Jurgen Klopp hailed Mohamed Salah as a "very special" player after the Liverpool star scored a hat-trick in a thrilling victory over Leeds United.

Marcelo Bielsa's newly promoted side pushed defending Premier League champions Liverpool all the way at Anfield on Saturday, but Salah had the final say when he converted his second penalty of the game to seal a 4-3 win.

Salah had opened the scoring from the spot early on after Robin Koch's handball, though Jack Harrison switfly equalised.

A frantic start continued as Virgil van Dijk swung the game back in Liverpool's favour, only to then gift Patrick Bamford an equaliser prior to a stunning strike from Salah restoring the Reds' lead, which was then cancelled out once more by Mateusz Klich.

It was Salah who settled matters from 12 yards with two minutes remaining and Klopp believes the Egypt forward's all-round display showed the true quality of Liverpool's talisman.

"First and foremost congratulations to him because he's a very special player very, very special player," said the Reds boss.

"The numbers tell the story a little bit, all the rest you probably don't know. But today's a very good example as he put three more goals on his score list, but the performance all-round was absolutely exceptional in a game like this.

"So he deserved the goals, 100 per cent, yes two were penalties, one was a sensational finish, but he deserved these goals because he was constantly present, causing the opponent massive problems.

"He was top in one-on-one situations, played football. With all the good performances he's had for us, obviously this was for sure one of the better ones and so he should be proud of that because it's very special to have these kinds of numbers. Long may it continue."

While Salah spearheaded Liverpool's fearsome attack, the Reds looked unusually ordinary at the back, with Van Dijk in particular struggling to find his rhythm.

Klopp, however, is not concerned, and suggested the fact all of his starting defenders had been away on international duty could have impacted their performance.

"I didn't really see us struggling defensively, it's just the way they play you cannot defend it 100 per cent all the time," Klopp said.

"The first goal both full-backs were deeper than the centre-halves, that should never have happened. The second goal I think was a misunderstanding between Virgil and Alisson, it was one of the things that can happen. It should not, but it can happen. I don't think we will see these situations very often.

"So that's defending, but it's not an excuse, it was just an explanation. And maybe I don't have to give explanations, but the last line played for England, Holland, and Scotland, four days ago or whatever.

"So, all top teams but different ways of defending and it can happen and if the things are not really settled, which we are in the early stages of the season.

"I know people say they played 500 games together, but defending is not like riding a bike. You have to work on it constantly. So space for improvement, all good."

Jurgen Klopp claimed he was simply thrilled to be along for the ride as Liverpool and Leeds United produced an opening-day classic in the Premier League.

The champions of English football's first and second tiers were paired together to launch their campaigns on Saturday and Mohamed Salah's fourth-minute penalty suggested Liverpool could be on course for a straightforward win.

But Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds equalised three times over the course of a compelling contest before Salah broke their hearts with a second penalty to complete his hat-trick and snatch a 4-3 victory two minutes from time.

Reds boss Klopp was keen not to dwell for too long upon his own team's unusually slack defending.

"What a game, what an opponent, what a performance from both teams. A proper spectacle, I loved that," he told Sky Sports.

"It is pretty rare you see that many goals in a game, we have left space for improvement in our defending but that is not unusual for a first game. Our players have played a few days ago for their countries so it is possible [to improve].

"The opponent forced us to make mistakes, we can do better, we will do better but I loved a lot about the game against a well-organised, passionate side like Leeds.

"We used our skills to cause them problems, we could have scored more and in the end we used set-pieces which is fine by me.

"It is not like riding a bike, you can lose something in pre-season and it takes time to all come together again. I am really positive about this game."

Leeds are playing in the top flight for the first time since 2004 and Klopp feels they will be a success if they can maintain the levels they showed on Merseyside.

"Leeds will have a good season if they can keep up that intensity and they did it in the Championship with more games so why not?" he added.

Mohamed Salah drew on the experience of netting a penalty in the Champions League final to hold his nerve and seal a 4-3 win for Liverpool over Leeds United in a riotous opening Premier League encounter.

Salah struck from the spot early on at Anfield on Saturday, as he did in the Reds' 2-0 showpiece triumph over Tottenham in Madrid last year – a contest that proceeded fairly uneventfully from that point.

