Liverpool started the defence of their Premier League title with a 4-3 thriller at home to Leeds, taking the lead and losing it three times before a late winner.
Liverpool 4-3 Leeds
Premier League, Anfield
12 September, 2020
Goals: Salah pen 4′ 33′ pen 87′, Van Dijk 20′; Harrison 12′, Bamford 30′, Klich 67′
Alisson (out of 10) – 5
Couldn’t do anything about the first goal but had to be more commanding for the second. Not his best day, but not helped by the defence in front of him either.
Way off the pace. A surprise he started given he had no pre-season with the Reds at all and played for England in the international break.
Beaten by Harrison for Leeds‘ first goal and not the Trent of usual going forwards either.
Joe Gomez – 6
Some good recovery moments, but at other times struggled with Leeds‘ movement from midfield to attack. Like Trent, culpable in Leeds‘ first goal.
Virgil van Dijk – 5
Brilliant header for the goal, abysmal attempted clearance for the equaliser.
We saw one or two sloppy moments at the end of last season which were excused due to parties, lowered intensity and the title having been won – we start from zero now, so need to bin these errors off quickly.
Andy Robertson – 7
Good outlet, good delivery, good defensive tracking. Assist number one of the season for Van Dijk’s header.
Jordan Henderson – 5
Like Trent, looked woefully short of fitness, utterly understandably.
Perhaps this was a gamble from Klopp to essentially give the captain his ‘pre-season minutes’, since he didn’t get any of the real ones and we have a week until the next game.
Naby Keita – 7
One early driving run signalled his early intent. Was a little more restrained than usual, probably due to the Leeds counter threat, but his passing was good and he won back the ball as often as usual.
Gini Wijnaldum – 7
Can confirm he didn’t play in a Barcelona shirt. Usual strong defensive work, a few nice link-up moments going forward. Should have scored at least once though.
Mohamed Salah – 9 – Man of the Match
The magic is back in his boots. Thunderous finishes, fairy dust touches, lightning pace across the ground. Ice-cold penalty to win it late on.
40 for the season incoming…
Vastly better than the Salah we saw after lockdown. His third Premier League hat-trick.
Roberto Firmino – 7
All the usual aspects of his game were on show. Clever movement dragged the centre-back out of position, thanks to Leeds‘ insistence on man-marking, while his touches around the box almost created a few good openings.
Could have shot early on instead of trying a cut-back, and should have scored when put through at 3-3.
Sadio Mane – 6
Some lovely movement and always looked dangerous… though it didn’t quite happen for him on the ball in the first half. A few wayward passes, blocked shots and dead-end runs on the ball.
Fabinho (on for Keita, 58′) – 5
Didn’t get involved much and certainly didn’t protect the defence any more than the starting midfield did. But won the late pen so deserves a medal, really.
Curtis Jones (on for Henderson, 65′) – 6
Interesting to see him get the nod off the bench ahead of others, certainly showed his confidence and strong running ability. Klopp is certainly starting to trust him.
Matip (on for Alexander-Arnold, 90′) – n/a
Welcome back, Joel.
Subs not used: Adrian, Milner, Minamino, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 6
Have to be a few questions about starting Trent and Hendo, despite them obviously needing minutes at some stage.
Keita was playing well too, so the sub to bring him off was a surprise.
There has to be more of an emphasis on cutting out errors at the back and solidifying that back line though – it was rubbish after we’d won the league, which was largely fine, but now we’re starting all over again.
Let’s get it right quickly.