Liverpool will face an early test of their Premier League title defence credentials with a tricky start to the 2020-21 season, but they do not go up against bitter rivals Manchester United until January.

The Reds ended a 30-year wait for top-flight success last season, and although the coronavirus pandemic meant there was an eerie feel to their celebrations in an empty Anfield, the end of their long drought was no less significant on Merseyside.

Given they finished 18 points clear, Jurgen Klopp's men will undoubtedly be favourites again, but they will have to hit the ground running – Liverpool face newly promoted Leeds United in their first fixture on September 12, which will be followed by clashes with Chelsea and Arenal in consecutive games.

The champions go to local rivals Everton on October 17, before then being hosted by Pep Guardiola's City – their likeliest challengers – on November 7. All of these fixtures take place within the first two months of the season.

Liverpool's meeting with United on January 16 comes as part of a potentially nasty spell for the Red Devils. On December 12 they will contest the first Manchester derby of the season at Old Trafford, and seven days later host Leeds United, resuming a ferocious rivalry that has been on hold in recent years.

The second Manchester derby is set for March 6, while Liverpool host Everton again on February 20.

The north London derby will be played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 5, before the reverse fixture on March 13 at Emirates Stadium.

Of the so-called 'big six', Chelsea look set for the trickiest run-in of all as they face City, Arsenal and Leicester in three of their final four matches.

Leicester also go up against Spurs late on, meaning Brendan Rodgers' side could have a telling impact on the final standings near the top of the table.
 

Premier League 2020-21 key fixtures:

September 19 - Chelsea v Liverpool
September 26 - Liverpool v Arsenal
October 3 - Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur
October 17 - Everton v Liverpool
October 17 - Manchester City v Arsenal
October 24 - Manchester United v Chelsea
October 31 - Manchester United v Arsenal
November 7 - Manchester City v Liverpool
November 21 - Tottenham v Manchester City
November 28 - Chelsea v Tottenham
December 5 - Tottenham v Arsenal
December 12 - Manchester United v Manchester City
December 19 - Manchester United v Leeds United
December 26 - Arsenal v Chelsea
January 16 - Liverpool v Manchester United

-

January 30 - Arsenal v Manchester United
February 3 - Tottenham v Chelsea
February 20 - Liverpool v Everton
February 27 - Chelsea v Manchester United
March 6 - Manchester City v Manchester United
March 13 - Arsenal v Tottenham
April 24 - Leeds United v Manchester United
May 1 - Manchester United v Liverpool
May 8 - Manchester City v Chelsea
May 12 - Chelsea v Arsenal
May 15 - Chelsea v Leicester City
May 23 - Leicester City v Tottenham

Lionel Messi reportedly has Barcelona in "suspense" amid talk over his future.

Messi, 33, has been linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants amid chaos at the club following their capitulation in the Champions League.

Contracted until 2021, Messi's future has become a major talking point.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA IN 'SUSPENSE' OVER MESSI FUTURE

Barcelona are in suspense amid uncertainty over Messi's future, according to Marca.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Tuesday he expected Messi to lead the club into the future under Ronald Koeman.

TuttoMercatoWeb reports only Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain or Inter would be able to afford the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Barcelona and Mundo Deportivo reports Koeman wants a two-year deal at the club and Henrik Larsson as one of his assistants at Camp Nou.

- Chelsea continue to chase Kai Havertz. Sport Bild claims negotiations between the Premier League club and Bayer Leverkusen started last week and Havertz will become the most expensive German player of all-time.

- Will Kalidou Koulibaly leave Napoli? The Mirror reports City are being invited to make a £60million (€66.6m) move for the defender, who Napoli want to replace with Lille's Gabriel Magalhaes. ESPN says Arsenal are hopeful of sealing a deal for Gabriel for around £22m (€24.4m).

- Leeds United could be preparing to strengthen on their return to the Premier League. The Evening Standard reports Leeds are interested in Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi.

- Benfica could be nearing two big signings. Gianluca Di Marzio says the Portuguese giants want Inter midfielder Joao Mario, while Record reports Benfica are close to completing a deal for former Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani.

- Having signed Blaise Matuidi, Inter Miami may add some firepower. DIRECTV Peru says the MLS club have started talks to sign former PSV and Schalke forward Jefferson Farfan.

