Liverpool vs Leeds LIVE: Confirmed team news and score updates as two champions clash

Leeds United’s first Premier League in 16 years sees them take on reigning champions Liverpool in a hotly-anticipated showdown on Merseyside. Express Sport brings you all you need to know ahead of kick-off and live score updates from Anfield when the match gets underway at 5.30pm.

MATCH PREVIEW

This has been a long time coming for both clubs – Leeds’ Premier League return and Liverpool’s first match as Premier League champions. 

This evening’s clash pits the top-flight title-holders against last season’s winners of the second division in what is expected to be a no-punches-pulled affair.

While the clash will be devoid of in-stadium atmosphere with the game behind closed doors, there is plenty of excitement over what should unfold on the pitch between two high-octane teams.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is wary of the threat of Leeds but also warned the newly-promoted Yorkshire side: “We are ready to work hard and make life more uncomfortable for them than any team last year could against them.

“If we do not, we will suffer. That is what we have to know. It is the first game of the season and it sounds like it is a big advantage for Leeds because they waited so long for the Premier League, now everything is new and they are fighting for everything and we are champions, so we lean back!

For as long as I breathe we will not be like this. That is the thing we have to make sure of in this game.

“It must be the most intense game Leeds ever had, otherwise we will have more problems than I want to have.”

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While Leeds head coach Bielsa said: “This is a very special game. Liverpool are a just champion with a consistent style of play. Without a doubt one of the best teams in the world.

“They have a defined system with very good players. It’s the best league in the world and it requires you to be at the highest level.

“It’s difficult to assimilate how we are going to adjust to the Premier League. We prepared for this, but we need to show it on the pitch.”

STATS

  • Leeds’ most recent win against Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield came in April 2001
  • The Reds are unbeaten in their opening league fixture over the past seven seasons, winning six times
  • Eighteen-time champions Liverpool have begun their title defence with a defeat just once before, losing 2-0 to West Brom in 1923
  • This will be the seventh time the reigning Premier League champions have hosted a newly-promoted side in their opening game, with the top-flight title-holders winning all six of the previous matches
  • Liverpool are unbeaten in a club record 59 Premier League fixtures at Anfield (W48, D11), with their last defeat coming against Crystal Palace in April 2017
  • Mohamed Salah can become only the second player to score in his side’s opening fixture in four consecutive Premier League seasons. Teddy Sheringham did so with Nottingham Forest in 1992 and Tottenham from 1993 to 1995
  • Fifteen of Salah’s 19 league goals last season were scored at Anfield
  • The Whites have never lost their first game of a Premier League season, winning five and drawing seven. No team has taken part in as many Premier League campaigns without ever losing their opening match
  • The Yorkshire club last began a top-flight season with a defeat in 1981, when they lost 5-1 at Swansea
  • The winner of the previous season’s Championship has not won their first Premier League game since Sunderland beat Tottenham in 2007 (D3, L9)

TEAM NEWS

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson faces a late fitness test as he continues to recover from a knee problem but should only be fit enough for a spot on the bench, with James Milner likely to replace him as skipper against his old club. 

Trent Alexander-Arnold should return to the starting line-up from a calf injury while Joel Matip should make the bench after his recent return to training.

Xherdan Shaqiri is in contention after missing much of last season with fitness problems but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is sidelined, while Kostas Tsimikas’ availability is unknown.

Liverpool refused to confirm or deny reports that the Greek left-back, signed this summer, tested positive for coronavirus on international duty.

Leeds could hand out several debuts including to club-record signing Rodrigo and defender Robin Koch. Adam Forshaw is the only absentee for Bielsa.

It is not known who the Argentine coach will pick in goal between Illan Meslier and Kiko Casilla.

Liverpool starting XI: TBC @ 4.30pm

Leeds starting XI: TBC @ 4.30pm

LIVE UPDATES

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