Liverpool 4 (Salah 4 pen, 33, 88 pen, van Dijk 20)
Leeds United 3 (Harrison 12, Bamford 30, Klich 66)
In my final report of last season I began with the word “Wow!” after that terrific performance against Charlton as we switched on the champagne football. Well, it would have been easy to start this report with the same word, this time against Liverpool, the Champions of England!
Not many fans thought Leeds could get anything at Anfield although a few of us did and I had a feeling that, if we could only get the rub of the green, then playing ‘Pool in the first game was probably our best chance of nicking a point. But what a performance that was and, if fairness played any part in this beautiful game of ours, or if results were decided on points awarded during the game like a boxing match, then that was a draw.
In the end losing by the odd goal in seven against the Champions is no disgrace but it’s still galling and annoying that some familiar old Leeds traits have followed us into the Premier League having dogged us these last 16 years while we’ve been trying to get back to it!
Sheer bad luck is one of those traits. Quite why a supposedly top Premier League referee and a VAR official failed to follow the League’s own guidance, as documented on their own website, that “… a handball WILL NOT be awarded if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from their own head/body/foot” we can only wonder and speculate. What exactly is the point of VAR if it doesn’t pick up things like this? It’s a shambles, nothing more nothing less. But we also have ourselves to blame this time as we continued to be so poor at defending corners, another trait that has been with us throughout these long tiresome 16 years in exile. We simply must find a way to improve our record when defending corners and, for that matter, when attacking our own… not that we had a single one of those today!
So, one correctly given penalty for a rash challenge by our new man Rodrigo and two set pieces undid what was an otherwise fabulous performance but the three Leeds goals were classy and ‘Leedsy’ and, overall this was a great start.
Now, with time to work with Koch and Rodrigo and, hopefully, another new centre back and a fit again Coops, we should be ready to put in a ‘same again’ performance against Fulham next week. I’m assuming we’ll sacrifice the midweek EFL Cup game against Hull City by playing a complete reserve side; the League games are just too vital to risk losing anyone else!
Liverpool Leeds United
Possession 48% 52%
Shots 22 6
On Target 6 3
Corners 9 0
Fouls Committed 9 6