Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has waxed lyrical about Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford ahead of the Reds’ trip to Elland Road on Monday night.
The two sides meet again following their first Premier League game of the season all the way back in September, when they served up a seven-goal thriller.
Bamford got on the scoresheet at Anfield that day, drawing Leeds level on the half-hour mark after Mohamed Salah, Jack Harrison and Virgil van Dijk had netted in the opening 20 minutes.
Salah put Liverpool up again just three minutes later, only for Mateusz Klich to score in the 66th minute to make it 3-3, though the Reds just edged it through Salah’s 88th-minute penalty.
Since then, Bamford has registered a further 13 goals in the league, putting him joint-fourth in the top goalscorers list alongside Son Heung-min and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Prior to this season, the 27-year-old split opinion amongst the Leeds fanbase, with some not sure whether his finishing was Championship-worthy, never mind the top flight.
However, Bamford has answered his critics in style, and Klopp has thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Whites marksman do so well this season.
“What a player, Bamford!” the Liverpool boss is quoted by The Mirror as saying.
“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!
“He’s an exceptional player. The work-rate is outstanding, and he still plays the football he plays on top of that, and scores goals. That’s rare.
“They have a lot of interesting players, but Bamford, I’m really happy for him. I dont know him, obviously, but it’s a nice career, a little bit later than others but still very impressive.”
Even as Leeds got promoted last term, there were those who thought Bamford wasn’t clinical enough at Championship level and questioned whether he’d be able to cut it in the Premier League.
Needless to say, he has answered his critics in style, and Marcelo Bielsa deserves credit for keeping faith in his player, a decision which has reaped dividends with Leeds looking set for an impressive mid-table finish in their first season back in the big time.