Liverpool travelled to Leeds this afternoon to take on Marcelo Bielsa’s men. A very confident start saw Liverpool go ahead through Mo Salah’s 100th Premier League goal. It remained 1-0 at the break after Liverpool missed a number of good opportunities. The second half saw the Reds double their lead when Fabinho stabbed home from a corner.
An unfortunate incident followed shortly when Struijk’s tackle on Elliott saw the teenager go off with a dislocated ankle. Struijk was sent off for his challenge after Craig Pawson consulted with VAR and Liverpool enjoyed the lion’s share of possession against the ten men. Sadio Mané rounded up the scoring after a neat Thiago pass late on. Read on for player ratings from the encounter.
Alisson – 8
Made a solid save early on from Rodrigo. Wasn’t called into action much after that. Second half he backtracked quickly to tip Bamford’s ambitious lob over the bar. He was comfortable in possession and his distribution was on point, one sprayed pass to Salah on the right wing was delightful. Another clean sheet.
Alexander-Arnold – 8.5
Whipped a dangerous ball across in the first few minutes where he asked Jota to attack it. Laid one on a plate for Salah to open the scoring. His set-pieces weren’t up to the usual standards but he did put one on Van Dijk’s forehead which the big man should have done better with. Defensively, I feel he stands off his man instead of getting tight. Several times he stood off Harrison and allowed him to pick a pass or cross. Was better in one on one defending against James late on. Keeps creating for fun going the other way.
Matip – 9.5
He’s been incredible so far this season. Another excellent showing today. He went on a mazy run up the field to help set up the opener. Second half when they went down to ten, he wandered upfield a couple more times. So comfortable in possession, looks gangly but can actually play. Crucial block on Bamford’s effort when Raphinha sprang the offside trap. He’s operating on Van Dijk levels of effortlessness right now. Quality.
Van Dijk – 9
Cruise control again for the big man. Not too flustered or bothered. Dealt with everything he had to deal with with the usual grace. Did well to get enough on a dangerous cross coming in from the left, sliced it up in the air but enough to not gift it to Bamford. Should have scored when he found himself free in the box from a corner. Another clean sheet.
Robertson – 8
Pocketed Raphinha. Absolutely shut him down on the left flank. Got forward well, especially late on when spaces were there to attack. Should have possibly done better with a couple of his deliveries. Played well though, defended his back post brilliantly from a few crosses coming in from Trent’s side.
Fabinho – 10
Man, of the Match for me. He was everywhere, every time. Any time they tried to break away on the counter he was there to get a foot in. They just couldn’t get past him. Immense today. Crowned it all with a rare goal. That second goal basically sealed the points too. Lovely Cryuff turns down the right-wing at one point late on. Flaco cleaned up everything today. Fantastic performance.
Elliott – 7
The youngster played well, as he has in every game, he’s started this season. Saw a shot from outside the box with his weaker foot go just past the post with Meslier beaten. Unfortunate injury, you could tell by Mo’s immediate reaction just how terrible it was. Desperately unlucky, just when he had made his way into the first XI on a permanent basis too. Our thoughts go out to him, and we know he will come back stronger and better than before.
Thiago – 8.5
Another who played in cruise control. Leeds man-mark all over the pitch so there is usually no time on the ball. When you’ve got the quality the Spaniard has though, you can turn and skip away from pressure and have time to pick a pass. He was unfortunate to see his header at the back post ruled out due to a right offside call. He was amazing today and added end product when his cute pass to Mané saw him seal the win. The only blot on his copybook was losing the ball cheaply on the halfway line leading to Bamford’s spectacular effort.
Salah – 9
First half he was on it, his touch, his passing, his movement. You could tell he was in the mood, as he almost always is. Gave Firpo endless problems throughout. Finished with aplomb to join the Premier League centurion club. Set up several chances for his teammates but profligate finishing saw him denied an assist. He looked distraught when Elliott went down, and even at the full time, you could tell he was still not right. They had built up an excellent connection on the pitch. A real shame.
Jota – 8
His touch and passing aren’t quite on the money at times. What he is though is a pestering presence in and around the box. Always direct and always driving through defences. Didn’t get on the scoresheet today but was involved in a lot of the attacking moves. Given a breather late on.
Mané – 7
In the first half, I thought he looked good. He was keeping Ayling honest down that side and combining well with Diogo. It all started to get a bit desperate when he missed that open net. The ball was slightly behind him so not entirely his fault, but after that, he seemed bent on trying to force a goal. Snatched at a number of presentable opportunities before finally hitting the back of the net late on. In his desperation to score, he ignored better-placed teammates on one occasion and saw his shot blocked.
Henderson – 7
Came on for Harvey and slotted in on the right of Fabinho. Saw a left-footed shot parried by Meslier. Against ten men it was just to help manage the game, which he did.
Oxlade-Chamberlain – N/A
Came on for Jota to play in the false nine role. He was easily knocked off the ball by Phillips when he tried charging up the pitch on one occasion. Then Salah’s attempted cross cannoned off him and out for a goal kick, before going on a mazy run past a few challenges as his eventual cross was deflected into Meslier’s grasp.
Keita – N/A
On for Thiago in stoppage time. A few touches here and there.
Chose to give Elliott another start and the midfield looked really balanced with Harvey on the right and Thiago on the left. Was incensed at Struijk’s tackle. Gave Ox and Naby a few minutes to the second half. Goodwin but Harvey’s loss will put a dampener on things. A strong start to the season continues.