Liverpool fall to Leeds at Anfield

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Liverpool fell to their first Premier League defeat at Anfield since March 2021 on Saturday night as Leeds United moved out of the relegation zone with a thoroughly deserved 2-1 victory.

The opening exchanges of the contest were dominated by errors. Leeds escaped a glaring breakdown in communication between captain Liam Cooper and goalkeeper Illan Meslier moments before Liverpool proved less fortunate.

Joe Gomez played a blind pass towards Alisson. Just like his manager Jurgen Klopp ahead of kick-off, Liverpool’s keeper lost his footing, watching on in agony as Rodrigo gleefully accepted the gift of an open goal.

Mohamed Salah only needed ten minutes to fire Liverpool level. Lining up in a narrow diamond formation, a lot of the creative burden fell upon Liverpool’s full-backs. Andy Robertson collected Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross at the back post, arcing the ball over Fabinho but into Salah’s stride.

Despite their lowly standing of 18th at kick-off, Klopp warned that Leeds have “caused everybody massive problems” this season. Liverpool were no exception.

The visitors surged forward at will, committing their front four to a coordinated high press and bolstering that quartet with more white shirts when they retrieved possession. The crossbar was still vibrating from Brenden Aaronson’s close-range volley when Jack Harrison forced an excellent save from a smothering Alisson.

On Leeds’ last away trip, the travelling support defiantly sang the name of their former manager, Marcelo Bielsa, as the soundtrack of a limp defeat. Nine days on, the Yorkshire contingent drowned out a nervy Anfield for large swathes.

Yet, in their bid to unsettle the hosts, Leeds left the back door open, conspiring to concoct an enthralling, end-to-end contest.

The blistering tempo of the first half cooled after the break but the jab-jab, thrust-thrust rhythm persisted as both sides crafted a raft of chances. Meslier came out on top in two one-on-ones with Darwin Nunez on either side of the interval. The young French number one rebuffed Liverpool from all angles, tipping away Roberto Firmino’s close-range header amid a myriad of stops.

Just as the game threatened to meander to a draw, Crysencio Summerville struck a killer blow which may have saved his manager from the axe. Wilfried Gnonto came off the bench to fire the ball into the box. His fellow substitute Patrick Bamford snuck ahead of the dozing duo of Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara, setting Summerville up for a poke past Alisson in the 89th minute.