Elland Road forms the backdrop for Monday night’s Premier League action as Leeds United trade tackles with Liverpool looking to put some daylight between themselves and the relegation zone.
The Lilywhites suffered a capitulating 5-1 home defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Crystal Palace, leaving them just two points above the bottom three.
Leeds still stand a fighting chance of avoiding the drop for the first time since they won promotion in the 2020/21 campaign, but they need to return to winning ways sooner than later.
They will feel fairly confident about giving Liverpool a run for their money, with the Reds also winning just one of their last five games.
The Merseysiders mustered a back-from-the-dead performance in front of their home supporters to steal a draw against Premier League leaders Arsenal last time out.
Jurgen Klopp will hope last weekend’s result marks a turnaround for his side at this crucial stage of the season, as the Reds still fancy their chances of a late push for a top-four spot.
Leeds had no answer to Palace’s new manager bounce last weekend, succumbing to a demoralising defeat to the Eagles, who have soared further away from the relegation zone since Roy Hudson returned to Selhurst Park.
Javi Gracia’s side imposed themselves in the opening period of the game, taking the lead in the 21st minute through Patrick Bamford, but Marc Guehi restored parity in first-half stoppage time.
However, Palace took the tie by the scruff of its neck as Eberechi Eze, Odsonne Edouard, and Jordan Ayew (2) scored in the second half following a Jekyll and Hyde performance from the Lilywhites.
Despite the thumping defeat, Leeds’ chances of surviving the relegation dogfight remains strong, especially with Gracia at the helm, as they have lost just three of their seven games under the Spaniard’s stewardship (W3, D1).
They will hope last weekend’s result is only a blip in their survival bid, and grabbing only their second-ever league double over Liverpool will do wonders for their confidence, having won the reverse fixture 2-1 at Anfield in October.
However, running a tight ship at the back will be paramount to realising their ambitions, having conceded ten goals in their three league games in April (W1, L2), more than any other team thus far this month.
Leeds have also won all four of their league games when starting the day in the relegation zone. But they have managed just one win from their last 23 league games when starting the day outside the bottom three (D7, L15).
Liverpool have been poor this season by their very high standards, and an overhauling reset will be needed this summer to ensure campaigns like this one are a one-off.
However, despite their flailing form, Anfield remains a fortress too strong to penetrate, and the Reds ensured their pride and dignity on home turf remained intact despite facing title-chasing league leaders Arsenal.
Mikel Arteta’s side raced to a two-goal lead inside the opening half an hour, and it seemed like Klopp’s side were on course for another horrific Premier League outing.
Mohamed Salah handed the Reds a lifeline late in the first half, but the Egyptian squandered a chance to put his side level in the second half, sending his shot from the penalty spot off target.
However, striking partner Roberto Firmino did his soon-to-be former side a solid getting on the end of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s inch-perfect cross to rescue a draw in front of their home supporters.
A strong result against the relentless Gunners is a solid enough platform for the Reds to build upon for the remainder of the season if they still harbour a desire to steal a last-gasp place in next season’s Champions League.
Sitting 12 points behind Manchester United with nine games to go does not bode well for their chances, but a positive result against Leeds will be a solid start to realising their improbable ambitions.
Liverpool haven’t lost any of their last five league visits to Elland Road against Leeds (W3, D2) since losing 4-3 in November 2000, so another routine victory could be on the cards on Monday night.
The Reds will also be keen to halt their unwanted winless record, having gone the last five games in all competitions (D2, L3) without recording a victory.
They have never gone six without a win under Klopp’s stewardship, with the German himself last going six games without a victory during his time as Borussia Dortmund boss.
However, their appalling away form in the league this season leaves little to be desired, with Liverpool averaging 0.87 points-per-game on the road this season (13 points in 15 away games) – their lowest in a campaign since 1992/93 (0.76 – 16 points in 21 games).
Premier League form
Leeds United: DWLWL
Stuart Dallas and Tyler Adams remain sidelined with injuries while Maximilian Wober trained with the squad this week, but the Liverpool clash could come too soon for the defender.
Following last weekend’s disaster class, Gracia could opt to shuffle his pack with Wilfried Gnonto returning to the attacking line, while Rasmus Kristensen, Liam Cooper, and Rodrigo can also look forward to recalls.
Meanwhile, Stefan Bajcetic (adductor), Naby Keita (muscle) and Calvin Ramsay (knee) are still confined to the Liverpool medical room.
The Reds are also sweating over the fitness of Alisson Becker and Ibrahima Konate, with both players missing a couple of training sessions this week.
It remains to be seen if they will be available for the weekday encounter, but Luis Diaz could mark his long-awaited return from a serious knee injury by starting the Leeds game on the bench.
Leeds United potential starting line-up:
(4-3-2-1): Illan Meslier; Rasmus Kristensen, Robin Koch, Liam Cooper, Junior Firpo; Weston McKennie, Marc Roca; Jack Harrison, Rodrigo, Wilfried Gnonto; Patrick Bamford.
Liverpool potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate, Virgil Van Dijk, Andrew Robertson; Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara; Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez.
How to Watch?
Leeds vs Liverpool, alongside all other fixtures in England’s top flight, is available to watch online via live Premier League streams.
We Say: Leeds United 1-2 Liverpool
Teams in the bottom half of the Premier League standings have been a thorn in Liverpool’s flesh this season, so Leeds will fancy their chances against the shaky Reds.
Liverpool’s poor away form could also prove the architect of their own demise, but they should have enough in their armoury to expose Leeds’ shaky backline and rally to victory.
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