Liverpool history will not repeat itself as Leeds United dodges thrilling trend of Jürgen Klopp

While many of us indulge in copious amounts of food, drink and sweets during the holiday season, English footballers put on their shoes and play for our entertainment.

Liverpool’s record under Jürgen Klopp when it comes to Boxing Day games is remarkably good. In fact, Klopp has yet to suffer a defeat in the first game after Christmas, either on Boxing Day or on the 27th. This trend will continue this year, after the scheduled game against Leeds United was postponed due to cases of COVID in the Elland Road camp. Instead, we decided to reflect on the past of Boxing Days.

Klopp’s first taste of festive football in England came on Boxing Day 2015, when Liverpool hosted Leicester City at Anfield. A goal from Christian Benteke in the second half secured a slim 1-0 victory for Klopp. It was Liverpool’s first victory in a month, followed by another 1-0 victory at Sunderland four days later.

A year later, a trend of Klopp’s men began to distribute festive cheers in the form of opposition killings. In 2016, Stoke was completely beaten 4-1 at Anfield, with goals from Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge and an own goal from Giannelli Imbula.

This was overcome the following year with a 5-0 demolition of Swansea. Klopp’s machine was really starting to take off after a few inconsistent years. Before the match, they had been unbeaten for two months in the league and the goals were soaring.

In a team made up of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, poor Swansea had little luck. Coutinho scored the first after just six minutes (his last goal for the club), before Firmino scored a brace and goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Trent Alexander-Arnold sealed an emphatic victory.

Coincidentally, their unbeaten streak would last for three months and be interrupted by, you guessed it, Swansea in the second leg in late January.

Next in line to receive a Christmas beating from Klopp’s side was Newcastle. The Toons were quickly sent 4-0 to Anfield, with goals from Salah, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri and a collector’s item for Dejan Lovren. They did even better in the next game, as three days later Arsenal were wiped out 5-1 at Anfield with Firmino scoring a hat-trick.

Fast forward a year later and it was Leicester’s turn to be at their wit’s end. After winning 16 of their 17 games before the game against the Foxes, most expected little change. Liverpool would win, the question was by how much.

Quatre was the answer. Goals from Firmino (two), James Milner and Alexander-Arnold sealed another brilliant performance for Liverpool, who would not lose a league game until the end of February 2020.

The string of demolitions ended last year, when West Brom traveled to Anfield and surprisingly came away with a point after the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Mané gave Liverpool the lead early in the game before Semi Ajayi equalized with eight minutes on the clock.

This draw would send Liverpool into a kind of free fall, as they would only win twice in the next two months, and concede their title to Man City.

Overall we saw 19 goals scored and only two conceded in the game immediately after Christmas in the Klopp era.

The club will no longer face Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds this Boxing Day. Considering how Man City have passed them recently, could we have seen even more goals?

History would indicate it.


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Edward L. Robinett