Liverpool 6 - 0 Leeds United
Reds: Salah 15’ (pen) 35’ (pen), Matip 30’, Mané 80’ 90+1’, Van Dijk 90+3’
Kloppo sends out about as strong of a lineup as possible. The only surprise, if you can call a lad with 11 starts so far this season a surprise, is Curtis Jones getting the nod in the middle of the park. Next to Curt are Fabinho and Thiago, so he’ll have plenty of experience and talent in support. Otherwise the front three are as expected (unfortunately without either Roberto Firmino or Diogo Jota, both out through injury), as is the back four and goal keeper.
Liverpool can cut Manchester City’s margin at the top to just 3 points with a win. I think that sounds like a swell idea.
Liverpool start the match on the backfoot, chasing Leeds down in their own half. There’ll probably be a good bit of that tonight, but if it leads to space on the counter—as it did twice in quick succession—it could end up being a very good thing, indeed. Luis Diaz actually created a great chance, but Sadio Mané conspired to block what appeared to be a goal-bound shot. Unlucky. Same team, lads.
PENALTY! Andy Robertson sends in a cross from a wide position, and a Leeds defender swatted it out of the way. Clear pen. Can’t wait to see the fume over it.
GOAL! Mo steps up, sends the keeper the wrong way, and slots low into the right corner!
The Reds appear buoyed by the goal, and look dangerous just about every time going forward. Leeds are struggling to get a hold of the ball, let alone do anything with it.
GOAL!! IT’S THE JOEL MATIP GOAL WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR! He makes a run from deep, plays a 1-2 with Salah at the edge of the area and finishes like the center forward we know he believes himself to be, in his heart of hearts! That’s a goal and assist for Mo, with just half an hour gone.
PENALTY!! A moment later, Mo picks out Sadio with a through ball. The Senegalese runs into the box and is fouled from behind. Oliver once again points to the spot!
GOAL!!! This time Mo ditches his long, elaborate run up, and decides he’ll just slot it top bin instead! With 35 minutes gone, Mo has two goals and an assist.
It goes without saying that both penalties were nailed-on. And it also goes without saying that Michael Oliver is the only ref in the league who would give both of them to Liverpool. Michael Oliver isn’t complete trash at his job. Other Premier League refs should try to be like Mike.
Salah nearly gets his hat trick before the half—his chipped effort over the goalkeeper is cleared off the line—but there can be no complaints from the Reds. 3-0 at the half? I could get used to this. Leeds show no signs of slowing down or hunkering down, so this could really be a big number if Liverpool continue to punish them. Leeds, by the way, finish the half with no shots, and therefore 0.0 xG.
Fifteen minutes into the second half and it’s been a whole lot of chaotic without much of note happening. All good from a Liverpool perspective, I suppose.
Leeds United finally have their first shot of the match: a weak effort from outside the area, straight at Alisson. It only took them until the 64th minute! And somehow, I’m still weirdly disappointed.
Klopp makes his first sub of the match: bringing on captain Jordan Henderson for Thiago, who has been superb tonight.
With a quarter hour to go, Klopp subs on James Milner, replacing Curtis Jones. Jones possibly tried a bit too hard in patches tonight, but seemed to grow into the role in the second half. And Milly? Well, time to boot a lad and/or stop a counter attack.
GOAL! Liverpool haven’t really bothered attacking this half, but Mané still makes it 4. Diaz started the move by pressing the keeper into a rushed clearance. The ball falls to Mo, who picks out Henderson’s run into the box, and the captain squares it for Sadio to slot.
Divock Origi is the third and final sub, coming on for Diaz. The exciting new signing didn’t quite take full advantage of his chances, but he still managed to impress throughout the match.
GOAL! And Mané gets another! Origi is played through on goal by Milner, but can’t beat the keeper with his first-time effort. However, Sadio is there to pick up the pieces and slot the rebound!
GOAL! And ANOTHER in stoppage time! Van Dijk wins a free header from a corner and powers it past the keeper for SIX (6)!
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
It was hard graft tonight, but these Reds made it look easy. The two penalties helped, but there was only one winner in it tonight. Liverpool are now just 3 points behind Manchester City, and 4 goals to the good on goal differential. The title race is well and truly on.
Who was Liverpool’s Man of the Match vs. Leeds United?
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