Liverpool kept their top-four hopes alive with a convincing 6-1 win over Leeds United at Elland Road on Monday
The visitors lacked sharpness in their approach during the first 30 minutes, but a mistake by Junior Firpo in the 35th minute allowed Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold to reclaim possession before assisting Cody Gakpo after a one-two with Mohamed Salah.
That goal seemed to jolt the game into life, and it didn’t take long for manager Javi Gracia’s Leeds side to find themselves 2-0 down – this time after turning over possession in Liverpool’s half after pressure from Diogo Jota, who showed composure before playing through Salah to finish past Illan Meslier.
After the restart, Luis Sinisterra pickpocketed Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate before finishing with class past goalkeeper Alisson, only to see his efforts for naught as Liverpool restored their two-goal lead when Curtis Jones delivered a precise pass for Jota to finish.
If Salah’s second of the game didn’t put the game out of reach, Jota certainly did when he was left completely unmarked to hit a first-time strike past the goalkeeper that was assisted by the post. Darwin Nunez, a substitute, added to the misery by perfectly timing his run behind the defensive line before finishing on his left foot.
Liverpool’s new approach away from home saw them play patiently and with a focus on controlling possession rather than forcing openings. They looked dangerous on the break and were clinical with their chances in front of goal.
Manager rating (1–10, with 10 being the best)
7 — Jurgen Klopp Liverpool’s strong finish to last week’s Premier League match against Arsenal continued, and Klopp got his team selection right as his side took control of the game from the first minute. Leeds were punished when they gave the ball away in advanced areas under his system.
Player evaluations (players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, age 6 — Alisson was not tested much throughout the game, despite a first-half header from Rodrigo and Leeds’ best effort of the half. Couldn’t do much against Luis Sinisterra, who took the ball away from Konate.
of Luis Diaz, who was substituted on in the 82nd minute, will also be crucial as they look to make a late push for the top four.
Konate’s gaffe is something that should be avoided in future games. While the Reds were able to reclaim their dominance, they could have been punished by better opposition.
DF Andy Robertson, age six — Robin Koch was punished with an excellent touch to beat him before playing it back to Cody Gakpo, who assisted Liverpool’s fourth goal to put the game out of reach.
DF 7-year-old Virgil van Dijk The centre-back made decisive decisions and was quick to track back when Leeds threatened to play a direct ball in behind. After a poor performance in Leeds, there was no need to shift out of second gear.
DF Ibrahima Konate, 5 years old — With the exception of one blunder that allowed Leeds back into the game when he was dispossessed by Sinisterra, the France international was assured throughout the game.
DF Trent 7 Alexander-Arnold — Jurgen Klopp’s system allowed Alexander-Arnold to play in a variety of positions as he looked to dictate play from the center during transitions, but it was on the right flank that he regained possession by blocking Junior Firpo’s clearance and assisting Gakpo for the opening goal.
MF Fabinho, age 6 — Rapidly extinguished the threat, making it difficult for Leeds to achieve success in central areas. Could have shut down Brenden Aaronson earlier in the second half when the USMNT star was close with a long-range effort, but Fabinho played well overall.
MF Curtis Jones, 7 years old — He remained composed in the face of adversity and kept the ball moving from midfield. He was able to express himself more after Liverpool took the lead, with an excellently timed pass finding Diogo Jota to restore the Reds’ two-goal advantage.
MF Jordan Henderson, 7 years old — He advanced to link up with Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold, and he impressed with some of his forward passes into dangerous areas. When returning, I worked hard as usual to prevent counter-attacks.
Diogo Jota, FW, 8 — Jota began the game in fairly careless fashion with some of his link-up play, but he quickly showed all of his class with two clinical finishes and an assist for Salah’s first after winning the ball back in his own half.
MF Cody Gakpo, age eight — He had little space to work with at times, but he kept working and eventually got his reward when Alexander-Arnold supplied him with a tap-in past Illan Meslier. The Netherlands international then turned provider, setting up Salah for Liverpool’s fourth goal.
Mohamed Salah, FW, 8 — Salah displayed patience after being kept quiet for the first half hour, but space began to open up after Liverpool scored the first goal, with Salah dispatching his effort emphatically to double the lead just moments later. He completed his brace with a cool left-footed finish, bending the ball past Meslier.
Juan Diaz (Gakpo, 82″) N/R — Diaz receives a standing ovation as he returns to action after a lengthy absence.
N/R Darwin Nunez (Gakpo, 82″) Nunez scored with a left-footed finish past the goalkeeper after a well-timed run and touch.
N/R Roberto Firmino (Jota, 82″) In the 82nd minute, he came on for Jota.
N/R James Milner (Henderson, 82″) Milner returns to his former club, adding another Premier League appearance to his growing tally.