Liverpool were pegged back and punished for their inability to finish their chances against Leeds United.
The game was overshadowed by the bigger picture which is the European Super League. We are yet to see if the 1-1 draw against Leeds will have any significance. As Liverpool looked to seek Champions League Football before this announcement was made 48 hours ago.
The Champions were looking to move back into the top four in the Premier League, starting the match three points behind fourth-placed West Ham United and two behind fifth-placed Chelsea, This was a great opportunity to make a statement of intent for the Reds.
Sadio Mane opened the scoring and ended his run of nine Premier League games without scoring. Liverpool did have a few more opportunties to put the game out of reach for Leeds but weren't clinical enough in front of goal.
The hosts responded as Jack Harrison’s superb in swinging corner was headed in from six yards by Diego Llorente for his first ever goal for Leeds. The goal for Leeds came in the 87th minute to put the brakes on a return to the top four for Liverpool.
Story Of The Match
The hosts made quite a few changes to their starting lineup. Pascal Strujk came back into Marcelo Bielsa team as he replaced a suspended Liam Cooper after his red card at the Etihad vs Manchester City. Raphina also missed the game due to fitness issues and was replaced by Jack Harrison.
The visitors came into the game after their UEFA Champions League exit vs Real Madrid. Jurgen Klopp made a few changes including dropping Mohammed Salah who is their top goalscorer this season. However Natt Phillips and Diogo jota returned to the side.
It was time to put all their attention into qualifying for next season Champions League even though we don't know the outcome of the current situation regarding the European Super League.
Liverpool came out the traps early and were applying pressure on the Leeds midfield and it nearly paid off.
Three minutes into the game Roberto Firmino ran onto a long, straight pass behind the Leeds defence. Illan Meslier comes a long way off his line but the angle was tight and Firmino attempted to chip it over Meslier but it went onto the roof of the net.
One player who is constantly under the spotlight after his transfer from Bayern Munich is Thiago Alcantara. He nearly broke the deadlock for the visitors. As Thiago had a shot from 25 yards out It’ was straight down the middle and the Leeds keeper Illan Meslier leaped to tip it over, an acrobatic but essentially straightforward save.
It was still goalless after 20 minutes. Patrick Bamford missed a good chance to give Leeds the lead. Fabinho played a poor pass straight to Kalvin Phillips, who slid it through to Bamford. His touch was heavy and that allowed Alisson to block the shot, which ricocheted off Fabinho and just wide of the empty net.
Liverpool got their opener and it was Sadio Mane who gave them the lead. Diogo Jota drove an excellent angled pass to find Trent Alexander-Arnold, who got away from his marker Harrison. Meslier came out to the edge of the area so Trent Alexander-Arnold poked the ball square to give Mane an open goal.
It was a bright start to the second half Liverpool continued to look for the second goal as James Milner’s dangerous cross was turned just wide by Sadio Mane at the near post. Meslier got to it first and pushed the ball against Mane, as the rebounded shot went past the post.
Just before the hour mark Leeds appealed for a penalty when a cross hit the arm of Trent Alexander-Arnold. VAR checked for a possible penalty but it wasn't given to the home side.
As we approached the final 15 minutes of an interesting encounter there was more drama. Patrick Bamford hit the bar with a terrific effort. He latched onto Luke Ayling’s long pass on the run, waited for it to bounce and lobbed it over Alisson from the edge of the area. But It just didn’t dip enough and hit the top of the bar before it rebounded back in the hands of the Liverpool goalkeeper.
Into the final few minutes of normal time Leeds were continuing to push for the equaliser against the Champions as they looked to build on their impressive win against Manchester City.
Luke Ayling won a corner for Leeds United, Jack Harrison’s in swinging corner was headed in from six yards by Diego Llorente. It was his first goal for Leeds as he rescued a point for the hosts against the Champions.
However the game wasn't over, Liverpool substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed a great chance to win the game for Jurgen Klopp side,but he poked his shot straight at Meslier from 10 yards.
Sadio Mane ended his goal drought and was very clinical inside the box when the the opportunity came his way.
It was his only shot on goal but he was eager to track back and do his defensive duties, but maybe a change in studs were required after slipping one too many times.
During the past few games he has performed better than majority of the games he has played this season. It is now about if he can do it consistently to produce week in week out during their top four battle.
Alisson Becker When called upon he showed his class in both using his feet and making himself big, denying Patrick Bamford, Jack Harrison and Tyler Roberts all from close-range.
Leeds remain in 10th place and are now level on points with Arsenal. Liverpool stay sixth, two points behind West Ham in fourth.
It will be interesting to see how the next few days conclude regarding the European Super League. As they host Newcastle United at Anfield on Saturday afternoon. it will be vital to know if these results will have an impact on Liverpool and if they can qualify for next season Champions League.