The initial promise last season when Leeds United rattled Liverpool FC in their first game of the season was missing today – is this a sign of second season syndrome?
After a difficult result again at the beginning of the season against Manchester United the tough draw against Everton showed signs of Leeds getting their act together.
It was promising to see the team working as a unit – Phillips’ long range crosses and interceptions, Firpo working the ball forward, Raphinha creating opportunities and James making his first start so confidently. Ulimately, the loss of Llorente – a rock in defence, followed by Struijk, was a blow.
Liverpool prevailed by working the moves so fluidly in attack whilst Leeds could not connect in that final move before the final shot on goal.
The injury leading to the sending off of Struijk was cruel with no doubt the injury was bad and left a cloud over the match – hopefully the injury is not as serious as it first appeared – and the letter of the law is the player has to go. It killed the game off for Leeds in terms of chasing a point but the positivity of play was promising.
Leeds played the way Leeds do after the sending off by going forward en masse to create opportunities and leaving the defence worryingly open. Liverpool kept attacking. Without Llorente on fire like has was in the second half of last season it is a worry that Leeds United top the table of shots faced. Mane managed more shots than Leeds.
Daniel James’ late appearance showed himself with his forward runs as a promising addition to the squad and deserving a first team start.
On 82nd minute Bamford pickpockets a Liverpool player from close the half way tries a cheeky long range shot with Allison off his line. It nearly worked.
The difference between the two sides was that Liverpool took their chances with Mane scoring in extra time whilst Leeds did not put the passes together to get the shots on the Liverpool goal. The loss of Struijk and Llorente left Leeds defence very weak.
The fans were incredible creating that hostile atmosphere. Yet ultimately the fearless attacking that led to the goals and exciting attacking play we saw last season is not yet quite there – second season syndrome?
Man of the Match: Kalvin Phillips