Diego Llorente scored a late equaliser to cancel out Sadio Mane's first half opener. As Liverpool and Leeds played out a score draw, in a game that was overshadowed by Liverpool's recently announced intentions to join a ‘European Super League’.
Liverpool’s visit to Elland Road on Monday night was supposed to signify the start of The Reds’ final stretch in what has been a thrilling top four race to date. But after twelve ‘elite’ European clubs announced their plans to form a breakaway European ‘Super League’ on Sunday evening, the fixture very quickly became a non-event. With the eyes of the world on Yorkshire and the events that were due to unfold.
Liverpool’s team bus arrived at Elland Road to a wrath of fury from both sets of supporters, as chants of ‘greed’ and ‘scum’ were sang unanimously.
Jurgen Klopp revealed his stance on the situation prior to kick off, during an interview with Sky Sports.
"I didn't change my opinion. I heard for the first time about it yesterday. We got some, not a lot of information. It's a tough one, people are not happy, I can understand that. We are not involved in any process, not me or the players''
Story of the game
Klopp made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Real Madrid on Wednesday, as Nat Phillips missed out with a hamstring injury meaning that Fabinho was forced to deputise alongside Ozan Kabak. Diogo Jota also came into the side as Mohamed Salah dropped to the bench for the first time since Burnley’s visit to Anfield in January.
Leeds were forced into numerous changes of their own as captain Liam Cooper started the first of his three match suspension, he was replaced by Pascal Strujk. Raphinha also sat out of the contest as he failed to prove his fitness in time and was subsequently replaced by Jack Harrison.
There was a rather fiery start to proceedings as Klopp's men deployed their usual high intensity press. Something, in truth, Leeds dealt with pretty well in the early stages, as they passed their way through it.
The first meaningful chance of the evening fell to Thiago. As he tried his luck from long-range with a piledriver, which called on a fine save from Illan Meslier to keep it goalless.
The visitors again came close to firing themselves ahead when Roberto Firmino broke in behind Leeds' highline. Meslier came out and made himself big, causing the Brazilian to skew his effort wide of the target.
The home side were gifted with the best chance to break the deadlock when a sloppy turnover in possession from Fabinho allowed Patrick Bamford to run clean through. His effort was kept out by Alisson and subsequently cleared behind for a corner by the culprit, Fabinho.
Klopp's men finally had some something to show for their efforts when as Mane broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark. Jota's sublime pass set Trent Alexander-Arnold away as he beat the on-rushing Leeds 'Keeper to the ball. Alexander-Arnold nicked it, Meslier missed it, and Mane was gifted a golden opportunity, that even he in his current form couldn't miss, as he slotted in his first league goal since Liverpool's visit to Tottenham at the end of January. Sending Liverpool into the break with their noses in front.
Leeds upped the ante in the start of the second half as their irresistible press made Liverpool surrender any hope of settling the game down.
Firmino waltzed his way past numerous white shirts in the area before firing his effort straight at Meslier, who parried the ball behind for a corner. Andy Robertson’s subsequent delivery was met by Jota who was unable to keep his effort from sailing over into the Norman Hunter stand.
Leeds made life hell for Liverpool in the closing half-hour of the contest, Helder Costa somehow fired the ball over from 3-yards out as he got on the end of Bamford’s flick in. However, there was suspicions as to whether the goal would have stood, as Costa looked yards offside.
Liverpool struggled to bypass Leeds and their press as they turned to top goalscorer, Salah, for some much needed support as they looked to secure the second goal they craved so badly.
Marcelo Bielsa's men nearly found themselves level after a piece of brilliance from Luke Ayling sent Bamford clear with Alisson for the second time on the night. With the imposing Brazilian ‘keeper rushing out, the England striker opted to delicately dink the ball goal-bound, only for Alisson’s blushes to be spared by the crossbar.
Only seconds later would the Liverpool No.1 be called on again as he was forced to deny Tyler Roberts from close range. Bielsa was an animated figure on the touchline as he tried to work out how his side had not found a way back into the contest.
Klopp’s men had chances of their own to put the game beyond any doubt, as chances from Robertson and Salah were both squandered.
Leeds would finally be awarded for their display deep into the second half. With only three minutes of normal time remaining. Harrison’s corner was met by Llorente, who climbed the highest to head the ball home.
It was no more than Leeds deserved on the night, and in the current climate of events it was perhaps a goal for the whole of football. As they the so called ‘lesser’ sides look to wrestle the game back from the hands of greed.
There was little time for The Reds to respond to the late sucker punch. Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's half-hearted effort was as close as they got.
Leeds United: Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Alioski; Phillips; Costa, Dallas, Roberts, Harrison; Bamford.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Kabak, Robertson; Milner, Wijnaldum, Thiago; Mane, Jota, Firmino.