Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave Liverpool the blueprint to beating Leeds United but Jurgen Klopp can perfect it

Liverpool will return to Premier League action on Saturday against Leeds United and they should take pointers from Manchester United.

The Reds’ fiercest rivals stole the show on the opening day of the season with a 5-1 win over Leeds in which Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes carved open Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

While Ole often opts for more of a counter-attacking style of play compared to Jurgen Klopp, given that Liverpool will be playing away from home and that the home side tends to play with a free-flowing but vulnerable style of play, hitting back against the run of play might be the best course of action.

Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England on August 14, 2021. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

What really impressed me about United’s display, and it pains me to say this, was that it was the first time that I actually saw Ole implement a genuine tactical plan that seemed tailor-made for his opponents.

Leeds United are known for being gung-ho and being willing to go toe to toe with any team in the league regardless of whether it’s Norwich City or Liverpool.

They narrowly lost 4-3 to the Reds on their return to the Premier League last season and it was a statement of intent from the then-new boys.

Solskjaer implemented an extremely high press and used Bruno Fernandes, Fred,  Scott McTominay Dan James, Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood to box Leeds inside their own half.

The result was a 5-1 scoreline.

There isn’t a single team in the Premier League better suited to executing a high press than Liverpool and with Mane, Salah and Jota at his disposal, they’d feast with the chances that United got on the opening day of the season.

It will be interesting to see what Klopp opts to do on Saturday but it’s been a while since we’ve seen the full force of Liverpool’s heavy metal pressing machine with the German recently preferring a more balanced counter-pressing approach.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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