Leeds 1-1 Liverpool: Diego Llorente header leaves Reds with work to do in top-four race
Report and match highlights as Sadio Mane’s opener cancelled out by Diego Llorente three minutes from time; Liverpool remain in sixth with six games remaining
Monday 19 April 2021 23:00, UK
Diego Llorente scored a late equaliser for Leeds in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool as fans protested outside the ground over the European Super League proposal.
Liverpool fans have reacted angrily to the news that their club could be involved in a breakaway European competition with Jurgen Klopp admitting he understood their grievances before kick-off. He said that Liverpool’s focus wouldn’t be affected and his team delivered on that notion in the first half, pinning Leeds back for large parts and opening the scoring through Sadio Mane (31) after a forceful run and assist from Trent Alexander-Arnold.
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Leeds: Meslier (7), Ayling (7), Llorente (7), Struijk (7), Alioski (7), Phillips (7), Dallas (7), Roberts (6), Helder Costa (6), Harrison (6), Bamford (7)
Subs: Poveda (6)
Liverpool: Alisson (7), Alexander-Arnold (8), Kabak (7), Fabinho (7), Robertson (7), Wijnaldum (7), Thiago (6), Milner (7), Jota (7), Firmino (6), Mane (7)
Subs: Salah (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6)
Man of the match: Trent Alexander-Arnold
How Super Leeds fought back…
However, some lacklustre finishing always left the door open for Leeds, who improved as the game wore on and Llorente headed home his first goal for the club (87).
The result leaves Liverpool outside the top four in sixth place with six games remaining while Marcelo Bielsa’s side are finishing the season strongly and now unbeaten in five games.
FULL TIME: #LUFC hold Super League side Merseyside Reds to a 1-1 draw after late Llorente equaliser
Leeds made a clear statement in the warm-up as they wore t-shirts with ‘Football is for the Fans’ written on the back. Klopp, whose team didn’t wear the shirts, was angered by their opponents putting the shirts in their dressing room and sent his team out with attacking intentions.
Thiago Alcantara’s early strike was tipped over the bar by Illan Meslier and Diogo Jota’s close-range effort was blocked away.
Leeds were struggling to create but were almost gifted an opening goal as Fabinho played a woeful pass and Patrick Bamford went clear on goal, but Alisson produced a crucial block.
But Liverpool carried the greater threat and turned their territory into a goal on 31 minutes.
Alexander-Arnold charged in behind on to Jota’s superb through ball and kept his composure – in front of a watching Gareth Southgate – to slide a lovely pass for Mane to stroke home his first goal in nine Premier League matches.
The goal was also Liverpool’s first goal scored before the 45th minute in a Premier League game since December 27.
The pattern continued after the break with Liverpool creating all the big moments. Roberto Firmino was denied by Meslier’s near-post save at the start of the second period and Jota headed narrowly over from the subsequent corner.
Leeds started to win more second balls as the half developed and Alexander-Arnold escaped a penalty appeal against him after the ball appeared to hit his lower arm and Helder Costa failed to keep his far-post volley on target.
Mohamed Salah replaced Mane with 19 minutes left as Klopp tried to take the game back in his favour, but Leeds continued to dominate. Patrick Bamford came within inches of an equaliser when his exquisite touch and clever volley struck the crossbar and Alisson saved again from Roberts.
Time was running out for Leeds but Llorente rose highest to send a thumping header past Alisson to give Leeds a deserved point.
Man of the match: Trent Alexander-Arnold
When Alexander-Arnold plays well, Liverpool play well.
It’s no coincidence that the drop in form of the supremely talented full-back had come alongside Liverpool’s patchy run of form. In the first half at Elland Road we saw Alexander-Arnold at his brilliant best, making clever runs and providing first-class distribution for his team-mates. That was on show for Liverpool’s goal where he combined both the peaks of his skillset to allow Mane the easiest of tap-ins to end his goal drought. His influence waned as the game wore on but this was a performance hard to ignore.
- Liverpool have dropped 13 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, two more than they had over the last two campaigns combined (6 in 2018-19, 5 in 2019-20).
- Leeds have both scored and conceded 50 goals in the Premier League this season (32 games), with only Tottenham in 2007-08 doing so in fewer matches in a campaign in the competition (30).
- Liverpool’s possession figure of 38.8 per cent was their lowest in a Premier League game since November 2018 (38.2% vs Arsenal) – a game that also finished 1-1.
- Alexander-Arnold’s 31 Premier League assists for Liverpool have been for Mané, at least three more than he’s provided for any other player.
- Llorente’s equaliser was his first goal in his 10th Premier League game for Leeds, and his first goal overall since July 2020 for Real Sociedad at Villarreal.
- With two attempts tonight, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah became the second player to record 100 shots in the Premier League this season (101 in total), after Harry Kane (117).
Next up for Leeds are Manchester United next Sunday, a game live on Sky Sports (2pm kick-off). Liverpool welcome Newcastle to Anfield on Saturday lunchtime (12.30pm kick-off).
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