The long-awaited English Premier League starts on Saturday, September 12. One of the most interesting matches of the 1st round will take place at Anfield, when Liverpool begin the defence of their Premier League title against Leeds United, the newly-promoted leaders of the Championship. The difference in class seems obvious,but Leeds can surprise. The club even won the Premier League back in the 1991-92 season. So, what to expect from the upcoming clash?
Champions are not born
Before Jurgen Klopp, the Reds were in a deep pit. During Klopp’s first season, Liverpool reached the finals of the Football League Cup and UEFA Europa League, but lost to Manchester City and Sevilla respectively.
The following year the Reds engaged in the race and finished the season in the 4th place, thus, securing a spot in the Champions League.
Klopp took Liverpool to successive Champions League finals in 2018 and 2019. In the 2018 Champions League Final Liverpool lost to Real Madrid (3-1). At that time, the club purchased many expensive top-players, including Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah. They became the main attacking force of Liverpool and the nightmare for any opponent’s defence. By the way, Salah was named the Premier League Player of the Season in 2017-18.
The club finished second in the 2018-19, falling only 1 point behind Manchester City. However, in the Champions League Final that year the Merseyside giants defeated Tottenham and won the trophy.
Liverpool went on to win the 2019-20 Premier League earlier, with seven games remaining. It was their first Premier League title in thirty years.
Obviously, it was a long journey from the average club to the leader of the League. We are eager to see what the Reds have prepared for us this season.
Out of the frying pan into the firehouse
Leeds’ story is very much alike. However, the club changed not the coach only, but the owner as well. In December 2016, Massimo Cellino started negotiations on the selling of the club. In January 2017, Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani purchased a 50% stake in the club. Meanwhile, Leeds finished 7th in the Championship and lost their chance for promotion to the Premier League.
Garry Monk resigned as head coach after one season at the club. He was replaced by Thomas Christiansen. After a bed run of games, Christiansen was sacked, leaving the team 10th in the Championship table. His replacement, Paul Heckingbottom, resigned 4 months after the appointment, not being able to change the situation, and the club finished 13th.
In 2018, Leeds’ new investors, 49ers Enterprises, who also own NFL San Francisco, confirmed Marcelo Bielsa as Leeds new manager. It took Bielsa one year to take the Peacocks to the top flight.
During the transfer window, the club purchased 6 new players, having spent almost €70mln.
We hope that after 16-year absence Leeds are ready for their first match in the top division.
Bookies don’t believe in the miraculous resurrection of Leeds, given the odds of 10.5 on their victory. Draw result also seems unlikely, with the odds of 6.3.
Of course, Liverpool (the odds – 1.27) are the favourites of the match.