Liverpool begin their defence of the Premier League title with an intriguing clash against recently promoted Leeds United. The match will be Leeds’ first in the top flight since 2004 and although it will be played behind closed doors, anticipation is at fever pitch. The start of the Premier League season will also see the betting market open up again. The opening day is always a tough one to call but in order to ensure you have the best chance of securing a win, take a look at betting.co.uk’s expert tip below.
Last season, Liverpool ended their 30 year wait for a top flight title in scintillating fashion, finishing in first place by an incredible margin of 18 points. Unsurprisingly, they have been tipped by the vast majority of pundits as runaway favourites to repeat the trick this time out. The Reds squad is full of quality from front to back. Their defensive spine of Allisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson is the strongest in the league - if not Europe - and they are also irresistible up front. Sadio Mané, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino are a world class front three and Jurgen Klopp’s side will take some stopping on Saturday.
After finally winning promotion back to the Premier League last season, Leeds have wasted little in strengthening their squad this summer. The Whites have been among the most active of any side in the division and are expected to avoid relegation fairly comfortably. Robin Koch has arrived from Freiburg and the German international will bolster their already strong defence. One potential area of concern could be a lack of goals up front. Patrick Bamford struggled to score consistently last season and record signing Rodrigo has never been prolific during his career previously. Midfielders Helder Costa and Pablo Hernandez will be expected to pick up some of the slack in the scoring department.
The historical head to head record for this fixture makes for grim reading for Leeds fans. In 117 meetings between the two sides, Liverpool have won 59 while the Whites have tasted victory on just 28 occasions. 30 of the contests have ended in a draw.
During the fixture’s recent history, the Reds have been especially dominant, losing just once in the last nine meetings - with only two draws thrown into the mix. Saying that, due to the Whites’ lengthy absence from the Premier League, the pair have only met twice since 2009. Both occasions were in the League Cup with Liverpool winning 1-0 back in 2009 and 2-0 in 2016.
Prior to this, Leeds were subjected to several demoralising defeats. Liverpool won both 2003 meetings 3-1 and earned a 4-0 victory back in 2002 - a period in which the Peacocks were slipping further and further towards footballing obscurity.
It’s not all gone the Reds’ way during the Premier League era though. Back in 2000, Leeds secured a famous 4-3 victory with striker Mark Viduka netting all four of his side’s goals. Fans will be hoping that another Whites’ striker can repeat this feat on Saturday. However, considering their struggles in front of goal in the past, it seems unlikely.
Tactics nerds will have an absolute field day on Saturday as two of the most exciting and innovative coaches in modern footballing history go head to head for the first time ever. Both Jurgen Klopp and Marcelo Bielsa are unwavering in their commitment to high octane, attacking football. Both teams play with a refreshing reckless abandon that is bound to excite fans all season long.
This should almost certainly lead to an open game, particularly with Liverpool possessing such a wealth of lethal forwards. The Reds will also be fired up by the prospect of getting their title defence off to the strongest possible start at home - even if there are no supporters allowed in the Kop to cheer them on.
With all that in mind, there are bound to be goals in this one. That makes betfair’s offer of 7/5 on there being over 3.5 goals rather enticing.
You simply cannot look past the reigning champions on Saturday. Leeds should put up a good fight and it will likely be an exciting, open game - particularly with two such attack minded managers sat in opposing dugouts. However, in the end, the Reds simply have too much firepower in Mane, Firmino and Salah for the newly promoted Whites to handle. That’s why we’re backing Liverpool to win 3-1. Bet365 are your best operator if you fancy our tip. They are offering very generous odds of 12/1 with a just a £5 bet returning you a very tidy £60.