On Saturday, Premier League champions Liverpool kick off the season against a newly promoted side—and it might be the headlining match of opening day, because that newly promoted side is Leeds United managed by Marcelo Bielsa.
One of the game’s most storied clubs. One of the game’s most widely hated clubs. Back in the top flight after nearly twenty years in the wilderness. And despite being a promoted side, this is a Leeds side that nobody thinks will be easy to beat.
“It’s a very special game,” Bielsa replied when asked about the chance to face Liverpool in the opening game of the 2020-21 Premier League season, Leeds’ first back in the top flight since they were relegated following the 2003-04 campaign.
“Liverpool are a champion with a consistent style of play, without a doubt one of the best teams in the world. They have a defined system with very good players. It’s the best league in the world and it requires you to be at the highest level.”
In a weekend that sees last both season’s upstarts Sheffield United hosting Wolves and Tottenham welcoming Everton to North London, all eyes will be on Anfield to see how both how champions Liverpool and resurrected Leeds fare.
Leeds’ last league game at Anfield was October 25th, 2003, a 3-1 defeat. In 2016, they came to Anfield in the League Cup and lost 2-0. Two more games were played at Elland Road, a draw in the the league in 2004 and a cup defeat in 2009.
“It’s difficult to [say] how we are going to adjust to the Premier League,” he added “We prepared for this, now we need to show it on the pitch. We have been forming a group for some time with players that can play at a higher level.”