Joe Gelhardt has signed for Leeds United from Wigan Athletic, the Premier League club have confirmed.

Striker Gelhardt has signed a four-year deal with Leeds, after joining for an undisclosed fee.

Having made his Wigan debut in 2018, Gelhardt made 19 appearances in all competitions for the Latics last season, scoring one goal.

Gelhardt becomes Leeds' fourth signing of the transfer window, after Jack Harrison rejoined on loan from Manchester City and Helder Costa and Illan Meslier made their stays permanent.

Leeds United have confirmed the signing of Manchester City winger Jack Harrison on loan for a third successive season.

Harrison has spent the past two campaigns at Leeds, becoming a first-team regular under Marcelo Bielsa.

The 23-year-old made 46 appearances as Leeds won the Championship and sealed promotion to the Premier League last term, scoring six times and providing eight assists.

Leeds also confirmed the loan transfer is with a view to a permanent deal.

Harrison becomes Leeds' third addition of the transfer window, with Helder Costa and goalkeeper Illan Meslier having made their stays permanent following impressive loan spells from Wolves and Lorient respectively in 2019-20.

Chelsea have reportedly joined two Premier League rivals in a tug-of-war for sought-after centre-back Ben White.

The talented Brighton and Hove Albion defender is wanted back at Elland Road, where he spent last season on loan, but Leeds United have long been tipped to face competition from Liverpool.

Now, an unexpected new contender for his signature has emerged.

 

TOP STORY – BLUES WANT WHITE

Frank Lampard and Chelsea have identified the highly rated White as a solution to their issues at the back, reports the Daily Star.

The Blues are said to be keen on the 22-year-old and will jettison Antonio Rudiger if their plan succeeds.

Rudiger struggled during the recent FA Cup final defeat against Arsenal and was overlooked for Saturday's 4-1 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich, which confirmed a heavy 7-1 aggregate hiding.

Sky Sports claims Brighton have already rejected two Leeds offers for White, who has been linked to Liverpool for several months.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Star also has an update on Alexandre Lacazette, who could join Atletico Madrid in a €31.1million (£30m) move once Arsenal tie Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a new contract.

- Manchester United are looking to sell Phil Jones after deciding against sending the defender for knee surgery, reports the Mirror.

- Ligue 1's Monaco are in talks to sign Weston McKennie from Bundesliga club Schalke, according to L'Equipe, although the United States international is also attracting Premier League interest.

- Niko Kovac's men are not the only French outfit weighing up a midfield addition. Paris Saint-Germain have been linked to Ismael Bennacer and Le 10 Sport suggests Serie A side Milan could be tempted by a big-money offer.

Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future has dominated headlines.

With Aubameyang due to become a free agent in 2021, Arsenal have been desperate to re-sign the Gabon international.

Now, it looks like the 31-year-old will remain at Emirates Stadium for an extended period.

 

TOP STORY – AUBAMEYANG TO SIGN NEW DEAL

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is close to signing a new three-year contract with Arsenal, according to The Telegraph.

Aubameyang's current deal is due to expire next year and the Arsenal star has been linked to LaLiga giants Barcelona, as well as Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Inter.

But Aubameyang is set to sign a deal that will run until 2023, a two-year extension.

 

ROUND-UP

- Journalist Fabrizio Romano claims it is only a matter of time before Willian signs a contract with Arsenal until 2023. Chelsea midfielder Willian is free to talk to clubs as his deal at Stamford Bridge expires. The Gunners are also eyeing Thomas Partey but Atletico Madrid insist the midfielder will not leave unless his £45million (€50m) release clause is paid.

Paul Pogba is happy at Manchester United and is ready to sign a new contract, reports Romano. Pogba has been previously linked to former club Juventus and LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

- Staying at Old Trafford, and The Guardian claims United will listen to offers for Jesse Lingard as they try to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. United and Dortmund are still negotiating a transfer for Sancho, according to widespread reports.

Edinson Cavani could be poised to join Brazilian outfit Atletico Mineiro, reports Globo Esporte. The 33-year-old Uruguay international is a free agent after leaving PSG. Cavani has been linked to Portuguese giants Benfica, newly promoted Premier League team Leeds United, MLS outfit Inter Miami, Atletico and Inter.

