Leeds 0-3 Liverpool
Premier League (4), Elland Road
Sunday September 12, 2021
Goals: Salah 20′, Fabinho 50′, Mane 90+2′
What more to say about this kid? Evading challenges, clever through balls, defensive work rate and no fear at taking on the shot or the defender.
A couple of right-footed shots didn’t quite trouble the goalkeeper and maybe belied his youthfulness as much as his fearlessness – one in particular would have been better-served passing wide – but it’s more important at this stage for him to be capable of expressing himself and attacking with a surprise element.
Sadly, that looks to be all over for now – a bad-looking injury ended his afternoon all of a minute before he was due to be subbed. Hopefully, his recovery is swift and straightforward.
Late on before the weekend started, Premier League clubs found out they could play their South Americans after all – except for Spurs and Villa, who let theirs go on international duty.
In short, it was good we had them both.
Alisson made two good saves, one at 0-0 and one at 2-0 which might have sparked a late revival – the latter being a back-peddling tip over the bar of a long-range attempted lob.
Fabinho, meanwhile, was booked early on but then dominated the centre of the park and scored a crucial second goal, too.
100-up for Mo Salah
An average of one player per year of the Premier League‘s existence has reached that milestone, which again shows just how historically good a forward he is.
Salah could have had more here to be fair, one or two chances that fell his way were blocked and a few through-passes weren’t made to him when he was clear.
Every goal strengthens his hand and emphasises the need for the Reds to get that new contract sewn up quickly!
Mane’s multiple chances
Incredible, but true, though ultimately our No. 10 did find the back of the net, where the home side did not after 10 shots.
Relief was over his face when he found the bottom corner, but it cannot mask the volume of chances he spurned beforehand, nor the fact his excellent movement and work rate was cancelled out by bad decision-making and poor passes.
Mane isn’t back to anything like his best. He hasn’t been for a long time, and we’ll need him to be – he cannot take double figures in efforts to put one in on a regular basis.
A return to his best would be appreciated sooner rather than later.
Onto Europe and beyond
After four league games it’s back into Europe the Reds now go, with a Champions League group stage match against AC Milan first up.
It’s a romantic and memorable affair, good and bad memories for both clubs from previous meetings but a definite clash of European royalty in any case.
Getting off to a good start is paramount though, and that’s what the Reds have done in the league: joint-top, unbeaten in four, three wins and a hatful of goals already.
More of the same please and we’ll be looking at a tremendous campaign.