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Football News: Leeds United v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Leeds United v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Leeds United v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective

 

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A surprisingly one-sided affair at Elland Road, which could have seen Liverpool run up a much bigger score, while Leeds struggled to get any meaningful involvement in the match. From a Liverpool point of view the game should have been out of sight at half-time. Leeds do not yet look to be hitting anywhere near the heights they did last season, though they did have a few games last time out where they were as open defensively, so it is too early to worry about them.

As for Liverpool, they were dominant even before the sending off, looking much more like the team that won the Premier League a couple of seasons ago. It may even be a little unfair to pick at Leeds and call them open when very few teams have been able to cope with this Liverpool side without just sitting deep and hanging on for 90 minutes. Add that to having to play a large chunk with just 10 men and Leeds can hardly be criticised for the result.

The unfortunate injury to Harvey Elliott was just that, unfortunate. Such a shame but it was clearly just an accident and there was absolutely no intent on Struijk's part to hurt Elliott at all. I am not wholly convinced it was a red card at all, but I do not want to watch it back and see it again to be sure of that! Get well soon Harvey, YNWA.

 


Leeds United

 

While they are struggling to get going so far this season, I personally see no reason to worry about them finishing outside of the top half. They have had a difficult start and I would expect them to start coming good as the season goes on, just like last time round. They are just suffering a post-transfer window hangover by the looks of things, where they were expecting more to come in and feel a little deflated. They have a run of winnable games to get going again and they will need to start winning if this blip is not to become a slump.

 


Liverpool

 

Klopp - you would find it difficult to find fault with his team selection and the way the team performed for him in this game.

 

Alisson - despite having very little in the way of saves to make, he played very well, pulling out a save when needed and his distribution was excellent.

 

Alexander-Arnold - his setpieces were poor but the rest of his game was excellent once more and he, Salah and Elliott were crucifying Leeds down their flank. Of course he also put in an excellent ball, after a good run, for Salah to score. And yet the waistcoated wonder will still not play him at right-back for England, no matter how much better he is than any other full-back in the game right now. It really does beggar belief how idiotic Southgate really is to ignore Alexander-Arnold's qualities at right-back.

 

Matip - had an exceptional game, including the run for the opener. He and van Dijk were almost playing as playmakers for most of the game as Leeds harried the Liverpool midfield. He is good enough on the ball to enjoy getting time and space with it at his feet.

 

van Dijk - some of his diagonal balls to the flanks are just worthy of a round of applause alone. He strolled through the game and was able to ping it about in a way that was almost reminiscent of Xabi Alonso at times. To cap it off he is an excellent defender with genuine pace as well. That made it a very hard day for Bamford, who must have just been glad to get off the pitch at the end.

 

Robertson - a quieter than usual day for him as most of the attacks went down Liverpool's right. He struggled to link up with Jota, while Jota was on the left for large portions of the first half, in particular. Though that was more Jota's fault. When Mane shifted out to the left Robertson came into the game more and they took the game to Leeds.

 

Thiago - he was surprisingly effective at breaking up play alongside Fabinho, though he was not as effective on the ball as he would like. In large part due to the ball being moved forward so quickly to take advantage of gaps at the back in Leeds' defence. When he did get on it, he was able to get things moving forward quickly as well.

 

Fabinho - did his usual exceptional job breaking up play, sometimes his reading of the play is incredible. It is not luck that he is always there to stick out a foot and pick off a pass. Added to that he got a goal. It is difficult to find an argument against him deserving man of the match, he was the main reason Liverpool were able to pen Leeds back even before the sending off.

 

Elliott - such a shame he picked up the injury because he was once more influential and linking up brilliantly with Salah and Alexander-Arnold down the right. Those three together were the main difference between the two sides. Leeds simply could not cope with their interchange and movement. Hopefully he will back and as good as ever soon.

 

Mane - while playing central for the main part of the first half I thought Mane was excellent and linked up play well, as well as threatening to score so many times. When he returned to his usual left wing berth he continued to cause Leeds headaches and eventually got the goal he deserved. Mane is really beginning to get his form back, with some lovely touches and using his strength so well to hold onto the ball. I was disappointed with his attempt to earn a decision when he had clearly just knocked a ball too far away. There was no need to do that and I was glad the referee ignored his pleas for a foul.

 

Salah - Salah has started off the season on fire and once again he was excellent, adding his 100th goal in the Premier League as well. Right now he is looking almost unplayable and Leeds' attempts to man-mark him failed miserably. That is why most teams have two or three around him every time he gets the ball, one is not enough to stop him. It is not just that, it is also his willingness to work back when needed, such as when Alexander-Arnold was on the ground in the Leeds' box and he tracked back to the right-back position to cover.

 

Jota - for me, for a large portion of the first half he was the one disappointment in the starting eleven. His touch and passing were once more letting him down and he was offering little. After that, he came into the game a bit more and played much better, but unusually was not able to score.

 

Henderson - replaced an injured Elliott in the 63rd minute. While I have seen a lot of people complain about the choice of Henderson coming on, rather than a more attacking player, I think it made a lot of sense to bring him on. After that injury to Elliott, players often lose focus and can let their performances dip as they are too busy thinking about what has happened. Henderson is the kind of leader that gets everyone back focused on the game and keeps their performances up. I believe the choice to bring him on went a long way towards allowing Liverpool to take advantage of the sending off.

 

Oxlade-Chamberlain - came on in place of Jota in the 82nd minute. He struggled to get into the game and had little effect. Really he needed a bit more time to show what he can do.

 

Keita - took Thiago's spot on 90+3 minutes. Never had the time to really show what he can do.

 

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Written by Tris Burke September 14 2021 04:08:02

 

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