The opening game of their title defence cut a sharp contrast, with newly promoted Leeds playing in a fearless manner and equalising three times before Salah completed his hat-trick with a second conversion from 12 yards in the 88th minute.

Asked about how he handled that moment mentally by Sky Sports, the Egypt star replied: "I scored a penalty in a Champions League final, so that was a little bit easier! Especially with no fans.

"It was important for me to focus and score the goal to get three points."

Jack Harrison and Mateusz Klich scored excellent goals either side of Patrick Bamford capitalising upon a dreadful error from Virgil van Dijk, who headed Liverpool's second of a frantic clash, and Salah was full of admiration for Marcelo Bielsa's Championship winners.

"Leeds are a tough team, they press high as well, so the game intensity was really high as well," he said.

"They had a great game, they play away and react really well. They scored three goals against us, that's huge

"I'm happy about the result and we have to keep on improving. It's important for me to stay focused. We had a good game."

The Premier League and Championship titleholders produced a classic for the ages to launch the 2020-21 top-flight season in England.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp promised Leeds United a ferocious baptism in the Premier League and a procession looked to be on the cards at Anfield when Mohamed Salah scored an early penalty.

But Marcelo Bielsa's team dazzled as they have since the coaching visionary arrived in West Yorkshire, with Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford and Mateusz Klich all on target.

Each Leeds goal was an equaliser but Salah had the final word when he netted his second penalty of the contest to secure the points in the 88th minute.

Here, we look back at how a trilling encounter unfolded on Merseyside.

The anticipated frenetic start was quickly realised and surpassed, with Liverpool seeking to stamp their authority over ambitious foes. Robin Koch looked unfortunate to be penalised when Salah's shot spun up off the defender's boot and into his arm, but referee Michael Oliver and his video assistant agreed a spot-kick should be given and Salah slammed home his 50th Premier League goal at Anfield in his 63rd appearance. Only Alan Shearer (47) has reached that landmark faster.

Leeds were not cowed and Helder Costa had a goal ruled out for offside before Manchester City loanee Harrison darted in from the left flank, beyond Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez, to drill into the bottom left corner. On the week of his England debut, Kalvin Phillips created the goal with a raking pass from his own half – the midfielder's first assist in 19 league games.

Debutant Koch could not blame the officials when he switched off and allowed Van Dijk to head home Andrew Robertson's corner. It was the Dutchman's 10th Premier League goal for Liverpool, with no other centre-back scoring more since his Reds debut in January 2018. Robertson's assist was his 29th since his own Liverpool bow. Only Kevin De Bruyne (38) has more over that period of time.

Joy became despair for Liverpool's defensive lynchpin, with an uncharacteristic misjudgement allowing Bamford to nip in and clip a finish into Alisson's goal. Well, we say uncharacteristic… Van Dijk has now made two errors leading directly to a goal in his past four Premier League games, double the one he made in his first 154 in the competition.

Salah had already equalled Teddy Sheringham's record of scoring on four consecutive Premier League opening days when he put Liverpool ahead for a third time. Robertson's free-kick was partially cleared and the Egypt superstar thundered a magnificent left-footed strike into the top right corner.

45:00+3 – HALF-TIME
And breathe. This Anfield thriller became only the second game played in the opening weekend of Premier League fixtures to yield five goals before half-time. The other was Manchester United's 5-1 win over Fulham in August 2006, where the Red Devils were 4-1 up at the interval.

Don't let any Liverpool players take your dog for a walk this week. Midway through the second half they let another lead slip from their grasp. Helder Costa found Klich in the Liverpool box, where the midfielder's wonderful first touch was matched by an unerring volley. Poland international Klich has six goal involvements in his past six away games, with three goals and as many assists.

Leeds became the first promoted side to score three goals away to the reigning Premier League champions since Hull City in a 4-3 defeat at Manchester United in November 2008. Unfortunately for Bielsa's men they went down to the same scoreline. New signing Rodrigo Moreno clumsily fouled Fabinho and Salah sent Illan Meslier the wrong way to claim the matchball. Liverpool have now won each of the last 35 games in which Salah has scored, bettering the competition record of 34 set by Wayne Rooney in February 2011.

Hat-trick hero Mohamed Salah saved the day for Liverpool after promoted Leeds gave the champions a huge scare in a 4-3 thriller on the opening day of the Premier League season.

