Liverpool host Leeds at Anfield in the English Premier League on Wednesday night. The Reds can move three points off the top of the table by winning this game in hand. Marcelo Bielsa’s team are just five points above the relegation zone and have leaked 50 goals in 24 matches this season. With a cup final on the horizon, can Liverpool avoid distractions and breath new life into the title race?
Klopp’s team are in sensational form. They have lost just once in 22 matches in all competitions, a 1-0 defeat at Leicester where they missed several glaring opportunities. They’ve responded to that loss with an 11-match unbeaten run and have won eight in a row despite losing three players to the Africa Cup of Nations.
They have won their last five league games by a 12-2 aggregate as they beat Brentford 3-0, won 3-1 at Crystal Palace (albeit thanks to some fine Alisson saves) and beat Leicester 2-0 at home. A 1-0 win at Burnley followed before a 2-0 win away at Inter Milan. Despite 20 poor minutes in the second half, they ground out a win in the San Siro thanks to two set plays. They were trailing 1-0 at home to Norwich after 63 minutes in their last match. Goals from Mane, Salah and Diaz in an 18-minute blitz secured a 3-1 victory.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool look set to be without both Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino due to injury. The quick assimilation of Luis Diaz should see him start in the front three with Salah possibly playing through the middle.
The rest of the squad is fit and some changes are expected from the Norwich win. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson will return at fullback after weekend rests, as will Fabinho in midfield. Thiago Alcantara is also due a recall in midfield.
Klopp has stated that this match is the priority and not the League Cup final on Sunday. All attention is on beating Leeds and closing the gap to three points at the top of the log.
Liverpool will attack and look for a large margin of victory with their goal difference currently -2 worse than Man City’s.
Leeds sit five points clear of the relegation places. They have conceded more than two goals per match with 50 leaked in 24 games. With five defeats in their last nine in all competitions, the side is lacking confidence right now.
The side looked in grave relegation danger after losing three matches in a row. They bounced back to beat bottom-placed Burnley 3-1 at home before a shock 3-2 victory at West Ham where they looked like their old selves. Their next four PL matches have seen just one point gained as 10 goals were conceded. A 3-0 thrashing at Everton was followed by losing 4-2 at home to Man Utd having come back from 2-0 down to 2-2 at one stage.
Leeds Team News
The injury woes at Leeds are set to continue. Patrick Bamford is absent so Bielsa must choose between Dan James and Joe Gelhardt upfront. Raphinha is set for a recall on the right-wing having been dropped after his first-half showing at Everton – he scored from the bench v Man Utd.
Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips remain absent in central defence and central midfield respectively. Leo Fuhr Hjelde is also missing at the back and Robin Koch has a concussion and is set for about 10 days out of action.
Leeds would take a draw in this match but they are still going to attack and play a very open, aggressive game. They won’t shut up shop if they are trailing, not if they take a lead. Bielsa has been quite quick to act with his substitutions to throw on even more attackers and is not going to change his DNA now.
LFC have won their last 5 PL matches (12-2 aggregate score)
Liverpool have lost just once in 22 matches (all comps)
Liverpool have seen over 2.5 goals in 8 of their last 10 home matches
Leeds have lost 5 of their last 9 matches (all comps)
Leeds are 2.08 goals conceded per match
Leeds have conceded 8 goals in their last 3 matches vs LFC
This match looks likely to be a Liverpool win. The question is how to find betting value. Backing a victory on the spread looks a wise move, as does a Liverpool plus goals bet.
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