Liverpool cruised to an emphatic 6-1 win at Leeds, with Mohamed Salah in sparkling goalscoring form and Diogo Jota ending his year-long drought.
Leeds 1-6 Liverpool
Premier League (30), Elland Road
April 17, 2023
Goals: Gakpo 35′, Salah 39′ & 64′, Jota 52′ & 73′, Nunez 89′; Sinisterra 47′
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
Alisson has been called upon so many times this season, saving Liverpool’s blushes, but he was afforded the luxury of being a spectator for much of the game.
In the first half, the Brazilian barely had to do anything and after the break, he could do little about Luis Sinisterra’s goal.
Rightly gave his teammates a rollicking for not getting close enough to Brenden Aaronson when he hit the crossbar – that’s about as animated as he got!
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8
Alexander-Arnold was again used in more of a roaming midfield role (inverted full-back the hipsters say), with Jurgen Klopp tweaking his position of late.
The 24-year-old enjoyed an impressive night at Elland Road, creating the opening goal for Cody Gakpo and the sixth for Darwin Nunez, and generally displaying his quality on the ball.
One beautiful pass in behind to Mohamed Salah summed up what an outrageous passer Trent is.
Ibrahima Konate – 6
Konate was sensational in the second half against Arsenal last time out, and while this was less of a test for him, he was solid overall.
One bad lapse in concentration saw him gift Sinisterra a goal, which loses him a mark, but he was otherwise a physically dominant figure.
He is going to be world-class one day. Just needs to improve his concentration.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
Like Konate, Van Dijk will have far greater tests than this, but he couldn’t really be faulted, proving to be particularly dominant in the air.
The Dutchman’s long-range passing wasn’t always at its best, but this was an assured showing that Liverpool need to see week in, week out from now on.
Andy Robertson – 8
Robertson has been the least culpable of Liverpool’s defenders this season, although it certainly hasn’t been a vintage campaign from him.
Here, he was very good, though, playing fairly deep to potentially make up for Trent playing in midfield and doing his defensive duties well.
Did brilliantly for Salah’s second of the evening, racing forward and cutting the ball back to Cody Gakpo.
Fabinho – 7
This is still a far cry from the Fabinho of old, but thankfully, his form in recent weeks has been improved.
He did a good job at the heart of the Reds’ midfield, even if he still looks a yard slower than he was, and he used the ball intelligently.
Jordan Henderson – 7
Henderson has been a shadow of his former self so often this season, but this was a positive night for him.
Granted, he was too limited on the ball at times, choosing to take the easy option, but he covered well for Trent on the right and made some effective overlapping runs.
One excellent lofted pass to Jota saw his colleague skew an effort wide.
Curtis Jones – 7
Jones has come in for some criticism for not impacting games enough but he was better against Leeds.
The midfielder lost possession cheaply a few times but deserves credit for winning the ball back, and he produced a lovely pass for Jota’s first goal.
Nothing special, but perhaps just doing the job Klopp asks of him.
Mohamed Salah – 9 (Man of the Match)
Salah is a driven figure and his penalty miss last weekend will have hurt, so a response was expected from him at Elland Road.
It was, therefore, no surprise to see him bury two ruthless finishes to put Liverpool out of sight – his eighth and ninth goals in six Premier League appearances against Leeds.
He was a menace to Leeds‘ defence all night – that’s now 26 strikes for the season, which isn’t bad for a player who is having a ‘poor’ campaign!
Cody Gakpo – 8
Gakpo has been quiet of late, having not kicked on after his brace at home to Man United, but he was much improved on Monday night.
The Dutchman tapped home the opening goal of the game – his first in five league outings – and he was subtle in his use of the ball, not dissimilar to the manner in which Roberto Firmino is.
Bagged an assist for Salah, too, showing good composure in a tight area.
Diogo Jota – 8
What do they say about London buses?
Jota kept his place despite some poor form of late, and while his first half-hour was dire, continually losing possession, he did improve greatly from then on.
Liverpool’s No.20 provided the assist for Salah’s first goal and then finally ended his drought, netting twice in quick succession.
Confidence is a wild thing.
Luis Diaz (on for Gakpo, 81′) – n/a
Seeing him back on the pitch is almost as good as the 6-1 win itself!
Darwin Nunez (on for Salah, 81′) – n/a
Took his goal expertly after being sent clean-through.
James Milner (on for Henderson, ’81) – n/a
Nearly fluked a cross into the top corner against his former club.
Roberto Firmino (on for Jota, 81′) – n/a
One nice turn, but the game was over when he came on.
Thiago (on for Fabinho, 85′) – n/a
Tried some passing magic, to mixed results!
Subs not used: Kelleher, Matip, Tsimikas, Elliott
Jurgen Klopp – 9
After a spirited fightback at home to Arsenal, it was time for the Reds to kick on against Leeds, with Klopp looking to avoid six games without a win.
They did so emphatically, proving to be ruthless in scoring two quickfire goals before half-time and then going up another gear after the break.
Using Trent in this new role ultimately paid off and the decision to start Jota did, too, so it was a great evening for the manager.
He really needed this and it keeps Liverpool’s (extremely) slim hopes of finishing in the top four alive.
A fully fit squad, confidence returning for some key players, now to put a run together in this final eight games of the season.