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Under pressure Klopp can’t afford to slip up against Leeds

Liverpool travel to Elland Road to take on a struggling Leeds United side on Monday night and Jurgen Klopp knows his men simply cannot afford to slip up. 

jurgen klopp liverpool 2020

Liverpool travel to Elland Road to take on a struggling Leeds United side on Monday night and Jurgen Klopp knows his men simply cannot afford to slip up as they look to close in on the Champions League qualification places.

It’s certainly been a season to forget at Anfield. Heading into the 2022/23 campaign, most expected Liverpool to be once again challenging Manchester City for the Premier League title and fighting for top trophies. However, a disastrous season has left them without a trophy and in a real battle to even finish in the top four.

Things looked to have turned a corner when Liverpool thrashed rivals Manchester United 7-0 at the start of March. However, they haven’t won since and have suffered painful defeats to Bournemouth and Manchester City recently, while Real Madrid easily dispatched of them in the Champions League with a 6-2 aggregate win over the two legs.

A dire 0-0 draw at Chelsea was followed by a more entertaining 2-2 draw with leaders Arsenal at Anfield last time out. The Gunners looked to be blowing Liverpool away after racing into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus. However, Mohamed Salah pulled one back before half time and Liverpool looked back to their usual selves in the second half. Klopp’s side were rampant against the Londoners and had the chances to win the game but ultimately had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

While the point does little to boost their hopes of finishing in the top four, it will give Klopp hope that a return to their best form isn’t too far away. The second half against Arsenal was arguably the best Liverpool have played for some time and was full of passion, energy and quality – qualities they have lacked in most of their displays this season.

However, while there were encouraging signs last weekend, Liverpool still languish way down in eighth position in the table – nine points adrift of fourth-placed Man Utd. The Reds do have a game in hand but with just 8 further games remaining, Liverpool have no room left to drop silly points if they want to make a late charge for the Champions League qualification places.

Impact

Missing out on the top four would obviously be a huge blow for Liverpool, but it will also have a detrimental impact on their summer transfer plans. They’ve already pulled out of the race to sign Jude Bellingham due to the financial package required to sign the £130m-rated Borussia Dortmund midfielder. With the likes of Man City, Real Madrid and Man Utd all vying for his signature, the price-tag could go even higher, so you can understand why Liverpool have backed away.

They need to overhaul their midfield this summer and bring in at least two players in the middle of the park so they can’t afford to splash £130m+ on just one player. No to mention that Klopp’s budget will be slashed if they don’t have the Champions League money to look forward to next season.

Therefore, it’s imperative Liverpool come away with all three points when they take on Leeds on Monday night. And they should be quietly confident of doing so as Leeds come into the game off the back of a humiliating 5-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace. That result has left them sitting 16th in the table and just two points above the relegation zone, so they desperately need to get back on track with a positive result at Elland Road.

How to watch

Despite their poor form this season, demand for Liverpool tickets is as strong as ever so it will be very difficult to secure a ticket through official channels. You can buy via a reselling site such as seatsnet.com, or perhaps some Liverpool fans may try and buy a ticket in the home end as there have been some empty seats at Elland Road recently due to their poor form.

The good news is that those who aren’t lucky enough to attend the match in person will still be able to watch all the action live on Sky Sports on Monday night.

Fitness concerns

The last thing Klopp needs right now is more injuries, but unfortunately his No.1 goalkeeper Alisson Becker hasn’t been able to train this week due to a knock. The Brazilian will try and take part in individual training today to put himself in contention to face Leeds on Monday.

Ibrahima Konate is also a minor doubt for the trip to Elland Road. The Frenchman has missed the last two training sessions due to an unspecified issue but Klopp is hopeful the centre-back will train with the rest of the first team at Melwood today.

Liverpool could welcome Luis Diaz back into the squad. The winger has been building up his fitness in training in recent weeks after recovering from a long-term knee injury and Klopp could put him on the bench against Leeds. Diaz will hope to get some minutes under his belt as a substitute as he looks to put his injury woes behind him.

Elsewhere, Liverpool will definitely be without Calvin Ramsey and Stefan Bajcetic while Naby Keita is also still struggling with a muscle issue that’s hampered him in recent weeks.

If Klopp opts to make some changes to his starting eleven, then Thiago Alcantara is pushing for a recall after impressing off the bench last weekend having returned to fitness. Roberto Firmino could also start after scoring the late equaliser against the Gunners while Darwin Nunez, Harvey Elliott and Joel Matip are also options for Klopp.

As for Leeds, they’ll be without Tyler Adams due to a thigh issue, Stuart Dallas is also out with a muscle problem while Max Wober will need a late fitness test.

Prediction

This is a big game for both clubs, but for very different reasons. Leeds desperately need a positive result to boost their survival hopes whereas Liverpool know anything less than a win may spell the end of their chances of qualifying for the Champions League. Especially if Man Utd and Newcastle United both win over the weekend.

Leeds have the ability to turn up and put-in a good performance when the big boys come to Elland Road, and the home crowd will want to make it an intimidating atmosphere on Monday night. However, Liverpool should have too much quality in the end. Despite their inconsistent form, the superb display in the second half against Arsenal will give Klopp optimism heading into this game.

If the Reds came replicate that performance, they should have no trouble beating a Leeds side still reeling from their battering at the hands of Crystal Palace. We’re going to predict an away win with Liverpool securing a fairly routine 2-0 win at Elland Road to boost their chances of finishing in the top four this season. Leeds United 0-2 Liverpool

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