A superb team performance, with plenty of individuals impressing, was overshadowed by serious injury to Harvey Elliott at Elland Road. James Nalton was there to rate the Reds.
Leeds 0-3 Liverpool
Premier League, Elland Road
September 12, 2021
Goals: Salah 20′, Fabinho 50′, Mane 90+2′
Alisson – 7 (out of 10)
Well-positioned to save from Rodrigo in the first five minutes, but didn’t really have much to do.
Swept up when he needed to and was typically assured in possession, completing 91 per cent of his passes.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 9
Made Salah’s goal an easy finish with an excellent cross. Was being goaded by the Leeds fans shortly before and responded in the best way possible.
It was his corner that led to the second goal, too, picking out Van Dijk before Fabinho finished.
Few right backs can have such an influence on a game, and he finished it with five key passes.
Could do with burying a free-kick at some point though, hitting one against the wall in the first half.
Joel Matip – 8
Turned playmaker in the build-up to Liverpool’s opening goal, playing a neat through ball to Alexander-Arnold from the No. 10 position.
Often had space to carry the ball into midfield as Patrick Bamford was trying to mark both him and Van Dijk.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
Couldn’t take advantage of a free header at a corner in the first half, but played a big part in the second goal from a similar situation.
Won a header, under more pressure this time, with Fabinho picking up the pieces to add the second.
Reassuringly composed in defence even when forced to defend out of position.
There are still encouraging signs on his return from a serious injury.
Andy Robertson – 7
Won’t grab the headlines like Trent but was still quietly effective down the left.
Finished with three passes to his name himself, and was a steady and reliable option in possession.
Fabinho – 9 (Man of the match)
Was persistent for his goal after his first effort was blocked, but his real prowess was in front of the back four against a team that’s not always easy to play against as a defensive midfielder.
Fabinho and his teammates made it look easy, though.
The Brazilian finished the game with five interceptions to his name.
Thiago – 8
This was definitely a Thiago game. The need for intricate technique and accurate passing in tight spaces.
Maybe overplayed it a bit in the second half at times, but the game was won by then in no small part to his ability to control it and bypass the opposition.
Finished the game with a pass success of 88 per cent, four tackles made, and his first assist for the club after setting up Mane.
Harvey Elliott – 7
Another start for the teenager, who had a couple of shots saved and then blocked in the first half – but the game was overshadowed by a serious-looking injury to one of the most promising young players in Europe.
Hopefully, his age and the nature of the dislocation means it will heal quickly, but it’s still gutting for a player who had shown so much promise and was actually being given chances in the starting XI by his manager.
Was applauded off by the Leeds fans closest to him as he was stretchered off in front of them, and responded in kind.
Even had time to update his Instagram before the match had finished!
Mohamed Salah – 9
Blatantly fouled early on but nothing was given by the referee Craig Pawson. It showed what a difficult afternoon it would be for Salah but he came through it as one of the game’s outstanding players.
Not only did he get the opening goal, but he also set up numerous chances for others, finishing the game having made four key passes.
If Mane and Jota could have finished them he would be troubling the Premier League assist charts as well as the goalscoring ones.
An all-around display of attacking football.
Diogo Jota – 7
A chest control and shot from Salah’s pass ended up going straight at Illan Meslier — either side it would have been a goal.
Showed some good hold up play and would no doubt have liked some of the chances that fell Mane’s way.
Sadio Mane – 7
Missed a chance in the first half from Jota’s pull back, but the ball was just behind him which made it awkward.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 12, 2021
He shot wide after linkup with Salah, and should definitely have had a goal late on when played through by Salah again later in the game. Had another chance well saved by Meslier.
Finally finished a chance when teed up by Thiago in added time. Finished the game having had ten shots, only two of them on target.
Even though his play on the ball wasn’t always the tidiest, his movement and pace was a constant threat, but he will need to finish these chances in some games if Liverpool are to keep winning.
Jordan Henderson (on for Elliott, 63′) – 7
Some tidy passing and also a shot on goal.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Jota, 82′) – 5
Struggled to affect the game from the centre forward position.
Jurgen Klopp – 8
Leeds didn’t have a sniff, and that was partly down to Klopp’s game plan against one of the most respected tacticians in football.