KEOWN TALKS TACTICS: Marcelo Bielsa will have the odd trick up his sleeve


KEOWN TALKS TACTICS: Marcelo Bielsa will have the odd trick up his sleeve for Leeds’ clash with Liverpool – and Kalvin Phillips could be the visitors’ most important player

  • Arsenal had come close to being knocked out the FA Cup by Leeds last season 
  • Leeds pose the Premier League side many problems with their fearless attitude 
  • They averaged 64 per cent possession last term but will find that more difficult
  • Phillips, acting as the deeper midfielder, might be Leeds’ most important player 

Arsenal won the FA Cup but could have been out of that competition by half-time in the third round when Leeds visited the Emirates.

Leeds, with a system that should soon become familiar, posed the Premier League side problems. They were fearless and limited Arsenal to 37.2 per cent possession in the first half and a single shot on target.

All Leeds lacked that day was a finishing touch. Patrick Bamford came closest, smashing a shot on to the bar after intricate passing in the final third.

Leeds almost knocked eventual winner Arsenal out of the FA Cup last season in the third round

Leeds almost knocked eventual winner Arsenal out of the FA Cup last season in the third round

But the tie, which Arsenal won 1-0, showed what Leeds are about. They attacked in numbers and set traps to win the ball back with Arsenal’s midfielders put under incredible pressure. There was one moment when Rob Holding tried to find Granit Xhaka, only for Mateusz Klich to pounce. Leeds won the ball and broke, resulting in a shot by Bamford.

That is the Marcelo Bielsa press in action. Jurgen Klopp likes to stand on the halfway line and watch the opposition players warm up – he openly spies on you! Bielsa will rock up at Anfield, sit on that bucket of his and feel he belongs at this level.

Bielsa’s formation is listed as 4-1-4-1 but this can change mid-match with so many moving parts, depending on if they are in or out of possession.

If full backs Luke Ayling and Stuart Dallas fly forward and leave behind their centre backs, midfield sitter Kalvin Phillips can drop to make it a three-man defence. Great flexibility.

Leeds attacked in numbers in the tie and set clever traps to win the ball back at the Emirates

Leeds attacked in numbers in the tie and set clever traps to win the ball back at the Emirates

IMAGINE NO POSSESSION  

Leeds averaged 64 per cent possession in the Championship last season. Naturally it will be more difficult to dominate the ball in the Premier League. Liverpool will not sit back like some of Leeds’ Championship opponents did. As defending champions at Anfield, they will want to take the game to the visitors.

Liverpool opened the last campaign with a 4-1 win over Norwich City, the winners of the previous season’s Championship. But Leeds will have studied how others, such as Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, got the better of Liverpool last season.

Diego Simeone’s side pinned back full backs Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, and succeeded in splitting forwards Mohamed Salah and…



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