Everton are interested in signing Atletico's Thomas Lemar, says Le10Sport. Carlo Ancelotti's Everton are also hoping to bring United full-back Diego Dalot to Goodison Park, reports The Mirror.

- According to The Athletic, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is set to join Tottenham from Southampton. Spurs will pay £19m for the former Bayern Munich midfielder.

Liverpool will have to pay close to £20m for Norwich City left-back Jamal Lewis after the Premier League champions had a £10m offer rejected, says The Guardian.

David Silva looks set to move to Lazio. According to Sky Sport Italia, the Manchester City midfielder – a free agent – will swap the Premier League for Serie A following the club's Champions League campaign.

League Two club Oldham Athletic have appointed former Leeds United, Liverpool and Australia forward Harry Kewell as their new head coach.

Kewell, 41, replaces Dino Maamria, who was sacked after 10 months at the helm on Friday.

Oldham are the third team in English football's fourth tier Kewell has taken on in the early stages of his coaching career, following spells at Crawley Town and Notts County.

The Latics have had seven bosses since Abdallah Lemsagam became owner in 2018, including a 31-day spell for Manchester United great Paul Scholes last year.

Kewell was part of the Liverpool team that won the 2005 Champions League and scored 17 times across 58 caps for Australia, which included appearances at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp has been crowned the League Managers Association (LMA) Manager of the Year.

Klopp oversaw a stunning campaign for the Reds, guiding them to a club-record total of 99 points to claim their first top-flight title in 30 years.  

They lost just three Premier League games all season and finished a whopping 18 points clear of second-placed Manchester City.

After being presented with the Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy, named after the iconic ex-Manchester United manager, Klopp said: "I'm absolutely delighted to be named the winner of this wonderful Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy, named after a man that I admire so much.

"It feels extra special to win this award because it is voted for by my fellow managers.

"It's an honour to be in the company of so many managers who have been named as LMA Manager of the Year before, including Liverpool managers like Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Kenny Dalglish and, in recent years, Brendan Rodgers.

"Everything we have accomplished at Liverpool this year couldn't have been done without the superb input of my coaching staff; they make us a really special bunch of football brains.

"I love to work with my coaches, my players and everyone at Liverpool and, of course, I am thankful for the support from all our wonderful Liverpool fans."

Leeds United's Marcelo Bielsa was named as the Championship Manager of the Year, meanwhile, after guiding the Yorkshire giants to the title and a return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence.

What does the future hold for Quique Setien at Camp Nou?

Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde in January, however, the ex-Real Betis head coach saw Barcelona dethroned as LaLiga champions by bitter rivals Real Madrid.

After leading Leeds United back to the Premier League, Marcelo Bielsa is reportedly wanted by countryman Lionel Messi.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI URGES BARCA TO SIGN BIELSA

Lionel Messi has called for Barcelona to replace Quique Setien with Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa, according to The Sun.

Bielsa guided Leeds to the Premier League for the first time since 2004, ending the club's 16-year exile from England's top flight.

Now, superstar captain Messi – who is reportedly unhappy with Setien at Camp Nou – wants the dethroned LaLiga giants to bring the former Argentina and Athletic Bilbao head coach to Barcelona.

 

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City star James Maddison has agreed a contract extension at King Power Stadium, according to The Sun. Maddison has reportedly committed himself to Leicester until 2025 following previous links to Manchester United.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Inter are eyeing Barcelona's Junior Firpo if they are unable to sign Emerson Palmieri from Chelsea.

Tottenham are leading the chase to sign forward Callum Wilson if Bournemouth are relegated from the Premier League, says The Sun.

- Calciomercato reports Milan and Napoli are considering moves for Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai. The 19-year-old has been linked to the likes of Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid.

Roma are considering a contract renewal for star Nicolo Zaniolo, according to Calciomercato. Zaniolo – who arrived from Inter in 2018 – has found his future in doubt amid talk of a falling out with head coach Paulo Fonseca and others. An Inter return has been touted, while Juventus are also reportedly interested.

- United are seriously targeting Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes. Le10 Sport claims the Red Devils are making a last-minute attempt to sign Gabriel, who has been linked to Napoli among others.

