Leeds United can cause Liverpool problems in battle of my two 'football loves' - Dom Matteo
I’LL definitely be shedding a tear when Leeds United take on Liverpool at Elland Road on Monday.
Both clubs have given me tremendous support with what I have been through so it’s even more special for me.
As a player, in my first game back at Anfield for Leeds, I walked into the wrong dressing room which didn’t go down too well.
I was so used to walking into that home dressing room and it was always nice to go back.
I have always missed the place and, when you have been somewhere for so long, you have always got that love for a club.
This fixture is a difficult one for me because Leeds and Liverpool are my two loves in my football world.
You talk about the loves in your life and in football it’s those two clubs.
Even when I was going through my difficult period, which I still am, Leeds and Liverpool are the two clubs that have always been there for me.
I was down at Elland Road on Monday and that support was shown again by chief executive Angus Kinnear, and I have spoken with Jurgen Klopp in the last couple of weeks too as I did an interview with him which was amazing.
I have been so well-supported by both clubs, and James Milner has been helping me as well and just always being there for me.
He has invited me to Liverpool’s last game of the season so now I have had two invites - one from Liverpool and one from Leeds!
But I just love both clubs.
I started my career at Liverpool so Liverpool gave me the grounding and that first start for the club.
You are always thankful for that and you can’t change your clubs.
But I kind of have changed a little bit because I live in Leeds now and Yorkshire Cancer Research have been brilliant for me with the cancer side of things.
I am still trying to raise money for them, as we speak, and that will grow as I move forward. But both of these clubs are special for me and the fan bases for both are unreal.
I think the Liverpool fans will absolutely love to come to Elland Road next year, hopefully when fans are allowed back in.
It will be a full house and it will be absolutely amazing just to see that spectacle again. That’s what I am looking forward to.
Obviously we can’t have that at the minute but it’s a special game for me and there’s not that hostility of a Man United v Liverpool game or a Leeds v Man United game.
There’s not as much aggression with this one, more of a respect and I think that’s what we are going to see.
I think we are going to see a really fast-flowing, attacking game. I might be wrong and it could end up 0-0 but, for me personally, I think there will be goals in this one!
I bumped into Angus on Monday when I was working down at Elland Road and it was just nice to touch base with people like the chief exec’ and still be around certain people.
It was nice just to see him and chat to him about football and how well Leeds are doing.
He seemed really excited, which was good. And I think Monday’s game is a real opportunity for Leeds to show everybody what they can do against Liverpool.
It’s a game that could go either way, and I’m not having a go at Liverpool, but defensively, if anyone can pick out some weaknesses, it will be Marcelo Bielsa because he is a master tactician.
Leeds have been a bit of a shock for everyone this year and the way they have played has been outstanding.
You can go back to the first game of the season and the 4-3 defeat against Liverpool at Anfield when Mo Salah got a hat-trick.
Liverpool were the champions at that point but Leeds gave a brilliant account of themselves.
They have shocked a lot of people with the way they play and they have stuck to that way of playing right the way through this whole season.
They haven’t really altered too much.
The only thing I would say is that, in the last couple of weeks, it looks like Leeds are learning to defend better and they produced an outstanding performance for Saturday’s 2-1 win at Manchester City.
Everyone expected Man City to walk away with it. Pep Guardiola did make a lot of changes, and that was maybe a little bit disrespectful, but they have got to manage their situation with the Champions League as well.
The victory at City will give Leeds so much confidence if they can now build on that.
Previously, Leeds just needed a bit more consistency but they have that now and are a hard team to play against.
They have done brilliantly and I also think they really love playing against the better teams.
They got a draw against Man City at Elland Road and beat Man City away with Stuart Dallas getting those two amazing goals, and Dallas has been probably the player of the season for me.
I know we have mentioned a lot of others and there have been a lot of players who have contributed.
But, if you are talking about consistency and for one player, I don’t think there’s many been as good as him anywhere in the Premier League.
That’s how good I think Dallas has been.
Dominic Matteo's column, in association with Data Facilities.
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Thank you Laura Collins