The Reds striker struck a decisive 88th-minute penalty, his second spot-kick of the game at Anfield, to ensure last season's all-conquering side started the new campaign on a positive note.

In a battle between last season's Premier League and Championship winners, Salah's first two goals and one from Virgil van Dijk were countered by Leeds' replies from Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford and Mateusz Klich.

A sub-plot to this Merseyside showdown was the tactical battle between managers Jurgen Klopp and Marcelo Bielsa, and the latter looked like coming away with a point until Rodrigo fouled Fabinho, allowing Salah to slot home and win the game.

Liverpool were awarded a penalty in the third minute when Salah's shot struck the outstretched right arm of Leeds debutant Robin Koch, via the unlucky defender's knee. Salah took responsibility from 12 yards and lashed his penalty high into the net, down the middle.

A sublime leveller from Leeds arrived in the 12th minute after new England cap Kalvin Phillips fed Harrison on the left. Harrison skipped infield, fending off Trent Alexander-Arnold, before drilling past Alisson from the edge of the penalty area.

The hosts restored their lead in the 20th minute when Van Dijk sprinted away from Koch and headed in Andy Robertson's corner from the left.

Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier made a fine save to spare Pascal Struijk the embarrassment of an own goal, tipping over after the defender deflected Robertson's cross, and the visitors briefly drew level for a second time when Bamford seized on sloppiness from Van Dijk to slot in.

Salah fired Liverpool 3-2 in front in the 33rd minute of a wild first half. With Robertson's free-kick into the heart of the penalty area only half-cleared, Liverpool's Egyptian striker had space and time to pick his spot and blaze a shot high into the right corner.

Those first-half strikes made Salah the first Liverpool player to score on the opening day of four consecutive Premier League seasons, and only the second player from any club to achieve the feat, after Teddy Sheringham's run from 1992-93 to 1995-96.

Leeds brought on record signing Rodrigo for his debut with half an hour remaining, and he would be involved later, but it was Klich who struck their third equaliser of the game in the 66th minute.

He took on a clever pass into the penalty area from Helder Costa on the right and smashed a shot into the left corner as the ball sat up perfectly. Leeds looked poised to hold on, only to be stung so late, an early warning of the challenges that lie ahead for them.

Mohamed Salah brought up another goalscoring landmark as Liverpool's Premier League title defence got started in a frantic fashion against Leeds United.

Salah won a fifth-minute penalty when Robin Koch handled his goal-bound shot, and the former Roma forward duly thumped home from 12 yards to score his 50th Anfield goal in England's top flight.

The Egypt star's half century has taken 63 matches, with only England great Alan Shearer (47) doing so in fewer appearances.

Salah is also the second player in Premier League history to score on the opening day of four consecutive seasons, following Shearer's old England strike partner Teddy Sheringham from 1992-93 to 1995-96.

Liverpool's early opener was swiftly cancelled out by a brilliant Jack Harrison strike.

Virgil van Dijk headed the hosts back ahead in the 20th minute but was uncharacteristically culpable with a horrible error that let in Patrick Bamford for Leeds' second equaliser.

Salah then continued an electrifying start by smashing in his 51st Premier League goal in the 33rd minute.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson returns to action as the Premier League champions begin their title defence against promoted Leeds United.

Henderson missed the closing four games of last season after suffering a knee injury, and also sat out the Community Shield at the end of August.

But he was passed fit to face Leeds in midfield alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and Naby Keita, as James Milner and Fabinho drop to the bench.

Trent Alexander-Arnold also returns at right-back to replace Neco Williams, with Liverpool's attack having a familiar look as Jurgen Klopp selects Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool won the Premier League by a staggering 18 points last season, while Leeds came up after topping the Championship.

The Yorkshire side earned themselves top-flight football for the first time since the 2003-04 season, with head coach Marcelo Bielsa masterminding the team's rejuvenation.

Bielsa hands a debut to Robin Koch, the Germany defender acquired from Freiburg, but striker Rodrigo is only a substitute for the Anfield clash following his big-money arrival from Valencia.


Jurgen Klopp insists he did not phone Alex Ferguson in the middle of the night to furnish him with details of Liverpool's Premier League title triumph.

The Reds will step out to start a new campaign as champions for the first time in 30 years when they entertain Leeds United at a behind-closed-doors Anfield on Saturday.

