Matthew Johnson addresses Liverpool’s upcoming EFL Cup quarter-final against Leeds United.
On Tuesday 29th November at 19.45, Liverpool and Leeds United go head to head under the lights at Anfield in the quarter-finals of the English Football League Cup. On paper, it’s seen as the best possible draw for the Merseyside club, avoiding the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and other Premier League teams in the draw, however, following Leeds United’s recent good form under the impressive Gary Monk, it won’t be an easy game for the Reds.
15 league games into the Championship season and Leeds have not made a better start to a better start to a Championship campaign since 2005/06. Fans have certainly taken to Monk since his arrival in the summer, on and off the pitch with results flowing nicely and Leeds currently sit ninth in the league, one point away from the playoffs. Last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Burton Albion resulted in the Yorkshire clubs 10th win in 15 games in all competitions.
In terms of Leeds’ individual players, it is expected that first-choice striker Chris Wood will lead the attack who has been in very good form so far this season with 10 goals in 18 games – a big physical player who could give Liverpool’s so-called ‘shaky’ defence problems.
Defensively, Leeds have been known to concede a lot of goals in the past, however, under Gary Monk, so far this season, new signings Kyle Bartley and Pontus Jansson (loan) have formed a solid partnership in the heart of the defence. 10 games in, the pair have only conceded 5 goals with 5 clean sheets (171 minutes per goal conceded).
It could be expected that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will make changes for the fixture, having previously rested first team players and given young players a run out in a chance to establish themselves. In the last round against Tottenham, Lucas Leiva occupied the right centre-back position and if this was to be a repeat in the game against Leeds United, there is no doubt that Gary Monk will tell Chris Wood to get onto the Brazilian considering the physical difference (set plays could be a huge factor).
Despite Liverpool’s superiority in squad depth and quality compared to Leeds United, the Yorkshire club will not be beaten easily as proved in their last tie with Norwich, where they scored a goal with 10 men in extra time to take it to penalties.
It is important that Liverpool treat this fixture with respect or Leeds United have the ability to punish them, nonetheless, two great clubs who have admirable histories aiming to add to their impressive trophy collection with a victory in the quarter-final.