Chris Sutton believes Leeds United and Liverpool will draw their Premier League match at Elland Road on Monday night (17 April)
The Whites are coming off an embarrassing 5-1 loss to Crystal Palace, in which Javi Gracia’s side conceded all five goals in 32 minutes of crazy second-half action.
Sutton, writing in his weekly column for BBC Sport, questioned whether Leeds could recover from their thrashing at Elland Road last weekend, but predicted that the home crowd would cheer them on to a point in a 1-1 draw.
Gracia’s side is currently 16th in the Premier League, two points above the relegation zone, but a win could propel them as high as 13th.
“This is simply impossible to predict,” Sutton said. “Which Leeds team will show up, and for how long…?” What sort of performance can we expect from Liverpool this time?
“Last week, Leeds were really good in the first half against Crystal Palace, but they completely collapsed after the break.” Liverpool did the inverse against Arsenal, making a poor start before fighting back. I’m not sure why it took the Xhaka incident to get them fired up and playing with the right intensity.
“Jurgen Klopp’s side has struggled on the road this season, particularly against teams in the bottom half of the table, but you have to consider the impact of that heavy Palace defeat on Leeds’ confidence at Elland Road.” They must demonstrate that they are not as frail as they appear.
“Liverpool’s defense and midfield have been far from their best this season, but their attack has still been a handful – so Leeds can’t keep them out.”
“Equally, you just don’t know what you’re going to get defensively from the Reds right now – I don’t see them keeping a clean sheet either, even against a team that seems to waste a lot of chances.”
Reversal is required.
Leeds United’s confidence is likely to be shot after the dismal collapse at Elland Road last weekend, and things don’t get any easier this week when they face Liverpool.
Gracia’s side came crashing back down to earth in spectacular fashion after taking an early lead and looking good value for their 1-0 lead at halftime.
The defending on display was at times shambolic, and restoring confidence in the back line will be the top priority this week in training.
Klopp’s side were back to their rampant best when they earned a deserved point against Arsenal last time out, and they will come into this game determined to win as their race for Europe heats up.
However, away from Anfield, Liverpool’s defense has frequently appeared extremely vulnerable, and players like Jack Harrison and Luis Sinisterra will be salivating at the prospect of facing Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Given the current state of the Premier League table, even a point against the Reds could be critical to the club’s survival chances.