Leeds United went into this match under pressure, a manager under pressure, the team in the relegation zone with a string of poor performances. Yet again they dialled up their performance against a big team. It’s a huge moment of relief – to win. To beat Liverpool FC at Anfield.
Marsch’s changes to the team see badly performing players dropped – Bamford and Firpo. Summerville starts but Greenwood is dropped as Adams returns. Sinisterra is injured.
Leeds start with an early scare as Meslier comes out to collect a long ball from Allison but Cooper heads it over him, Salah tries to lob it but Kristensen heads it clear.
Rodrigo then scores an easy goal on four minutes. Mistake by Gomez who under pressure from Harrison passes back to Allison but Allison is out of position and slips allowing Rodrigo to touch the ball in to the net. Van Dijk is caught asleep.
Liverpool FC respond by peppering the Leeds United goal with crosses which they don’t clear. Salah scores on 14 minutes – poor defending again. This is an ominous moment as Leeds United usually crumble.
Liverpool attack by running wide and lobbing high so the ball drops into the Leeds penalty area and Liverpool flood the box. Leeds’ respose to the Liverpool possession is to counter attack through Harrison and Aaronson. Leeds play positively with their passing and getting the ball forward to Rodrigo. Harrison and Aaronson are formidable charging forward.
Leeds United nearly score when Kristensen crosses the ball into the box and Aaronson kicks the ball onto the crossbar. Harrison then forces a save from Allison. But Salah and Nunez test Meslier.
What we learn about Rodrigo is that while can shoot he should not drop deep – he cannot pass. One goes to Liverpool that nearly leads to a Nunez goal. And Harrison’s shots usually go over the goal.
Liverpool nearly score on half time when Robertson crosses into the box but a deflection by Koch nearly goes in.
Second half – it’s entertaining
Early on in the second half Rodrigo is replaced by Bamford. It’s practically all Leeds attacking in the first twenty minutes of the second half. Then a moment of madness as Cooper loses the ball in a Liverpool counter attack and Meslier save keeps Leeds in the game. Liverpool then have a period of intensity.
This is a key moment – can Leeds United keep their shape and intensity to absorb a late challenge from Liverpool? Bamford had a massive opportunity on 79 minutes but his first touch was poor – he still lacks that match sharpness. Marsch holds his head in his hands.
Finally we see Gnonto in a match – replacing Harrison on 70 minutes. Liverpool FC put pressure on in the last quarter with Firmino, Salah, and Nunez testing Meslier. Meslier has been a hero today.
Out of nowhere Leedsscore. Gnoto wins the ball and passes to Bamoford who passes to Summerville who controls the ball and beats Allison. Summerville has earned his place in the team. There are five minutes extra time which take even longer when Roberston kicks Meslier in the head as he captures the ball. More agony until the whistle is finally blown.
This was such an entertaining game. Liverpool FC had the possession and more shots, and more shots on goal. Meslier kept Leeds United in the match. Leeds’ defence is still too naive and needs to be smarter against set pieces – that is for Marsch to sort out.The amount of shots on target by Leeds in this match is probably more than their last six matches altogether.
Summerville’s energy is a force. Great tackling by Adams and Roca (we didn’t see before) – kept Leeds in control of the centre of midfield. Leeds have been awful in their corners wasting opportunities.
In the interview after the match Somerville is overawed by scoring at Anfield He is a day away from his 21st birthday. He describes this as a “big moment for me and my family”. The camera then goes a foot higher to interview Meslier. This is a very rare moment that Meslier has actually smiled playing for Leeds.
Marsch is sober in his estimation of the match. He knows his job is on the line and tonight is a massive moment. But he will have more knocks during the season in keeping Leeds out of the relegation zone.
Man of the Match: Meslier