Klopp masterminded a glorious conclusion to the Reds' long wait for a 19th English title, as they deposed Manchester City with seven games remaining.

In the revelry afterwards, Ferguson and Klopp were in touch, with the former Manchester United boss saying, "I'll forgive you for waking me up at 3:30 am to tell me you have won the league" when the German was presented with his League Managers' Association (LMA) Manager of the Year Award.

Speaking ahead of the Leeds game, Klopp - at least in part - sought to set the record straight.

"I didn't call him, I have to clarify that. I sent him a message," the Reds' boss said, before explaining the volume of messages he had to get through and the prolonged nature of Liverpool's party meant he was not able to tap out his thanks to Ferguson until the small hours.

While respectful of the managerial great and delighted to have received his seal of approval, Klopp also acknowledges the status of their respective clubs means prolonged phone conversations regarding moments of Anfield glory are unlikely to ever be too high up Ferguson's agenda, even in retirement.

"I don't think he wants to talk to me too much about the success of Liverpool," Klopp chuckled.

"He respects it, but it's not that it's his favourite thing to watch on television."

Another celebrated tactician is Klopp's next opponent, with Marcelo Bielsa's Premier League bow keenly anticipated.

A formative influence upon the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Pep Guardiola and countless others, Klopp knows Bielsa's intense tactical approach presents a particular challenge.

"Unfortunately, the players only came back from international duty yesterday but we used that session 100 per cent. We tried to make clear for the boys which special aspects we have to consider for this game," he explained.

"Usually the boys respond quite well to this kind of information. We are as ready as possible."

Despite anticipation Leeds are ready to upset some of the Premier League's big hitters, Klopp warned Bielsa that - even without the backing of their fans - Liverpool present the type of formidable prospect they have not faced before.

"I respect a lot what they do, but now is another important point: I know Marcelo Bielsa said Anfield is not Anfield without supporters and he is right, in one way," he said. "But it is still Anfield, by the way. It's our home and we are Liverpool.

"It should not sound like a threat but they did not play us very often before and it should feel different for them. I'm sure Bielsa sees it like this as well.

"It's not decided before the game - good, that's football, that's how it always is. If we are willing to work hard we can make it more uncomfortable than any team last year could do against them.

"If we are not, we will suffer and that's a thing we have to know."

Klopp added: "It's the first game of the season and it sounds like it will be a big advantage for Leeds because they waited so long for the Premier League and everything is exciting. We are champions, will we lean back a little bit?

"We were not like this and as long as I'm here we will not be like this. That's what we have to make sure of in this game. It must be the most intense game Leeds ever have, otherwise we will have more problems than I want to have."

Jurgen Klopp believes Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa is an inspiration to the football world as the fabled coach prepares to make his Premier League bow.

Former Argentina, Chile and Athletic Bilbao boss Bielsa has transformed Leeds' fortunes since arriving at Elland Road in 2018, leading them to the Championship title last season after falling short in the 2018-19 play-offs.

His famed high-pressing style has earned admirers across the globe and Klopp certainly counts himself among them ahead of Leeds' trip to Anfield on the opening Saturday of the new season.

"I admire him, but I was never close enough to him to really follow up," he said.

"I've watched his teams playing and that's pretty exceptional. The rest I got from newspapers and the rest.

"We have a different approach. There are similarities but there are big differences as well.

"I like him, without knowing him, as a proper character. Maybe the hardest working of all of us. I don't think we can compete with him in that area."

Klopp chuckled when he recalled the dossier of tactical information Bielsa presented from Leeds' preparations to host Derby County last year - a move he felt forced into after a member of his staff was caught spying at the Midlands club's training ground.

"When I think about the analysis around the Derby game… there was some information about the opponent. We have a lot of information, I'm not sure we have the same amount," Klopp recalled.

"We didn't see any kind of suspicious people around our training ground this week, so it's all fine.

"I'm really looking forward to meeting him. He's an inspiration for all coaches because what he does, he sticks with it, pushes it through and is successful with it.

"That makes him really interesting in this business."

The intensity Leeds are expected to bring to Anfield is something Klopp also wants to see in his own team's bid for back-to-back Premier League crowns.

Just don't call it a title defence.

He said: "Someone told me we have to defend the title. I don't understand that - maybe I am not smart enough.

