Leeds vs Liverpool
Sunday’s only Premier League clash of the day played out a short time ago.
The match in question saw Leeds United play host to Liverpool at Elland Road.
Leeds would head into the tie still searching for their first league win of the campaign, having previously drawn two and lost one.
Liverpool, on the other hand, were looking to move joint-top of the Premier League table alongside Manchester United and Chelsea, by picking up a win to give them 10 points from their opening four outings.
And, when all was said and done in Yorkshire, it was indeed Liverpool who came away with the win.
The Reds enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and would go 1-0 up after 20 minutes when Trent Alexander-Arnold slipped in Mohamed Salah:
“He joins the club in the Premier League!”
Mohamed Salah’s 100th Premier League goal puts Liverpool in front against Leeds!
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 12, 2021
Liverpool’s dominance continued into the second half, before they doubled their lead after 50 minutes when Fabinho stabbed home from close range. Mane then added some gloss to the scoreline in second-half injury time. And this is how the game finished, 3-0, with Liverpool looking strong early contenders for the Premier League title.
Here are five things 101 learned from the match.
Harvey Elliott will be a huge miss
Harvey Elliott was handed another starting berth for Liverpool on Sunday, lining out alongside Thiago and Fabinho in midfield.
And once again, despite being just 18 years of age, Elliott would put on a commanding display well beyond his years, linking well with the likes of Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold down Liverpool’s right.
Elliott, despite Jurgen Klopp no doubt expecting a tough test from Leeds, managed to maintain his starting spot ahead of skipper Jordan Henderson.
And, in doing so, the youngster set a Liverpool record, becoming the youngest midfield player ever to start three consecutive league games for the club:
— Michael Reid (@michael_reid11) September 12, 2021
Unfortunately for Elliott, however, he suffered a horrific injury at Elland Road, which looks set to keep him sidelined for a long time.
This will leave Liverpool a much weaker side for the foreseeable future.
Salah is a Premier League great
As mentioned above, Salah would open the scoring for Liverpool on Sunday.
His strike marked the Egyptian’s 100th Premier League goal, with 98 of them having come for the Merseyside powerhouse.
On the back of his opener versus Leeds, Salah, all told, has cemented his legacy as one of the Premier League’s best-ever players.
The wide-man may only have started to show his best late in his career, but Salah is now the 5th fastest player to ever reach 100 PL goals, with only 30 in history having reached the century milestone.
100 – Mohamed Salah is the 30th player to have scored 100 Premier League goals, with only four players reaching the milestone in fewer appearances than the Egyptian. King. #LEELIV pic.twitter.com/sSGKd7F9V4
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 12, 2021
Leeds lack quality depth
Elsewhere, Sunday’s outing would highlight the lack of depth in Leeds’ squad.
The Whites had a fairly underwhelming summer window, with a late move for Daniel James having helped to, but not completely fixed, the Peacocks’ lack of quality across their squad.
And, versus Liverpool, it became clear again that Marcelo Bielsa’s options are currently very much lacking.
Robin Koch was ruled out of the game through injury, with Diego Llorente then forced off during the first half.
This led to Bielsa being forced to bring on Pascal Struijk to partner Liam Cooper at centre-back. This partnership is bottom-tier Premier League quality at best, but will nevertheless be unavailable to the club’s boss next time out after Struijk was sent off on Sunday.
Leeds’ poor squad depth was then highlighted again when looking at their bench, with Dan James and Mateusz Klich the only players close to the level of the English top-flight.
The remainder of their bench was made up of 18-year-old Charlie Creswell, 20-year-old Liam McCarron, Tyler Roberts, Jamie Shackleton and 19-year-old Crysencio Summerville – none of whom are players who should be featuring in the PL on a regular basis.
Central midfielder Fabinho is essential to Liverpool’s success
Liverpool endured a torrid go of things last season, in part due to major injuries picked up by Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
And whilst missing the quality of such players, in itself, was a big blow, it also had another negative knock-on effect in forcing Fabinho to play as a centre-back quite a lot.
The Brazilian did a decent job in this role, but his presence in central midfield was a huge miss. This was made clear at the end of the campaign. Liverpool went unbeaten in their final 10 Premier League games of the season, winning eight and drawing two. Fabinho started in midfield in all eight wins, and was used as a centre-back in the draws.
Once again versus Leeds, meanwhile, the 27-year-old showcased just how important he is to this Liverpool side when used as a defensive midfielder. He made numerous blocks, stopped counter-attacks, broke up the play and would get in on the goals, too.
A truly top-class display from one of the best midfielders in the Premier League right now.
Mane continues to struggle for form
Sadio Mane once again put on a pretty underwhelming display against Leeds.
The Senegal international was not at his best last season, and though he did score against Burnley last month, has looked pretty subpar of late as well.
His poor form was on full display for the latest time on Sunday, as the former Southampton man missed an open goal in the first half, a huge one-on-one fifteen minutes from time and then another big chance 80 minutes in.
Granted, he did eventually get his goal after 92 minutes, but it remained obvious throughout that Mane is nowhere near his best at present.
Klopp and co., in turn, will be keen to see the form of the club’s gifted attacker pick up sooner rather than later.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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Premier League table
|4||Brighton & Hove Albion||8||3||15|
|7||West Ham United||8||5||14|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||7|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||7|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||5|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||5|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||4|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||4|
|Firmino, Roberto||Liverpool FC||4|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion||4|
|Sarr, Ismaila||Watford FC||4|
|Greenwood, Mason||Manchester United||4|
|Townsend, Andros||Everton FC||3|
|Ings, Danny||Aston Villa||3|
|Benrahma, Said||West Ham United||3|
|Gray, Demarai||Everton FC||3|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||3|
|Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick||Arsenal FC||3|
|Lukaku, Romelu||Chelsea FC||3|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United||3|
|Calvert-Lewin, Dominic||Everton FC||3|
|Jota, Diogo||Liverpool FC||3|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||0||4|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||0||4|
|Veltman, Joel||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||4|
|Skipp, Oliver||Tottenham Hotspur||0||4|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||0||2|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||0||3|
|Rice, Declan||West Ham United||0||3|
|Cooper, Liam||Leeds United||0||3|
|Duffy, Shane||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||3|
|Norgaard, Christian||Brentford FC||0||3|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||0||3|
|Laporte, Aymeric||Manchester City||0||3|
|Neves, Ruben||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||3|
|Mings, Tyrone||Aston Villa||0||3|
|Canos, Sergi||Brentford FC||0||3|
|Struijk, Pascal||Leeds United||1||2|
|McArthur, James||Crystal Palace||0||3|
|Brownhill, Josh||Burnley FC||0||3|
|Etebo, Oghenekaro||Watford FC||0||3|
|Djenepo, Moussa||Southampton FC||0||3|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||7|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||4|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||4|
|Jesus, Gabriel||Manchester City||4|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||3|
|Saint-Maximin, Allan||Newcastle United||3|
|Kovacic, Mateo||Chelsea FC||3|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||2|
|Townsend, Andros||Everton FC||2|
|Ings, Danny||Aston Villa||2|
|Benrahma, Said||West Ham United||2|
|Toney, Ivan||Brentford FC||2|
|Jimenez, Raul||Wolverhampton Wanderers||2|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||2|
|Manquillo, Javi||Newcastle United||2|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||2|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||2|
|Azpilicueta, Cesar||Chelsea FC||2|
|Gross, Pascal||Brighton & Hove Albion||2|
|King, Joshua||Watford FC||2|