Round two of Marcelo Bielsa against Jurgen Klopp commences this evening at Elland Road. The Argentine vs the German. El Loco vs the normal one. Leeds United vs Liverpool. However, you want to bill it, Monday night football will be a lot of fun.
Marcelo Bielsa Against Jurgen Klopp to do Battle at Elland Road
Round one was back in September. It was the free-scoring reigning Premier League champions up against the swashbuckling winners of the Championship.
Fans of the Premier League had seen the Yorkshire-based sides fast-paced, attacking style, but nothing had prepared them for this. The lead swung back and forth throughout an enthralling game, with the champions in red coming out on top 4-3. Despite the defeat, Bielsa’s boys had arrived.
Fast forward to Monday’s game, and the fortunes of the two sides in question have reversed, relative to their expectations at least.
The reigning champions have struggled with a lengthy injury list, especially in defence. They are also reeling from their recent exit from the Champions League. If they manage to scramble enough results together, they may be able to qualify once again for the competition, but anything less just isn’t good enough.
The Whites, on the other hand, have been winning fans over across the league. Flair players such as Raphinha have been lighting fires across the competition, and yet it is the core of their Championship squad who have held the ship firm in difficult times. And in Patrick Bamford, Bielsa has transformed a journeyman into a leading man.
It seems Klopp is a fan too. Speaking to the Daily Mirror, he said: “I can remember, I’m pretty sure before the season I heard on talkSPORT, people saying that Leeds need a proper goalscorer, Bamford is not good enough, stuff like this. I’m so happy that he could prove them all wrong!”
Marcelo Bielsa vs Jurgen Klopp
Round one was the first time these two managers had met, and admiration is abundant on all sides.
Jurgen Klopp was worshipped at Borussia Dortmund, where he brought consecutive Bundesliga titles back to the Westfalenstadion, before claiming the Champions League and the Premier League title at Liverpool.
Newell’s Old Boys play their football at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa, and Leeds now has ‘Marcelo Bielsa Way’ in the city centre along with a host of murals celebrating recent and past successes. This is a man who has made his mark on this often-unforgiving city in more ways than one.
Admiration seems to be the order of the day between these elite leaders too. Marcelo Bielsa was very complimentary ahead of the game.
He said to the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I like to see Liverpool play. They always play in the same manner, for me that is big praise to give to a team. There’s no player in the team who is not prepared to receive or manage the ball wherever they receive it.”
Jurgen Klopp too is wary of his opposition, saying: “It’s a completely different game. Leeds, in the moment, is probably the most different game in the league. You can compare a few teams with each other, some play this some play that. But Leeds is really special and so for that, we have to be ready.”
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