- Kicker reports PSG are targeting Hertha Berlin attacker Matheus Cunha. Inter are also believed to be eyeing the Brazilian.

- Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman is on a shortlist of players United are eyeing on loan should they miss out on Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, says Sky Sports News. Bayern, however, have no intention of parting with Coman. Liverpool and Real Madrid have also been credited with interest in Sancho.

Huddersfield Town have appointed Marcelo Bielsa's assistant Carlos Corberan as their new head coach.

Corberan joined Leeds United as their Under-23 coach ahead of the 2017-18 campaign but was soon promoted to work alongside Bielsa.

He will not be part of the Argentinian's coaching staff when Leeds play Premier League football for the first time in 16 years next season, though, after being confirmed as the permanent successor to Danny Cowley at the John Smith's Stadium.

Cobreran, whose only previous experience as a head coach was in the Cypriot top flight, told Huddersfield's media channel: "I think it was the right moment to make this step, especially because it was the right opportunity to do it with Huddersfield.

"I had a lot of trust from the first meeting I had with the people here. I was thinking that it was the right moment to do this step, the right moment to take the opportunity and to start to operate together.

"Of course, one of the reasons that I'm here is because both of them [chairman Phil Hodgkinson and head of football operations Leigh Bromby] had the same feeling about what we want to be on the pitch.

"We want to be brave, we want to be a great team, we want to show when I start that we want to have one identity, we want to defend this identity playing at home and playing away.

"We will be trying to develop an identity, trying to create a culture, trying to create an environment that allow us to define one's style of game."

West Brom clinched the second automatic promotion place in the Championship on a dramatic final day of the season as Wigan Athletic's spirited survival bid failed.

After both West Brom and Brentford were beaten at the weekend, the Baggies only needed to match the third-placed side's result to seal a return to the Premier League after two seasons away in England's second tier.

A seemingly straightforward home fixture against QPR did not go entirely to plan for West Brom, but a 2-2 draw took them up as Brentford went down 2-1 to Barnsley on Wednesday.

That result saw Barnsley stay up, but Wigan could not join them as they drew 1-1 with Fulham – who could have been promoted with a win – and went down due to a looming 12-point deduction.

Charlton Athletic and Hull City were also demoted, while there was a similarly chaotic finish in the play-off race.

BAGGIES BEST BRENTFORD

Both West Brom and Brentford lost their nerve with two matches of the campaign remaining, but a return of just a single point from a pair of games proved enough for Slaven Bilic's team.

Following Friday's defeat to Huddersfield Town, West Brom were boosted by Brentford's own reverse at Stoke City yet could not beat QPR.

West Brom trailed to Ryan Manning's strike before turning the match on its head with goals either side of half-time through Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson, only for Eberechi Eze to equalise just past the hour-mark.

It mattered not, though, as Brentford failed to capitalise, instead losing again.

Josh Dasilva cancelled out Callum Styles' Barnsley opener, but as Brentford pushed for a precious winner, Clarke Oduor tapped in at the other end in the 91st minute.

BRAVE BARNSLEY, WIGAN WOE

There were contrasting scenes at full-time in the final regular league match at Griffin Park after Barnsley celebrated as Brentford collapsed.

The visitors were heading down until Oduor struck but stayed up at Charlton's expense, the Addicks going down 4-0 at champions Leeds United.

Hull propped up the table after a 3-0 defeat at Cardiff City, while Luton Town stayed up thanks to a rallying 3-2 success at home to Blackburn Rovers, aided by two own goals.

Wigan needed to win due to their deduction following administration, but one of the form teams in the division let a lead slip against Fulham, their total of 59 points bumped down to 47 to fall a painful point short.

 

It isn't just a game of football, it's absolutely everything to our players, staff and supporters.

Hold your heads high!#wafc pic.twitter.com/5oTj7eV4jV

— Wigan Athletic (@LaticsOfficial) July 22, 2020
SWANS SAVOUR GOAL SWING

With rivals Cardiff comfortable in claiming their play-off place, Swansea City needed to beat 10-man Reading while Nottingham Forest lost to Stoke City, along with a five-goal swing.

Improbably, the Swans stole sixth place from Forest after a remarkable finale.

