Premier League: Leeds United deny Liverpool at Elland Road

Premier League: Late Show for Leeds Denies Liverpool a Vital Win

Leeds United 1-1 Liverpool

A late header from Diego Llorente gave Leeds a deserved point against Liverpool tonight, and that delivered a blow to the Reds’ hopes of securing a Champions League place at the end of the season.

Sadio Mane scored the opening goal, midway through the first half, but Leeds fought back well and had hit the woodwork before Llorente’s 87th-minute leveller. A top-four place is the only thing Liverpool has to play for now. Out of the Premier League title race, both domestic cups and the Champions League, they really needed a win tonight but a point was just enough to keep them in sixth place while Leeds stay tenth.

Amidst talk of a new European Super League, this match was a good distraction from off the field mayhem. The pre-match Leeds United vs Liverpool betting odds offered 3.74 for a draw and that was the right outcome after a well-fought contest.

 

Highlights of the game

Liverpool started on the front foot and Thiago tested Illan Meslier with a dipping and swerving drive which the Leeds keeper tipped over the bar.

The hosts had a glorious chance to go ahead when Fabinho gave the ball away carelessly and Kalvin Phillips put Patrick Bamford clean through on goal, but the Leeds top scorer took a needless touch and Alisson saved. The Whites always attack with freedom and Marcelo Bielsa wouldn’t have it any other way, but they can be exposed at the back and Liverpool exploited that on 31 minutes. Trent Alexander-Arnold showed great pace to beat Meslier to a ball over the top and squared it unselfishly for Mane to tap home into the empty net.

After a poor run of form led to him being dropped from the England team Trent has been in fine form in recent weeks, and he did well down the right to beat Ezgjan Alioski and cross for Diogo Jota whose effort was well blocked by Meslier.

 

Liverpool began the second half as they had the first and Firmino found himself in space, 15 yards out, and drew a fine save from Meslier who turned his effort around the post. Then Mane was close to adding his and Liverpool’s second when he met a cross from James Milner but the ball bobbled agonisingly wide. Leeds began to fight back and had a decent penalty shout when a ball aiming for Bamford hit Trent on the arm, but VAR was unmoved. And midway through the half Jack Harrison had Leeds best effort so far when he dribbled into the penalty area and unleashed a fierce shot but Alisson stood firm to save.

But Leeds kept on coming and Bamford was inches away from scoring his 15th league goal of the season when he hit a fine effort which came crashing back off the crossbar, and then Tyler Roberts should have scored when he had a clear sight of goal from eight yards but he shot straight at Alisson and Liverpool survived.

As the game became more stretched Mo Salah had a chance to settle matters but his shot slid wide of the post, and Diego Llorente made him pay, heading home from a Jack Harrison corner with three minutes left on the clock.

 

Key statistics

Leeds pulled off a brilliant smash and grab against Manchester City last week but there was little sign of a repeat in the first half tonight as they managed just four shots in the opening half to Liverpool’s ten. But they fought back superbly eventually registering 12 shots to the Reds’ 17 and dominating possession with over 60 per cent of the ball.

Mane’s goal ended the Senegalese striker’s longest drought as a Liverpool player; this was his first goal in ten appearances for the Reds, and it was the first time Liverpool have scored a goal before the 45th in since December 27th.

And while this point ended a run of three wins for the Whites, they denied the 2020 champions just a week after humbling the 2021 champions-elect.

Premier League: Liverpool fail to get maximum points away from home

Sadio Mane celebrates with his teammates after scoring Liverpool’s opening goal against Leeds United

 

What’s next?

Of course, the big Premier League 2021 news in the run-up to this game was the revelation that England’s ‘Big Six’ clubs along with teams from Spain and Italy have been talking about the breakaway European Super League. Even Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge has entered the debate, expressing his concerns and questioning the wisdom and motives of the six clubs involved, including Liverpool.

We’ll have to wait and see how that one pans out but while the arguments rage, there’s plenty more action to come for SBOTOP Premier League fans next weekend, when Liverpool face Newcastle United, and Leeds meet Manchester United, another of the big teams in the gang of six.

 

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