Liverpool: Salah 20’, Fabinho 50’, Mane 90’+2
Thiago starts in midfield, alongside Fabinho and Harvey Elliott - the latter of whom now seems to be a regular starter for Jurgen Klopp, and deservedly so. Klopp has chosen to partner Virgil Van Dijk with Joel Matip today, while Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate feature on the bench - that’s right, TWO fit first-choice centre-backs on the bench, the luxury! With Bobby Firmino ruled out due to injury, Diogo Jota joins Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah up front.
The game kicks off at a frantic pace as expected and is stretched end to end as both Leeds and Liverpool attempt to retain possession and run towards their concerned box.
Mo Salah looks bright, and slips past defenders as per usual, leading to a few wrestles from Junior Firpo - but no foul is called.
Leeds’ main threat comes from counter-attacks and Rodrigo forces a save from Alisson.
At the 20’ mark Joel Matip bursts forward playing a little 1-2 with Salah, involves Trent, and the ball is received again by Salah who slots it into the net - GOAL!
Liverpool thereafter looks dominant for the most part, but Leeds is still creating chances and could easily pull one back.
The second half kicks off with a substitution for Leeds - Tyler Roberts comes on for Rodrigo.
At 49, a corner kick by Trent is headed towards goal by Virgil, landing near Fabinho’s feet, who then kicks it into the net with his right foot - GOAL!
A few minutes later, a horrendous tackle by Pascal Struijk causes a major injury to young Harvey Elliott, who is stretchered off with a broken leg. The challenge did not look deliberate but was reckless, and it results in a red card for Struijk.
Within the 8 minutes of added time, Jordan Henderson sends a soaring ball from the right wing to Thiago on the left, who passes it to Mane at lightning speed - Mane makes a 360 degree turn and slams it into GOAL!
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
Liverpool looked sharp and organized, and the football from both sides was free-flowing and expansive. With the traveling Kop in full voice, the atmosphere was the kind sorely missed over the past year. Elliott’s injury did cast a shadow on the event however, and fans will be eager to know if this is indeed the end of his promising first senior season.
Liverpool’s Man of the Match vs. Manchester United
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