Well, first things first, let’s not do that again. This was a throwback Liverpool performance, and not in a good way.
Defensively, there was no structure or sense of security as Jürgen Klopp’s side squandered three leads to Marcelo Bielsa’s newly-promoted Leeds side.
The Reds’ defensive line was tragic at times, even if things did improve in the second half. Equally, the midfield was too easy to play through, with neither Naby Keïta nor Gini Wijnaldum managing to stamp any authority on the game.
If the reason for not signing Thiago Alcántara is that he does not immediately improve this Liverpool side, it would seem a ridiculous decision based on today’s performance.
Nonetheless, the Reds, particularly Mohamed Salah, did look threatening going forward. The Egyptian slotted home a penalty within five minutes after a handball from Leeds’ new man Robin Koch.
The visitors’ first equaliser was trumped by a Virgil van Dijk header, with Koch again looking suspect. And, after van Dijk was at fault for a Patrick Bamford strike, Salah smashed home a Liverpool third, shortly before half-time.
Klopp’s champions should have extended the scoreline before Mateusz Klich drew things level again on 66 minutes. But it was Salah who had the final say in this topsy-turvy affair, finding the bottom corner with a second penalty as the seconds ticked on.
Your ratings, from Anfield:
Ali 5.5 – Positioning was very poor for Leeds’ first equaliser, and while the next two were tougher to stop, no saves and three goals conceded is not great reading for the Brazilian No.1.
Trent 6 – Would have hoped to stamp more authority on the game. Couple of dangerous set-piece deliveries, including a ‘corner taken quickly’ to Salah, but the local lad offered less in open play than we have come to expect. Weird headed own-goal fortunately ruled out.
JoGo 5.5 – Shocking first half, often stepping up without explanation. Lucky when Hélder Costa was adjudged offside having rolled off the Englishman to poke the ball home. Much improved after the break, though.
Big Virg 6 – Poor defensively, shambolic by his incredible standards. Too casual for the Patrick Bamford goal and some strange decisions on the ball. The flip side is that the Dutchman was one of the greatest offensive threats on the pitch, finding the back of the net twice, even if one goal was chalked off.
Robbo 7 – Comfortably the best member of the Liverpool back line and registered an assist for the Virgil header.
Naby 5.5 – Failed to continue in the rich vein of form that he had shown post-lockdown. If I were to offer an excuse, I would suggest he didn’t like being moved to the right of the midfield three. Not good enough, though.
Hendo 6.5 – Slow start from the captain, even if he was the best member of the Reds’ midfield. Subbed just as it felt as though he was beginning to impose himself on the game, but that may well have been a fitness-related decision.
Gini 5.5 – Performances like today’s have been worryingly commonplace for Wijnaldum in 2020. Just 37 touches in 90 minutes is not enough for a Liverpool central midfielder at Anfield. By contrast, Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips had double that with 74. Too quiet.Embed from Getty Images
Mo 9 – A poor Liverpool performance on the whole, but Jürgen Klopp’s side come away with three points thanks to the Egyptian. This was arguably Salah’s most complete performance as a Liverpool player. He was the Reds’ creator-in-chief, most important factor in build-up play, and his screamer and two well-taken penalties won Liverpool the game. Man of the match by some distance.
Bobby 6 – Couple of brilliant moments creatively but demonstrated a frustrating lack of cutting edge, failing to connect properly when presented with a gilt-edged opportunity for a winner. Will be thankful that Salah’s second penalty saved his blushes.
Sadio 7 – Arguably Liverpool’s outstanding player alongside Salah in the opening 45, but snatched at chances at times in the second half including a poor effort after some lovely counter-attacking interplay with the Egyptian. Made the chance that Firmino should have buried late-on, though.
Fabs 7 – Improved control in the midfield before winning the crucial late penalty, showing impressive composure in the box. Should start at Stamford Bridge.Embed from Getty Images
CJ 6.5 – Lost Klich for Leeds’ third within seconds of coming on. Very lively going forward after that, however.
Joel N/A – Brought on for the dying minutes to help see out a fourth lead of the evening.
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