, who joined the Elland Road side from Bundesliga outfit SC Freiburg, marking Leeds’ eighth summer signing.
The Reds have had a somewhat quieter summer in terms of arrivals, thus far only confirming the signing of Greek left-back Kostas Tsimikas to provide cover for Andy Robertson, although it is unlikely the former Olympiakos man will feature on Saturday having recently tested positive for COVID-19.
It’s difficult to predict the pattern this contest will take, both sides have been used to dominating proceedings in recent times and both managers implement very desperate tactical styles.
Being the home side Klopp and Liverpool will be hoping to stamp their authority on the match early as they attempt to implement their high-intensity pressing style on the Premier League new boys.
Bielsa is widely regarded as one of the greatest tacticians in the game, his approach to his one could be well worth taking note of.
Liverpool will be without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who returned home from a pre-season training camp in Austria with a knee issue. Whilst the availability of the aforementioned Tsimikas is unknown at this stage.
There are doubts but chances for the likes of Reds captain Jordan Henderson, Xherdan Shaqiri and Gini Wijnaldum – who has been subject to plenty of transfer and contract speculation in recent days.
Bielsa has pretty much a full-strength squad to choose from as he goes in search of what he hopes will be a positive start to life back in the Premier League for the Yorkshire club.
Despite Leeds United’s exploits last term Liverpool will be out to show anyone who doubts them they mean business once more and are in fact the team to beat in 2020/21.
Liverpool 3-0 Leeds United