"If there's a title out there, we obviously showed last year we were able to go for it. We did it the year before as well.

"It does not mean it will not be this year. We just don't take these things for granted, but the titles out there, we attack them.

"That's how I understand it because we all start from the same position. Nil games, nil points. Now, let's go for it.

"That's how I understood it always. That's what we did in the last years, so why should we change it now?

"We didn't go out of the Champions League [against Atletico Madrid] last season because we won it the year before. We went out because we faced a really good opponent and were unlucky in the game.

"We will go again, with all we have. That's the idea."

Klopp confirmed captain Jordan Henderson is back in training following his knee injury, with a late call to be made on his fitness ahead of the weekend action.

"It looks rather promising," he added.

Jurgen Klopp stated he "cannot end the speculations" linking Thiago Alcantara to Liverpool and also left Georginio Wijnaldum's future up in the air ahead of their Premier League title defence.

Liverpool kick off an English season as champions for the first time in 30 years when they host newly promoted Leeds United on Saturday.

Throughout the truncated close season, Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago has been touted for a move to Merseyside and Klopp declined when asked at a pre-match news conference if he would like to stop that particular strand of transfer talk from rumbling on.

"If I would invent now a word that could end speculations, I think I would become really rich," Klopp beamed.

"I cannot end speculations as long as the transfer window is open.

"Did I mention that Thiago Alcantara is a really good player? Long ago.

"It's nice that we are linked with him but that's pretty much all, really. It's because he's a good player and Liverpool is a big club, so that's nice.

"Apart from that, really, nothing to say about it. Maybe good for you, I cannot end the speculations."

There could also be a midfield outgoing at Liverpool, if Ronald Koeman's purported interest in taking fellow Dutchman Wijnaldum to Barcelona comes to fruition.

Klopp confirmed he held talks with the former Newcastle United player after he returned from international duty this week, but insisted that was nothing out of the ordinary and did not offer any guarantees on the player's future.

"Since Gini is here I think I had 500 or 600 talks with him," he said.

"That's exactly the same, like always. So, nothing else to say about that.

"Of course, I speak to Gini, he came back from international duty and then we have to talk. It's always like this and that's all, really.

"I cannot speak about the future in a few years, but it's all fine. It's all good for the moment.

"You know the situation. Between Gini, me and the club everything is completely fine, apart from anything to announce to you.

"But that's more your problem than ours because we are completely fine in this situation."

Irrespective of the make up of his squad when the transfer window closes, Klopp is frustrated over the restrictions put on how many of them he will be able to use on each Premier League matchday.

Upon the league's resumption last season following the coronavirus shutdown, teams were allowed to name matchday squads of 20 and make five substitutions during each game.

Premier League clubs voted to revert to 18-man squads and three subs, with arguments in favour of competitive balance mooted, although Klopp feels this will be to the detriment of player welfare.

"It all changes constantly," he added. "I thought from a common-sense point of view it would be 100 per cent clear that this year - only this year and not forever - we would have 20 and five.

"It's not about giving an advantage because we have better players and can bring five top players on the pitch.

"I really don't like that we deal with this thing based on the wrong facts. It's not about having advantages; it's about players' welfare and it's about having the highest quality in the games for all teams.

"I was really surprised when I heard the league decided against it."

Marcelo Bielsa has signed a one-year contract extension to remain as Leeds United head coach for the 2020-21 season.

Former Argentina, Chile and Atletico Madrid boss Bielsa has masterminded a sensational revival in Leeds' fortunes in his two seasons in charge at Elland Road, leading them to the Premier League as Championship winners last term having fallen short in the play-offs in 2018-19.

When the 65-year-old joined Leeds in June 2018, it was on a two-year deal with an option of a third that has now been finalised.

At a pre-match news conference on Thursday, he said: "I will be working the next season at Leeds United. Everything has been sorted and it's definite I will be here this season.

"But like with every negotiation, nothing is done until it's done."

Having successfully implemented his high-pressing, fast tempo passing game, Bielsa has led Leeds to 56 wins, 17 draws and 27 defeats over the course 100 games in charge

That record is set for a stern examination on Saturday when United travel to face Premier League champions Liverpool at Anfield in their 2020-21 opener, which is their first game in England's top flight since May 2004.

Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United head to Anfield on Saturday to meet champions Liverpool in their first Premier League game since 2004.

