It's back, baby!
The Premier League returns to our screens this Saturday - every game, by the way - as Fulham host Arsenal in the curtain-raiser for the 2020/21 campaign.
Perhaps the most intriguing contest of the opening round of fixtures, however, is Leeds United's trip to Anfield later on Saturday evening.
Marcelo Bielsa and Jurgen Klopp are set to lock horns for the very first time in what promises to be an enthralling encounter between two sides revered for their overwhelming off-the-ball intensity.
El Loco's Whites are set to be a much more formidable opponent for Klopp's juggernaut than Daniel Farke's naive Canaries on matchday one of the 2019/20 season. Here's the side the German string-puller could opt for in the first game of their title defence.
1. Goalkeeper & Defenders
Alisson (GK) - Certainly the most dependable and technically refined shot-stopper in the division, the one-time Golden Glove winner is a sure bet to start between the sticks on Saturday, barring some sort of last-minute fitness issue.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) - The 2019/20 Young Player of the Year missed Liverpool's Community Shield defeat to Arsenal but started England's Nations League clash in Denmark on Tuesday. The 21-year-old returns to a familiar system designed to squeeze every ounce of talent out of him after serving as a wing-back for Gareth Southgate in Copenhagen.
Joe Gomez (CB) - The former Charlton man endured a mixed bag over the course of the recent international break, giving away a penalty in England's slender victory over Iceland before impressing as part of a back three in the Denmark stalemate. He'll retain his place at the heart of the Liverpool defence and continue his formidable partnership with...
Virgil van Dijk (CB) - The dominant Dutchman remains Europe's supreme centre-half. He'll be in Klopp's starting XI for Saturday, no doubt.
Andy Robertson (LB) - The work of Liverpool's full-backs was pivotal in overwhelming Norwich in their opening game of the season last time out and Leeds will undoubtedly be wary of the threat they possess. Robertson finished 2019/20 with an impressive 12 assists and the arrival of the highly rated Kostas Tsimikas will only buoy the Scot this time around.
Fabinho (DM) - The glue in this Liverpool side as a result of his remarkable tackling - thanks to his gangly frame - and impressive aerial ability, Fabinho's a shoo-in for Saturday's fixture with Jordan Henderson unlikely to make the starting XI following an injury lay-off. The Brazilian's work in possession will certainly be put to the test by a relentless Leeds side, although you can expect Klopp to emphasise on long balls and wing-play.
Naby Keita (CM) - The Guinea international is one of two changes Klopp could make from the Community Shield defeat, with questions over Georginio Wijnaldum's future thrusting the Dutchman to the bench for the Reds' season opener. While Keita perhaps can't provide the positional intelligence and counter-attack protection of Wijnaldum, he nonetheless enjoyed a fine run of form after the restart in which saw the tactical side to his game improve and creative attributes laid bare.
James Milner (CM) - Henderson's fitness may see James Milner get a start. He'll perform a similar function to the Liverpool skipper, supplying Klopp's engine-room with leadership, energy, tenacity and diligent coverage of Alexander-Arnold's forays into the final third. Amazingly, he was also on the pitch for Leeds' last Premier League fixture - 16 years ago.
Mohamed Salah (RW) - The Egyptian's standards are seemingly so high that a 19-goal Premier League season almost went under the radar last time out. Nevertheless, there are concerns regarding Salah's form heading into 20/21 - genuinely - but you can expect the superstar to silence any doubters just as he's continued to do ever since his £34m arrival in 2017.
Roberto Firmino (CF) - The Brazilian broke his Anfield duck in Liverpool's final home game of last season against Chelsea and will be keen to start the season off with a bang this time around. Firmino will likely be testing the wits of talented Leeds new-boy Robin Koch in this one.
Sadio Mane (LW) - There's no denying Jordan Henderson's importance to Liverpool's system and he was rightly a strong contender for the 2019/20 PFA Player of the Year, but an argument could also be made for Mane being Liverpool's standout performer in their maiden Premier League triumph. The Senegalese star has constantly evolved since his 2017 move from Southampton and we're now at a point where he's simply one of the best footballers in the world.
Source : 90min