The Welsh side won 4-1, netting their fourth in the 91st minute as Wayne Routledge headed in his second.

That scoreline left Forest – 3-1 down at home to Stoke at the time – needing to score, but instead they conceded, their promotion bid derailing in spectacular fashion as Nuno da Costa stabbed into his own net in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

The 4-1 defeat meant Forest – without a win since July 1 – finished seventh.

Elsewhere, there were wins for Derby County, Millwall and Middlesbrough, bringing the curtain down on another season in gripping fashion.

Pep Guardiola paid a glowing tribute to Marcelo Bielsa after Leeds United secured promotion to the Premier League as Championship winners – hailing the Argentine tactician as "unique" in world football.

Former Chile, Athletic Bilbao and Marseille boss Bielsa has secured hero status in the west Yorkshire city after ending Leeds' 16-year exile from English football's top flight, a season on from suffering play-off heartache against Derby County.

Guardiola has long been a huge admirer of Bielsa's work and sought his counsel before taking the plunge into top-level coaching.

The Manchester City manager is delighted his old friend will join him in the Premier League for the 2020-21 campaign.

"He has done an exceptional job," he told a news conference ahead of City's trip to Watford

"They were exceptional last season and then didn't get promoted. They showed a lot of character to get promoted a year later.

"We know how difficult it is to win the Championship and get to the Premier League, so congratulations."

Although Bielsa's CV is light in terms of major honours – the last of three Primera Division titles won in his homeland came with Velez Sarsfield in 1998 – Guardiola believes the 64-year-old's enduring influence upon a generation of players and coaches counts for much more.

"I was not his player, so it is difficult to talk about him. But I know the reference from a hundred million players who were with him," he said.

"I was lucky enough to have the chance to talk to him. He is unique in world football because of the special way he plays. He is an authentic manager. No other manager in the world plays the way he plays.

"He is an incredible person. He is so special. It is my personal opinion but it will be incredible for English football to have him in the Premier League next season."

Guardiola's spells with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City means he has ample experience when it comes to winning titles.

However, he feels even these considerable heights are dwarfed by what Bielsa has created during his career.

"Winning titles helps to have a job next season but at the end of your life, what you remember is not the titles you have won, what you remember is the memories you have and whether the manager taught you a lot," he said.

"I had a bad night after the Arsenal game but the day after, it is forgotten. If you win a title it is the same. You have the night but the day after, it is forgotten.

"What we remember are the experiences and the memories, the players you have had, the managers you have had. Marcelo is at the top of the list. Absolutely at the top of the list."

One manager unable to keep hold of his job was Nigel Pearson, who will not lead Watford against City after being relieved of his duties on Sunday.

"Before the lockdown, what Nigel had done was incredible," Guardiola added. "The amount of points and the results they got when they were at the bottom. After that, I don't know what happened.

"I respect the decisions of the club, of course. I wish Nigel all the best, he's an experienced manager in England and has done incredibly well in the past and this period at Watford."

Leeds United celebrated their Championship title with a 3-1 victory at Derby County as Marcelo Bielsa's team looked forward to life among the elite.

Pablo Hernandez and Jamie Shackleton scored before a late Matt Clarke own goal wrapped up a 3-1 victory at Pride Park for the Premier League-bound champions.

Messy defending from Leeds had allowed Derby to edge ahead after 54 minutes when Chris Martin's shot deflected in off Luke Ayling.

But Hernandez had Leeds back on level terms within two minutes, striking from 18 yards after his initial effort was charged down.

Young midfielder Shackleton fired his first goal for Leeds after bursting forward in the 75th minute, before Clarke miscued into Derby's net late on.

Leeds had been afforded a guard of honour from Derby before the game, to mark their title success, with former England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney among those applauding the champions.

Barnsley gave themselves hope of beating the drop after stunning fifth-placed Nottingham Forest with a last-gasp winner at Oakwell.

Austrian forward Patrick Schmidt came off the bench in the 82nd minute and scored in the third minute of stoppage time to give Barnsley a 1-0 victory.

The three points lifted Barnsley off the foot of the Championship. They now must look to beat promotion-chasing Brentford in Wednesday's final round of regular-season games to have any chance of staying up.

