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Reds Column II

Premier League 2020-21 Summary: Liverpool vs Leeds United

Liverpool Fc (The Reds) beat the newly promoted Leeds United 4-3 in an entertaining start to the season.

What a way to start off the Premier League Title Defence for Liverpool Fc (The Reds)!

Thanks to the Hattrick from Mohamed Salah, the Reds managed to hold on to win over the high-flying Leeds United.

Despite playing at home, the Reds struggled to contain the relentless Leeds United attack. Salah scored first in the 4th minute from a penalty, thanks to a clear handball from the Leeds United defender Robin Koch. The lead was short lived as Jack Harrison cut past Trent Alexander-Arnold and volleyed beyond the outstretched Alisson. Virgil Van Dijk restored the lead through a header in the 20th minute from an Andrew Robertson corner.

In a match where both teams where looking to attack at each other, Leeds United once again levelled as Patrick Bamford capitalised on the poor communication between Van Dijk and Alisson. On any other day, Van Dijk could have easily clearly headed the ball away but in the 30th minute, the Dutch timidly placed the ball onto Bamford’s path and he gleefully placed the ball past the bemused Alisson.

Salah made 3-2 for the Reds, through a well struck volley on the right top corner of the net in the 33rd minute. The Reds ended the first half hanging on their lead by a thread.

The lead did not last either as Leeds United equalised in the 66th following another quick counter attack and an unmarked Mateusz Klich struck a brilliant volley past Alisson.

It was very unlikely that a game of this calibre would end in a high scoring draw. Finally, in the 88th minute Salah buried the penalty (making it 4-3 for the Reds) thanks to another piece of slopping defending but this time from the Leeds United newcomer Rodrigo who felled Fabinho inside the Penalty Box.

Both sides were culpable for conceding possessions and sloppy defending. The game overall was an entertaining one for the neutrals, though both managers will have different issues to sort out for the remainder of the season.

 

Reds Team Performance Ratings

Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)

Defence:

Alisson Becker – 6: The Brazilian cannot be faulted for any of the 3 goals but could have done better to thwart the second goal through proper communication with Virgil Van Dijk.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6: Returning from injury, clearly lacked the match sharpness and could have marked Harisson better in the build-up to the equaliser.

Joe Gomez – 6: Caught out of position repeatedly by Harrison and Bamford. The young Englishman lacked the usual support from Van Dijk and the midfielders especially from the dependable Henderson.

Virgil Van Dijk – 6: Scored the second goal of the game and conceded the equaliser. Very untypical of the Dutch and the Reds will hope that matches like today are just a one-off.

Andrew Robertson – 7: Besides providing the second Reds goal from the Corner, defended well while the others went missing.

Midfield:

Georginio Wijnaldum – 6: Despite being dispossessed a few times, improved after the second half and passed the ball with a more attacking intent.

Naby Keïta – 5: Very average game for the Guinean as he could not influence the game and conceded the possessions cheaply. Rightly hauled off in the second half and replaced by Fabinho (58th minute) to bring more calmness in the midfield.

Jordan Henderson – 5: Slow to get off his mark and clearly struggled as the game progressed and was replaced by Curtis Jones in the 66th minute.

Forwards:

Sadio Mané – 7: The marauding Senegalese was incessant and looked threatening as ever. Could have scored a few goals in any another day but he is one of the few players that surely looked well set for the rest of the season.

Roberto Firmino – 7: Started off the game quietly, provided with some neat passes in the final third and picked up a yellow card on a foul on Harrison in the 76th minute.

Mohamed Salah – 10: More than made up for his quiet Community Shield 2020 game by being a constant menace to the Leeds United Defence. Became the first Reds player to score in the opening game of the season in 4 consecutive seasons and capped off the match with a Hattrick.

Substitutes:

Fabinho – 7: Brought on the replace Henderson in the 66th minute and won the penalty that sealed the game for the Reds.

Curtis Jones – 6: Did exactly what the boss wanted. Kept it tidy and helped the Reds press for the winner.

Joël Matip – N/A: Replaced Alexander-Arnold in the 89th minute to close out the game.

Coach:

Jürgen Klopp – 7: Even he will be relieved that the Reds managed to hold on to tense win against the high-flying Leeds United. The next few games for the Reds are even more difficult as they will cap off September playing away against Chelsea (20 September 2020) and at home to Arsenal (28 September 2020).

The Reds will need to rediscover their old defensive swagger that helped them last season by closing out the matches where the Reds scored few goals.

 

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