The Reds have won all but two of their 28 home league matches since the end of 2018, their last defeat on home soil coming against Crystal Palace on April 23, 2017. By anyone's standards, that is an extraordinary run of form.

Of course, this is no ordinary Leeds. Bielsa's men finished 10 points clear at the top of the Championship last season and ended 2019-20 winning six games in a row, scoring 17 times and conceding just twice.

But are they a team well placed to end Liverpool's stunning home run? Opta advanced metrics paint an intriguing picture...


It sounds a foolish question to ask of the reigning champions who won the Premier League historically early in a season, but results have slipped.

Liverpool lost six and drew two of their final 15 games in all competitions in 2019-20. In the previous 15, they won 13 times and kept 11 clean sheets. It was that tail-off in form in 2020 that saw hopes of matching the Arsenal 'Invincibles' ended by Watford and had them crash out of the Champions League and FA Cup.

At Anfield in the league, though, they look imperious as ever. 

In nine home league matches from January to July this year, they scored 25 goals, averaging 2.8 goals a game - that's a slight increase on their 10 home games from August to December 2019. Similarly, their shots on target per game is about the same across both periods (6.9 compared with 6.8) and their Expected Goals number drops only by two after the turn of the year.

Things look even better defensively. From January to July at home, they faced an average of 7.8 shots per game, a reduction on the 10.2 from last August to December. Their goals conceded dropped from nine to seven and they kept five clean sheets, up from two last year. They also committed zero errors leading to goals - those title-chasing nerves clearly hadn't set in too much. 

Interestingly, they spent more time on the ball in those home games from January to July, averaging 66.6 per cent possession compared with 58.4 previously. Their passes per game also shot up by around 119 on average.



Liverpool's greatest threat is arguably also a prime concern against teams such as Leeds: namely, their full-backs.

Klopp's set-up relies on Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson creating a five-man overload in attack alongside Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. Last season, Alexander-Arnold broke his record for assists for a defender in a Premier League campaign, with 13. Robertson got 12 for good measure.

But with forward-thinking full-backs comes the potential for danger. 

In 2019-20, Leeds recorded the highest average Absolute Width per Sequence of any Championship side (26.2 metres) - a measure of how far wide from the centre of the pitch a team moves in a sequence - which could be key should the Liverpool full-backs be caught high up the field.

And they often are. Last season, Liverpool ranked second for High Turnovers in the Premier League (252, two behind Manchester City), top for Pressed Sequences (678) and top for average Starting Distance (45.2 metres). This means they were accustomed to starting sequences of play at least 45 metres from their own goal, would endeavour to win back possession at least 40m from their opponents' goal, and would force opposition players to exchange three passes at most in their own half before giving up the ball. In other words, they could peg back the opposition, often without fear of being hit on the break.

Not only do Leeds favour wide attacks, they also thrive on Direct Attacks: this is an open-play sequence starting just inside their own half, with at least 50 per cent of movement towards the opposition goal, ending in a shot or touch in the opponents' box. They had 112 such attacks last season - no Championship side had more - and they averaged 15.14 metres of progress up the pitch with every sequence of play, which was the best in the division.

Bielsa might like possession, but Leeds are also experts at fast, wide attacks starting from within their own half. Against a team that likes plenty of possession high up the pitch, with full-backs firmly involved, it's the perfect recipe for counter-attacks.


Leeds might be a team well placed to exploit Liverpool's frailties (few as they are), but they are also susceptible to some of the Reds' strongest weapons.

Bielsa likes his players to press high; last season, only Barnsley (205) managed more High Turnovers in the Championship than Leeds (189). The trouble is they didn't always make the most of them: whereas Barnsley managed 49 High Turnovers ending in a shot, Leeds only had 36, putting them eighth for that metric overall.

They were also far from watertight in possession, conceding 188 High Turnovers, the fifth-highest in the league. That allowed their opponents quite a few fast breaks; indeed, teams averaged 1.92 metres per second in Direct Speed when attacking Leeds, the highest figure in the Championship.

Given Liverpool managed 14.61 metres on average when moving up the pitch in a sequence last season, and were second only to Manchester United (82) in Direct Attacks (80), they are well equipped to get at Leeds with frightening speed should the visitors not show due care with the possession they have.

Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed ahead of Leeds United's first game back in the Premier League that an agreement is in place for him to stay on as head coach at Elland Road.

