The marquee match-up of the opening game week of the Premier League season featured two English football heavyweights, EFL Championship winners Leeds United and defending champions Liverpool at Anfield.
Despite being newly-promoted, the buzz around Leeds has been massive, not only because they return to the top-flight of English football after 16 years, but also due to their high-tempo and swashbuckling style of football, that has been the hallmark of their coach, Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa.
The season-opener between the two teams that live and die by 'heavy metal football' was touted to be an explosive affair and they did not disappoint. From penalties to solo brilliance to individual errors to excellent finishes, the game that finished 4-3 in Liverpool's favour had it all.
Leeds made 33 tackles against Liverpool, the most any team has made against the Reds in a single Premier League game across the past five seasons.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 12, 2020
Leeds. Are. Back. pic.twitter.com/iTnu4ljE6p
Liverpool's season opener in 2019/20 finished 4-1 against Norwich, however, unlike that game, where Liverpool took their foot off the gas after going 4-0 up at the half, the champions were hit with attack after attack from Bielsa's men, who came back from a goal down thrice to even the scores in the match before Salah's late penalty gave the home side the win.
The champions were getting a taste of their own medicine against Leeds. The Peacocks were relentless in their pressing and enjoyed the majority of the possession. In fact, Leeds became the only team outside the Premier League's big six, to finish a game with more than half the possession against Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool after Brighton and Hove Albion did it last season.
Across the last five seasons, only two teams outside of the Big Six have had more than 50% possession against Liverpool at Anfield in the PL:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 12, 2020
◉ Brighton (2019-20)
◉ Leeds (2020-21)
Bielsa-Ball. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/Tc3evDIo08
While Salah's hattrick took the game away from Leeds, their defence and midfield, who were tasked with not only containing one of the most potent attacking trios in world football in Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane but also venturing forward for blindside runs and overlaps, which came to great effect for the third goal.
Leeds created a right side overload, with four players making a run into the box with only three Liverpool players in the vicinity. Winger Helder Costa cut inside and found an open Mateusz Klich whose first touch set the ball up for himself and the second was a volley past Alisson to make it 3-3.
Marcelo Bielsa is a maverick and the football his teams play is simply class. Leeds may still be adjusting to life in the Premier League, but if that performance against Liverpool is anything to go by, the Peacocks are here to stay.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Shaun Botterill