Leeds United v Liverpool: Team news, key battle, key man and YEP prediction
AHEAD of Monday night's Premier League clash between Leeds United and Liverpool, we take a look at the key aspects of the Elland Road contest between the Whites and Reds.
Venue: Elland Road
TV: Sky Sports Monday Night Football
Odds (best available): Leeds win – 39-10, Draw – 7-2, Liverpool win – 8-11
Last time the teams met at Elland Road
Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - Carling Cup: Leeds United 0, Liverpool 1 (Ngog 66)
Key battle: Kalvin Phillips v Fabinho
United's England international midfielder Kalvin Phillips excelled from his deep lying midfield role in last weekend's victory at Manchester City and now faces a mouth-watering battle against Reds ace Fabinho.
Gary Neville said recently that he considers Fabinho the best holding midfielder in the division - and whoever exercises the best control from that position will likely to be key, especially with Fabinho also coming up against a thriving Stuart Dallas in the middle of the park, fresh from his match-winning brace at the Etihad.
Much could also depend on how much joy United get going forward against a Liverpool defence still minus the services of injured trio Joe Gomez (knee), Joel Matip (ankle) and in particular star man Virgil van Dijk (knee).
Liverpool have seven players out with captain Jordan Henderson (hip), Curtis Jones (muscle), Divock Origi (muscle) and Caoimhin Kellerher (abdominal) also still sidelined.
Reds key man: Mo Salah
Egyptian star striker Salah proved the difference between Liverpool and Leeds in September's season opener at Anfield in which the Reds edged a 4-3 thriller.
Two of Salah's goals came from the penalty spot but the 28-year-old remains an all round menace who easily tops Liverpool's goalscoring charts on 19, 11 more than next best Diogo Jota who is one ahead of Sadio Mane.
There are Reds threats all over the shop but keeping the powerful Salah quiet will likely be crucial for a Leeds side who will be without their captain Liam Cooper who now begins a three-match ban for his straight red card at City.
Lee Sobot's verdict:
Fresh from flooring the champions elect, Leeds will now look to knock down the champions themselves, albeit Jurgen Klopp's sixth-placed side are going to finish the season trophyless following Wednesday night's Champions League exit to Real Madrid.
Liverpool have had problems at both ends this season with injuries at the back and the Reds attack not clicking like it can.
But the Reds remain devastating at their best and there is likely to be a siege mentality from a side for whom a top-four finish remains a must, at least until the European Super League gets going.
Leeds could also be without star winger Raphinha who has a thigh injury and with Rodrigo also a doubt this will be every inch as difficult as the Manchester City test, if not more so, although the Whites do have Jack Harrison back having been ineligible to face parent club City.
United are seeking four-straight Premier League wins for the first time in the same season since 2001 and will cause problems, but so too will the Reds and perhaps a score draw is in the offing or a one-goal victory for either side either way.
A lot could depend on whether Raphinha is fit. If he is and given the rub of the green then maybe a 2-1 victory for Leeds. If not then perhaps 2-1 to the Reds.
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Thank you Laura Collins