The 65-year-old masterminded Leeds' return to the top flight after a 16-year absence by winning the Championship last season.

Bielsa's deal expired at the end of 2019-20 but Leeds have been working hard to agree fresh terms with the Argentinian, who is considered one of the most influential coaches in the game.

There has still been no official announcement on a new deal with two days to go until United's trip to champions Liverpool, but Bielsa has assured fans he is going nowhere.

"I will be working the next season at Leeds United," he confirmed at Thursday's pre-match news conference. "Everything has been sorted and it's definite I will be here this season.

"But like with every negotiation, nothing is done until it's done."

Asked why there has been a delay in agreeing a new contract, Bielsa said: "It isn't of importance. I have been working 100 per cent since we were promoted.

"The club, the fans, the players, they all deserve to be playing in the Premier League."

Leeds could not have picked a tougher first game back than a trip to Anfield, where Liverpool are unbeaten in the league since April 2017.

Bielsa, who has brought in defender Robin Koch and forward Rodrigo Moreno during the close season, has talked up opposite number Jurgen Klopp's managerial achievements ahead of this weekend's showdown.

"The work Klopp has done everywhere has given him the chance to shine everywhere," he said. "Anything I added would be repeating the praise he has already rightly received.

"They are just champions with a consistent style of play. Without a doubt they are one of the best teams in the world."

Adama Traore to team up with Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin?

The Wolves winger has been linked to some of Europe's biggest clubs, but Juventus could sign the Spain international.

Watch this space…



Juventus have been offered Wolves star Adama Traore by agent Jorge Mendes, according to Calciomercato.

Juve, Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona have been linked with Traore following his exploits for Wolves in the Premier League.

Traore could be made available to Serie A champions Juve for €70million (£63m) as Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi reportedly near exits.



- Sport claims Barcelona have lodged their first bid for Manchester City defender Eric Garcia. The 19-year-old, who is out of contract in 2021, join City from Barca in 2017. Barca have offered €8m (£7.2m) plus another €2m (£1.8m) in potential add-ons, though City are asking for €40m (£36m).

- According to Tancredi Palmeri, Juve have struck a deal with Barcelona for veteran forward Luis Suarez. Unwanted by new head coach Ronald Koeman at Camp Nou, Suarez is set to join Ronaldo in Turin.

Moise Kean wants to return to Juventus, however, Calciomercato says Borussia Dortmund are preparing an offer for the Everton forward.

- Gianluca Di Marzio claims Roma are closing in on a permanent deal for Manchester United defender Chris Smalling. The English centre-back spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Roma and the Serie A club have reportedly agreed personal terms.

Leeds United have submitted a new bid to sign Dinamo Zagreb sensation Josko Gvardiol, says Fabrizio Romano. The newly promoted Premier League side have offered £19.9m (€22m) plus 20 per cent of a future sale amid interest from RB Leipzig.

- Brescia and Italy star Sandro Tonali will undergo a medical on Wednesday ahead of his move to Milan, reports Tuttomercatoweb and Sportitalia.

Chelsea have not made contact for Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara, reports Romano. Alcantara is wanted by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, while United have held talks with the Spaniard's agent. He has also emerged as a possible target for former club Barca.

Ben White has signed a new four-year contract with Brighton and Hove Albion after attracting interest from a number of Premier League clubs.

White was outstanding during a season-long loan with Leeds United last season, featuring in all of the Whites' 46 Championship fixtures as Marcelo Bielsa's side returned to the top flight for the first time since 2004 as champions.

Leeds attempted to sign the centre-back on a permanent deal and reportedly had three bids rejected, with Brighton insisting the 22-year-old was not for sale.

That prompted Leeds to move for Germany international Robin Koch, and White, who was also linked with Liverpool and Chelsea, has now pledged his long-term future to Graham Potter's side.

"I have been looking forward to working with Ben for a long time. He was a player I was well aware of, even before I came to the club," Potter told Brighton's official website.

"He has gradually stepped up the EFL divisions, with Newport County, Peterborough United and Leeds United.

"He had a brilliant season helping Leeds to the title last season, and now he has the opportunity to show his qualities in the Premier League.

"We are delighted to have agreed a new long-term contract with him, and I am sure our supporters will be looking forward to watching him play for the club."

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