Leeds United 1 – Liverpool FC 6 – like the last days of Bielsa. This was another shocking capitulation after the Crystal Palace debacle. It had all the hallmarks of the last days of Bielsa. Leeds United spent the second half chasing goals only to leave the defence wide open and for Liverpool FC to walk the ball into the net. This is a side in freefall. Without Wober blocking up defence, Adams commanding midfield, and Gnonto running loose on the left wing Leeds look bereft of ideas.
Ayling was dropped for Kristensen, after his recent poor performance. Bamford was injured again – his season is a write-off. Rutter was brought in during the season but has yet to either score or secure a starting position; so Leeds still lack a functional striker. Still no Adams and Wober only makes the bench.
Liverpool FC had little to play for and Leeds have the knowledge they are the only team to beat Liverpool FC at Anfield this season. It was a difficult match for Leeds to follow after their dreadful capitulation to Crystal Palace the previous week. Gracia needed to address the players’ nerves.
Liverpool played a high line in the first half dominating the passing and tackling Leeds in their own half every time they had the ball. The Leeds defence held firm for half an hour with Leeds the more likely to score from their counter attacking. Rodrigo forced a save from Allison and Meslier watched without needing to make a save. Sinisterra looked dangerous trying to break from the high Liverpool defence line.
In the space of a few minutes Leeds are two goals down. Firpo is gully of sloppy clearance on 35 minutes and Liverpool take advantage as Gakpo scored on Liverpool’s first opportunity. The referee missed a clear hand ball. Like at Crystal Palace the game changes in Liverpool’s favour as they expose the Leeds poor defensive marking and score a second.
Second half collapse – again
Although Leeds started the second half positively with Sinisterra pickpocketing Konate in the Liverpool defenc and lobbing the ball over Allison’s head into the net, Liverpool quickly score a third. Leeds had pushed up higher up the pitch tackling Liverpool whilst in the first half they were sitting back. Liverpool exploit the Leeds defence by counter attacking in numbers.
Leeds kept trying with Aaronson hitting the post but the collapse is inevitable. LIvepool again attacked in numbers with Salah left unmarked by Kristensen, to score their fourth. Liverpool are ruthless and exploit Leeds loss of confidence and determination to still keep attacking, to finish the match 6-1.
It feels like the last days of Bielsa with Leeds all about attacking leaving their defence wide open. Whilst some fans keep singing a lot have left in the final 20 minutes.
A late Sinisterra injury is worrying for Leeds as he is one of our few players making a difference. Leeds have conceded 11 goals in two successive matches –the first time in our history – the defence needs to be dammed if Leeds want to have any chance of Premier League survival.
Man of the match: Sinisterra