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The injury, positives & any Mane worries? – Last word on Leeds 0-3 Liverpool

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It was a performance that could have seen more than just the three unanswered goals from Liverpool at Leeds, with Jurgen Klopp‘s men turning on the afterburners.

It was, of course, marred by the terrible injury to Harvey Elliott, who will now be out of commission for the remainder of 2021 in what is a major blow for the Reds.

But goals from Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and Sadio Mane would ensure there was still something to smile about at the end of the 90 minutes at Elland Road, with attentions now to turn to the Champions League.

Before then, This Is Anfield’s Joanna Durkan (@JoannaDurkan_) is joined by Danny Dwyer (@decayingcactus) to discuss the injury blow, the positives from the win and Mane’s form.

 

The injury…

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 12, 2021: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott is carried off injured during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DANNY: I’m devastated for him. This is a kid who shone on loan in the Championship last year and took minimal time off in the summer because he wanted to get down to business and force his way into Klopp’s plans.

He achieved that and was being chosen as a regular starter over fully-fledged internationals in our midfield. He was looking outstanding.

He worked so hard to earn his chance and this was his breakthrough season. To have that snatched away and the likely incoming Champions League debut will hurt him, but he’s already shown how strong his mentality is in hours after his injury.

JOANNA: It was a horrible feeling to just watch on as he was in obvious pain, with the reactions from those there compounding what you knew straight away was a horror of an injury.

As Danny rightly says there, the effort to break into the team didn’t go unnoticed and it’s just a cruel blow at a time when his star was most definitely rising beyond the walls at Liverpool.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 12, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates with team-mate Harvey Elliott after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Thankfully, he has youth on his side and he’ll be back. The reaction to it all says a lot about Elliott as a person and the impact he has had to date.

DANNY: Big blow for us, but it presents an opportunity for other midfielders to show what they can do. Feels like make or break seasons for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita.

 

The positives…

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 12, 2021: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DANNY: The Matip-Virgil partnership fills me with so much confidence. A lot of excitement about the signing of Konate and the return of Gomez and rightly so, both excellent players who we will definitely need this year.

However, the quality of Matip is overlooked by some people. Coming back from a long injury himself, he’s been immense.

JOANNA: The sight of Matip running out from the back is simply a joy. His injuries always draw attention but how he is still so underrated is beyond me.

That he could disrupt Leeds‘ man-marking on numerous occasions was so vital but I never would have bet he’d have a one-two with Salah on the edge of the area!

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 12, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané (2nd from L) celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DANNY: But then also the Thiago and Fabinho combo in midfield is a force to be reckoned with.

Fabinho is the best defensive midfielder in the world and Thiago is one of the best technicians in football. If these two play together, we’re going to dominate the midfield.

JOANNA: Can definitely echo the thought on those two, they were outstanding. But I want to have a word on Trent, a few misdirected and underhit dead balls aside, he was brilliant.

He answered the “You’re just a sh*t Kyle Walker” chant from the Leeds fans emphatically, with an assist soon after.

After a bit of a dip last season he’s been consistent and is quietening any doubters that were still lingering around.

 

And any Mane worries?

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 12, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané scores the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DANNY: It’s clear we are lacking a clinical edge, but all of our attackers miss opportunities you’d expect them to finish quite often. Mane was public about how last season was the worst of his career. He knows he has to do better.

There was almost a laugh from him when he finally scored against Leeds which indicates he’s not worried and we shouldn’t be. I thought he was poor against Chelsea, but since the return of fans, he has performed much better and will only improve as the season goes on.

He will 100% be a match-winner on many occasions this year, as he always has been.

JOANNA: It’s the end product. The build-up and the ideas are there, it’s just the execution that is really letting Mane down and has been for quite some time.

It hurt to see one chance after another missed and you were starting to feel it was a knock to his confidence that he didn’t need. At times, it was harder to miss but he managed it.

I do agree with Danny in that the return of fans has looked to have had a promising effect so far and it’s still too early to make a definitive judgement.

There are a lot of cobwebs to clear for the No. 10 and with little competition for places up top, we need them gone as soon as possible.


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