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Reds Column III

Premier League 2020-21 Summary: Leeds United vs Liverpool

Liverpool Fc were held to a 1-1 draw by the hosts Leeds United in the Premier League.

Prior to the game; Nathaniel Phillips was absent from the squad due to a minor hamstring issue and in place of the injured Englishman, Fabinho was moved back to the Centre Back position.

Overall; Jürgen Klopp opted to make 2 changes to the Liverpool Fc (The Reds) side that was deployed against the visitors Real Madrid CF in the Second Leg of the Champions League 2020-21 Quarter-final.

Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcântara returned for the Premier League away encounter with Leeds United (The Whites).

Mohamed Salah was named among the strong bench that included Naby Keïta, Xherdan Shaqiri, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and others.

With all the unwanted attention now on the Reds being among the founding members of the planned breakaway European Super League, the Players and Klopp looked unhappy about the news.

The home side showed their support for the English FA and UEFA by placing the T-Shirts with the label “UEFA Champions League – Earn It” in the visitors’ Locker Room; much to the Reds annoyance.

Like most of their games during the Season, the Reds were winning the ball high up the pitch and created openings but they were getting the final ball wrong far too often!

The Reds got their breakthrough after Mané slotted the ball to the bottom right corner of the net following an assist from Trent Alexander-Arnold in the 31st minute.

It was Jota however who collected the ball near the half-way line and sends it wide to Alexander-Arnold who then bursts down the line and produces a lovely touch to lift it over Illan Meslier to the path of Sadio Mané. Well crafted Goal!

Firmino picked up a Yellow Card for his sliding tackle on Luke Ayling in the 39th minute.

With the Reds unable to double their lead, the First Half ended with the Reds leading 0-1.

In the Second Half, the Reds had chances to double the lead through Firmino but his shot was denied by Pascal Struijk in the 47th minute.

Following an assist by Kalvin Phillips with a cross, in the 59th minute, there were massive appeals for handball from Alexander-Arnold as the ball comes over the top of Bamford and the ball brushed the arm of Alexander-Arnold as he moved his arm away. But VAR adjudged not to award the Penalty.

Alisson Becker produced a stunning save to deny Jack Harrison from a tight angle following an assist from Tyler Roberts in the 69th minute.

In the 71st minute, Mané made way for Salah to bring more energy and attacking edge to the Reds attack.

Alisson again produced another stunning save to deny Tyler Roberts following an assist from  Ian Poveda-Ocampo in the 77th minute.

Diogo Jota was later replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 81st minute to bring more pace to the game.

Similar to their previous games, the Reds were punished for their poor finishing and the White got their equalising Goal.

Diego Llorente headed the ball to the bottom right corner past the hapless Alisson after an assist by Jack Harrison with a cross following a corner in the 87th minute.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had his shot denied following an assist from Firmino deep in the injury time.

The match ended in a 1-1 draw as the Reds dropped valuable points in the race for the Top-four spot.

 

Reds Team Performance Ratings

Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)

Defence:

Alisson Becker – 7: With impeccable positioning and handling, the Brazilian made fine saves to keep the Reds in the hunt. Could not do anything about the equalising Goal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8: Provided the assist that led to the opening Goal. The Englishman was a constant menace on the right flank.

Ozan Kabak – 5: Could not deal properly with the threat from Patrick Bamford and was rattled especially during the Second Half.

Fabinho – 6: Apart of the minor howler which fortunately did not hurt the Reds; the makeshift defender made good interceptions.

Andrew Robertson – 7: Started brightly and defended well as the Scot had to deal with the threat mainly from Jack Harrison.

Midfield:

James Milner – 6: Always looked to keep the Reds on the front foot against his former side and shielded the defence whenever required.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 6: Energetic display from the Dutchman and made decent challenges for the Reds.

Thiago Alcântara – 7: Started lively with well timed tackles as well as providing with range of passing to keep the Reds on the front foot. Provided a fine pass but unfortunately Salah did not score.

Forwards:

Sadio Mané – 7: Was in the right place to slot the ball for the opening Goal. Played with more energy and purpose.

Roberto Firmino – 5: Found pockets of spaces but was inconsistent with his use of ball and contributions in the final third were below par.

Diogo Jota – 6: Looked threatening with direct running and provided a fine crossfield pass that led to the opening Goal.

Substitutes:

Mohamed Salah – N/A: Not enough time to make an impact.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – N/A: Like Salah.

Coach:

Jürgen Klopp – 6: Taking off Jota and Mané was understandable but to persist with ineffective Firmino did not make any sense!

The Brazilian is just simply out of form and better bench options were available. More points have been dropped and the Reds faces a mountain to climb in the race to secure the Top 4 spots.

Depending on how the future pans out, the Reds could face with a possible expulsion from every recognised tournament for being part of a planned breakaway European Super League!

More unnecessary troubles for the Club especially since we are in the midst of a Global Pandemic!

 

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