The form of Jota and contrasting fortunes from set pieces – the Liverpool threats Leeds must be wary of

Mohamed Salah is undoubtedly Liverpool’s greatest attacking threat but there are plenty of other weapons in Jurgen Klopp’s arsenal that Leeds United must be wary of.

The Egyptian scored a hat-trick in his only start against the Whites last season and has begun the new campaign in fine goalscoring form.

The Reds look to have recovered from the troubles they endured at times last term and look ready for another title challenge.

With seven points from their opening three games, they are yet to taste defeat so far.

However, they will have disappointed not have taken all three points against Chelsea in their last outing as the Blues played half the game with 10 men following Reece James’ red card.

Klopp’s side will be looking to get back to winning ways on their travels this weekend with hopes of extending Leeds’ winless start to the season.

They are expected to be without Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino due to an ongoing dispute with the Brazilian Football Federation, which also leaves Raphinha unavailable for selection.

We have taken a look at the threats posed by Liverpool as they visit Elland Road.

Set piece threat

Since Virgil van Dijk’s arrival, there is no secret of the Reds’ proficiency from set pieces and they will look to use that in order to exploit Leeds’ frailties at dealing with them.

So far this season, Liverpool have looked extremely dangerous from dead balls and have created more chances from them than any other Premier League side.

This statistic will worry Whites supporters as their side conceded more goals from those scenarios than any other team in the English top fight last term as the 15 set-piece goals that they shipped made up almost a quarter of their concessions.

However, as Diego Llorente returned to the team, Leeds looked a lot more assured defending free kicks and corners and Liverpool will know all about the Spaniard’s capabilities in the air.

His only goal of last season came in this exact fixture as he headed in a late equaliser to cancel out Sadio Mane’s opener.

Diogo Jota’s link up

Klopp won’t be feeling so bad about the fact that Firmino cannot play on Sunday as Diogo Jota has looked right at home as part of the front three at Anfield.

In six appearances for club and country so far this season, the Portugal forward has scored three goals and registered two assists and since his move to Merseyside almost a year ago, he is averaging almost three shots per game.

Despite standing at just five feet and eight inches, his aerial presence cannot be underestimated due to the ability of his movement in the penalty area.

In his last four matches for his country, he has scored four times with his head and also got one in Liverpool’s recent 2-0 win against Burnley.

Once again, all eyes will be on Llorente and his centre-back partner to counteract the threat posed by Jota whilst the Leeds full backs will have to ensure that they restrict the amount of crosses entering the Leeds 18-yard box.

Clash of playing styles

Like the Whites, Liverpool are particularly well known for their relentless pressing style, so how have they fared when the two sides have met previously?

Funnily enough, Klopp seemed to instruct his players to ease off in both meetings last season with Leeds having more possession and completing more passes in those games.

This allowed the Reds to utilise their devastating ability on the counter attack and was epitomised in the goal they scored at Elland Road as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mane combined to give the latter a tap in.

While that was a game that Bielsa’s side were unlucky not to win, it showed just how dangerous Liverpool can be when they quickly turn defence into attack.

It would be surprising to see Leeds deviate away from the high-intensity style that has been implemented at Elland Road but they must be wary of the potential counter attacks from their opponents.

As in both meetings last term, it will certainly be an interesting tactical match up as two of the game’s great managers and their teams do battle on Sunday afternoon.

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