The Premier League 29th Season provides champions vs champions clash as last season’s top-flight winners, Liverpool welcomes the Championship winners Leeds United to Anfield stadium.
Life back in the Premier League after 16-years of absence could not get off to a tougher start for Leeds United. On the other side, Liverpool will aim to defend their championship with a winning start after ending their 30-year trophy dry spell.
Memories of last season’s relentless, remarkable and record-breaking charge to the Premier League title has not faded yet for the Reds. But now, Jurgen Klopp is quite aware the tables have been refreshed and the race begins in the very first game. Probably, the club has turned its mindset back to the 2018/19 season when they knew any dropped point at any stage of the season could prove costly.
Liverpool will be confident to step up to the new season. There is likely to be motivation from outside sources too as they will need to defend the title and prove to be the greatest team English football has ever seen.
Since April 2017, Klopp’s side are unbeaten at Anfield making it a run of 59 matches. This is a commendable record. Although, Marcelo Bielsa feels that matchday one is a good time as any to face the champions away.
The visitors, Leeds United have a good record on an opening day too. Having played more games on matchday one without losing than any other Premier League team in history, winning five and drawing seven of their previous 12.
Leeds ended their last season in fine form and arrived on Merseyside with five wins from their last six away games. Nonetheless, the Whites will feel that they are well equipped to compete in the top tier.
Leeds will at least be confident of scoring with Liverpool having kept one clean sheet in their last nine outings including the pre-season.
Not since April 2001 has Leeds beaten Liverpool. And as it is that sometimes football can be unpredictable, they might just beet Liverpool or else loose.
Liverpool could be forced to start without their captain Jordan Henderson. The midfielder continues to struggle with a knee injury carried over from the last term.
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is also sidelined with a similar problem, while Xherdan Shaqiri is out with a muscle injury. The new signing Kostas Tsimikas is unavailable to make his debut after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Elsewhere, Klopp may consider resting joy Gomez after he played the full 90 minutes in both of England’s Nations League matches, although the center-back is expected to start alongside last season’s ever-present Virgil van Dijk.
Mohamed Salah will be looking to create another slice of Premier League history by scoring in a fourth successive opening fixture, a feat only previously achieved by Teddy Sheringham.
It is also bound to be a significant day for Leeds-born James Milner who, if he features, will have played in Leeds’ last 31 Premier League games despite their 16-year absence from the top flight.
The visitors come into the game with a relatively clean bill of health but will still be without Adam Forshaw, who continues to struggle with a hip injury.
The likes of Helder Costa and newly-capped England midfielder Kalvin Phillips have returned to fitness during the break.
Club-record signing Rodrigo is expected to lead the line for his debut, and if that is the case then it would be his first Premier League appearance since a loan spell with Bolton Wanderers in 2010-11.