Leeds United have won the Championship title as a result of Brentford's 1-0 loss to Stoke City on Saturday.

Marcelo Bielsa's side saw promotion to the Premier League confirmed on Friday after West Brom were beaten 2-1 by Huddersfield Town.

Victory for Brentford would have lifted them above the Baggies into second place and closed the gap to Leeds to three points.

However, a first-half goal from Lee Gregory secured a win for Stoke at the bet365 Stadium, guaranteeing the Potters' survival and crowning Leeds as champions a day before they face Derby County in their penultimate game of the season.

The result also means Brentford stay third, a point behind West Brom, with just one game to go.

Patrick Kisnorbo said a sleeping giant has awoken after Leeds United secured Premier League promotion following a 16-year absence amid wild celebrations in West Yorkshire.

Not since 2004 have Leeds featured in the Premier League but second-placed West Brom's 2-1 defeat at Championship strugglers Huddersfield Town on Friday ensured the club's long-awaited return to England's top flight with two matches remaining.

Leeds reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2001 but the Yorkshire outfit imploded financially, relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2003-04 season.

Their demise plunged to new lows when they were relegated to League One – England's third division – in 2007 before returning to the Championship in 2010, where Leeds have remained until this season.

Kisnorbo spent four years at Leeds between 2009 and 2013, playing a key role in the club's promotion from League One a decade ago, and the former Australia international told Stats Perform News: "A very big day for Leeds fans around the world, the club as a whole, the owners, players, coaching staff, coach.

"It's such a big thing for such a big supporter base. To get promoted to the biggest league in the world is a fantastic achievement. They've awoken a sleeping giant and it will be great for the game once the new Premier League season starts."

"They have such a massive supporter base," Kisnorbo said. "The atmosphere when you go to Elland Road or the travelling Leeds fans, no matter where they play, they always support the club. When you get to Elland Road, it's such a fortress. It's just great for English football.

"Hopefully now, Leeds can rebuild and stay in the Premier League."

Friday's result meant mission accomplished for highly regarded Argentine head coach Bielsa, who was lured to the fallen giant in 2018 following spells in charge of Argentina, Chile, Athletic Bilbao, Marseille and Lille.

Bielsa's trademark character and tactics almost resulted in promotion in his first season until Leeds faded, dropped out of the automatic places and lost in the play-offs.

Consigned to another Championship campaign, Bielsa and Leeds were not to be denied at the second time of asking, with famous stadium Elland Road – exiled from the Premier League for the past 16 years – back in the big time.

"He has come to Leeds with one thing in mind and that's to improve the club and team," Kisnorbo said. "He did it his way. People don't understand, it's hard. He worked the players really hard mentally and physically but the rewards pay off in the end. That's why is regarded as one of the best and that's why they were promoted.

"People don't realise how hard it is to be promoted from the Championship and he did it only through hard work, dedication and sacrifice. He demands everything from the players and you get rewarded like they have."

Kisnorbo, who now works as an assistant coach for A-League side Melbourne City in Australia, was named Leeds' Player of the Year in 2009-10.

The 39-year-old also helped Leeds stun fierce rivals and Alex Ferguson's Manchester United 1-0 in a famous FA Cup victory at Old Trafford, where Jermaine Beckford's winner sent the Whites through to the fourth round in 2010.

"It takes a special person to play for Leeds," Kisnorbo said. "There is such a high demand of pressure, when you play for that club, you have to give your all because that club for every supporter is their life.

"To understand what it's like is very difficult to explain in a lot of words because it's a feeling you have once you go there, it's a special feeling. There's not too many places that other teams don't like to go and one of them is Leeds. Why? For that fact that there's a group of supporters that just cheer their team on and for the players, it's built in you. It's in your blood. Once you step onto the pitch, it's 100 per cent for 90 minutes. It's just crazy."

Looking ahead to life in the Premier League, Kisnorbo added: "I'm sure Leeds will add to the squad but the players did the job, so maybe Bielsa will reward them because they all deserve it.

"Sheffield United [promoted to the Premier League last season and in contention for Europa League qualification this term] are a great example of a club who's done that. I'm not sure what will happen, I know Leeds will add to the current squad but there's every chance Bielsa will put all his confidence in the players who got Leeds to the Premier League."

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