Liverpool travel to Elland Road to take on Leeds as the Reds seek to end their barren run of 44 days without a win. Here’s all you need to know.
Leeds vs. Liverpool
Premier League (30) | Elland Road
April 17, 2023 | 8pm (BST)
Eight days on from Liverpool’s draw against Arsenal, they are finally back in action.
The Reds showed promise in the second half as they came from behind to draw against the league leaders, but more dropped points means qualification for any European competition hangs in the balance.
A visit to relegation-threatened Leeds is up next for Liverpool, who need to lift the mood around Anfield.
1. Key players returning
After over two months out with a hip flexor injury, Thiago could be in line to make his first start since February 4.
The midfielder made an instant impact when he came on against Arsenal last weekend and Jurgen Klopp will be hoping he can have a similar effect from the start.
Luis Diaz could also return. He’s been out since October but, on Friday, Klopp said: “He is now completely normal in training, now we have to reintegrate him.
“He will be in the squad.”
2. Setbacks in training
While there was good news for Thiago and Diaz, Klopp also delivered updates on the fitness of Ibrahima Konate and Alisson.
On the Frenchman, Klopp said: “Ibou couldn’t train for two days, should be back [Friday] hopefully.”
The manager added an update on Alisson: “Ali wasn’t involved for two days, will train [Friday] individually.
“Little bit of illness here and knocks there. We had a few problems and hopefully, we will not get more.
“But if they are all in, I think we have five or six [fit] players not in the matchday squad. That’s a lot.
“There are no easy decisions over who stays home.”
3. Leeds in trouble
Leeds are struggling this season.
Jesse Marsch’s sacking in February became inevitable but things haven’t really improved since.
The nadir of their season arguably came last weekend when they lost 5-1 to Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace, and the Whites are now dangerously close to the relegation zone.
Wilfried Gnonto has missed the last two games through injury but was on the bench against Palace. Should he start against Liverpool, Luis Sinisterra and Brenden Aaronson are the two most likely names to drop out.
Tyler Adams remains out with a hamstring problem.
4. A changed front three?
Despite missing a couple of days of training this week, we would expect Alisson to start in goal.
Konate’s injury status is more uncertain and could provide an opportunity for Joe Gomez or Joel Matip to regain their place in the team.
Harvey Elliott didn’t play against Arsenal so could come back into the team alongside Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.
Thiago is also available and his presence will allow for more rotation, with Henderson and Fabinho having played a lot of minutes of late.
Diaz, Darwin Nunez, Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah are all fit.
The latter needs to bounce back from his penalty miss against Arsenal, while Firmino will be hoping his goal at Anfield last weekend is enough to regain his spot in the side.
Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo
5. 44 days without a win
By Monday, it will have been 44 days since Liverpool last won a game of football – that being the historic thrashing of Man United.
The Reds weren’t able to maintain the performance levels shown at Anfield that day and have since played five matches, losing three then drawing two.
If Liverpool fail to beat Leeds, it would mean that there will have been a shorter gap between victories against Southampton (November 12) and Aston Villa (Boxing Day), despite there being a World Cup to separate those fixtures.
6. “They owe us 3 points”
Back in October, Leeds inflicted Liverpool’s first Premier League defeat in front of fans at Anfield since 2017.
Klopp’s side are out for revenge this time around and the manager expects a tough game despite the opposition’s lowly position in the league.
“They owe us three points,” Klopp said. “It will be a big fight, a massive fight in the situation Leeds is in.
“Their last game [against Palace], these kinds of games can happen. They are actually in a pretty good moment but in this game they got a proper knock.
“These things can happen, because magic Roy is back. Palace are a really good team. It was a tough one.
“We expect them to be on their toes, a massive fight, proper atmosphere.
“It will be a tough one but we have to build on two games where we were good or in moments really good. We will try to do that.”
7. A Monday night
While playing last means the Reds will have a clearer objective of what they need to do – winning would be helpful for one – Monday night fixtures are less than ideal for supporters.
The match was moved for TV but now fans face a race against time in order to catch the last train back from Leeds to Liverpool.
The journey is far from the furthest the travelling Reds will have to make over the course of a season, but it is still a difficult trip for those who are able to get a ticket for Elland Road.
8. Did you know?
Liverpool have scored in each of the last nine visits to Elland Road, a run extended to 18 matches home and away.
That’s a club record against the Yorkshiremen.
Leeds‘ win at Anfield in October ended Liverpool’s run of 81 games unbeaten in the league at home in front of a full house – and 85 with fans in the stadium.
Liverpool are yet to score an away league goal this season against any of the teams in the bottom half going into this weekend’s fixtures.
9. Hopefully no elbows this week!
After the assistant referee who elbowed Andy Robertson last weekend, Constantine Hatzidakis, got away with just an apology to the left-back, it is safe to say the officials will have to be on top of their game come Monday night.
Craig Pawson is the referee, and his assistants are Marc Perry and Richard West.
Pawson has taken charge of Liverpool 34 games times during his career but has never sent one of the Reds’ players off.
He did, though, send off Pascal Struijk in this fixture in 2021/22, for a foul on Elliott that kept the youngster out for most of the season.
The lead VAR is Tony Harrington.
10. Follow the match with TIA
Leeds vs. Liverpool is live on Sky Sports Premier League with kickoff at 8pm (BST).
TIA’s matchday live blog will be up and running from 7.15pm, with Sam Millne tasked with keeping you entertained and up-to-date.
Come on you Reds!