- Liverpool 4-3 Leeds – Match report & highlights
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Alisson – 5
Not particularly impressive on either of Leeds’ first-half goals, with the near-post concession to Jack Harrison especially questionable.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5
Spared the embarrassment of a remarkable second-half own-goal by a marginal offside call and beaten all ends up by Harrison for the winger’s brilliant solo goal. Unusually for him, lacked a threat of his own going forward at the other end.
Joe Gomez – 6
Held his own in his match-long battles with Patrick Bamford, but not always on the same wavelength as Van Dijk and could have been quicker to cover for Alexander-Arnold when Harrison scored.
Virgil van Dijk – 4
So he is human. Accused of “arrogance” by Jamie Carragher for the mistake which handed Bamford Leeds’ second equaliser with Graeme Souness describing his performance as “a stinker”. And to think Van Dijk was Liverpool’s second goalscorer, powering in a free header from a corner after 20 minutes.
Andy Robertson – 7
Not to blame for any of Liverpool’s many defensive lapses and continued to offer plenty of width and verve down Liverpool’s left.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 6
Quiet. Kalvin Phillips seemed more concerned with Wijnaldum having the ball than Wijnaldum – or indeed any of his colleagues – was whenever Phillips took possession.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Back from injury earlier than expected, his return to the starting line-up ahead of the benched Fabinho an instant illustration of the value Jurgen Klopp attaches to his captain. But his performance itself didn’t add to much, with the Liverpool captain not at his most influential.
Naby Keita – 4
A bright spark in the opening minutes but, as so often during his nascent Liverpool career, failed to fully ignite thereafter and drifted around the periphery. Replaced before the hour mark and needs a big performance soon.
Mohamed Salah – 8
Outstanding. Ruthless penalty conversion was followed by a fabulous snap-shot into the top corner to give Liverpool a half-time lead before ice-cool conversion from the spot in the final minutes gave the champions a somewhat fortunate victory.
Roberto Firmino – 6
Guilty of a glaring misjudgement when he pulled the back rather than pull the trigger in the opening minutes, but his link play remains absolutely instrumental to so much of Liverpool’s play. He won’t score the goals of a conventional centre-forward but there’s a reason why Liverpool value their type of centre-forward over all others. That said, his indecisive flick when clean through a minute or so before Salah’s second penalty was tough to appreciate.
Sadio Mane – 5
Not at his best and failed to make a firm impression on proceedings, scooping over his best chance of the evening midway through the second half. The great thing about Liverpool’s ‘fab three’, though, is that when one fails to fire, at least one of their other two big guns almost always does.
Introduced for the disappointing Keita and will surely be a starter more often than not this season.
A cameo to quickly forget. At fault for Leeds’ third equaliser after failing to track his man and rightly saw penalty appeal waved away. But it’s clear, just from his introduction, that Klopp sees the youngster as an important part of his plans for the season.
Illan Meslier – 7
Could do nothing for any of Liverpool’s goals but when required, he made some crucial saves to keep Leeds in the game. The acrobatic save after Pascal Struijk diverted Robertson’s cross towards his own goal in the first-half and the block early in the second half to deny Wijanldum were the highlights.
Luke Ayling – 6
Not many opportunities to get forward for the Leeds skipper on what was a tough night for the visitors’ defence. However, he made a crucial run in the build-up to Mateusz Klich’s goal and some important tackles on the cover to keep Mane relatively quiet.
Robin Koch – 5
A very difficult start to life at Leeds for the German. He gave away the penalty for Liverpool’s first before losing Van Dijk at a corner for the Premier League champions’ second. He did make a couple of crucial blocks to deny Mane either side of half-time, but Bielsa will want more from his summer signing as he attempts to settle into the Premier League quickly.
Pascal Struijk – 5
Not an easy night for the Leeds defence and at times Struijk struggled with the brilliant movement of Mane, Firmino and Salah. He was edgy in possession at times and his header before Salah’s second was not great.
Stuart Dallas – 6
Had the difficult task of keeping a sharp Salah in check. He did have a couple of opportunities to get forward though and made some crucial runs and passes as Leeds kept Liverpool’s defence honest.
Kalvin Phillips – 7
Fresh from his England debut, it was a tricky night for Phillips as he was tasked with protecting his side’s back four. Sometimes left isolated by the forward runs of Hernandez and Klich, but the England midfielder got through a lot of work. His passing was accurate, he made a number of crucial tackles and almost gave his side the lead late on with a beautifully struck free kick.
Helder Costa – 7
There will be nights when the Portuguese winger gets more space, but he was a good outlet for Leeds on the right. Produced a wonderful pass to cut out Van Dijk and pick out Klich for the midfielder’s goal.
Mateusz Klich – 8
Plenty of effort from the midfielder and also a touch of quality. He linked most of Leeds’ good attacks with clever passing and intelligent runs forward. One of those runs created his goal and it was a sweet strike to bring Leeds level for a third time. One crucial block late on typified his all-action performance.
Pablo Hernandez – 6
Not one of Hernandez’s greatest night. Sloppy in possession at times and struggles to pick up the frantic pace of the game.
Jack Harrison – 8
Two superb touches and a brilliant strike to create and score Leeds’ first. His pace and trickery was a problem for Alexander-Arnold all night.
Patrick Bamford – 7
Somewhat of a surprise inclusion with new signing Rodrigo sitting on the bench, but he worked hard for his side in the 62 minutes he was on the pitch and showed a good poacher’s instinct to capatilise on van Dijk’s error to get off the mark in the Premier League.
Rodrigo – 4
Not the debut the former Valencia striker would have wanted. He struggled to get into the game after replacing Bamford with 28 minutes remaining and then produced a forward’s tackle on Fabinho in the box to hand Liverpool victory late on.
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