Former footballer Paul Merson says that Leeds United’s playing style is reminiscent of Jurgen Klopp’s current Liverpool team.
Liverpool stand on the verge of history having won all but one of their Premier League fixtures so far this year off the back of securing their sixth Champions League triumph at the end of last season. Speaking on Sky Sports’ The Debate, Merson suggested that no-one was like this Liverpool team – before promptly likening Marcelo Bielsa’s high-octane tactics to the style of the all-conquering Reds.
He said (via Leeds Live): “Liverpool, no one’s like Liverpool, it’s phenomenal what they do. You look at Leeds in the league below, they sort of play at that tempo, but they hit a brick wall last year, and they’ve hit a brick wall this year. Hopefully, they’ll get out of it this year and carry on and go up.”
With Bielsa’s high-press tactics a notable feature of the Argentinian’s Leeds side, it is understandable that Merson has compared it with Klopp’s Liverpool, who have taken on the German’s fabled ‘gegenpressing’ philosophy.
Is Marcelo Bielsa capable of taking Leeds United up?
While there is a contrasting level of success between the two sides, Leeds have nevertheless earned themselves their fair share of plaudits this season for their style of play. That may explain why Merson appears to hold such a hope for Leeds to test that style in the top flight, even if those hopes hang in the balance as the Whites have struggled for form either side of the new year.
It seems that Leeds have a clear identity under Bielsa, and although they have demonstrated themselves that it is not necessarily a precursor to success, the nature of Merson’s suggestion implies that the system itself is not an enjoyable one to play against – judging by how Liverpool have profited from their own pressing game.
While Leeds have not mastered Bielsa’s style as yet, they may still have enough to bring it to the Premier League and really put Merson’s theory to the test.
Leeds fans, will Bielsa take you to the Premier League? Share your thoughts below!
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