Alisson Becker was the standout performer for Liverpool, who were held to a 1-1 draw by a spirited Leeds United at Elland Road on Monday.
The build-up to the match was dominated by discussions over the controversial European Super League and Leeds United did not shy away from making a statement. As for matters on the pitch, Liverpool were the stronger of the two sides in the early exchanges and came close to scoring twice while on the other end, Leeds were gifted a chance by Fabinho before Alisson saved his blushes.
The deadlock was finally broken at the half-hour mark at the end of a fine move, as Diogo Jota spotted Trent Alexander-Arnold on a ghosting run before the Englishman squared the ball for Sadio Mane to tap the ball into the next and make it 1-0. Liverpool continued to carry more threat thereafter, but Leeds slowly grew into the game, with chances flowing rapidly for them.
If not for Alisson, the Whites could well have been clear by the time they finally scored, as Diego Llorente headed in from Jack Harrison’s corner to ensure a share of the spoils. The result meant that Liverpool’s bid for a top four finish suffered another hit and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 8/10
The sole reason Liverpool went back home with one point instead of none. Alisson made a couple of top class saves to keep the ball out of his goal. Could not have done anything to deny Diego Llorente for the Leeds goal, though, as the Liverpool no. 1 was sold short by poor marking by Ozan Kabak. Did his part.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
Alexander-Arnold has been rediscovering his best form since being snubbed by Gareth Southgate for the international break last month and this was another positive display by the Englishman. The run leading up to Sadio Mane’s goal was remarkable before he provided the assist for the opener. Perhaps a tad bit fortunate to not be penalised for hand-ball, but solid enough otherwise.
Back at the heart of the Liverpool defence for the first time since March, Fabinho made an early error that nearly gifted Patrick Bamford a goal before he was bailed out by Alisson. His passing was off all night long (74 percent completion rate), but he was solid enough off the ball, bar one or two nervy moments.
Ozan Kabak: 6/10
Decent enough for the most part, Kabak held firm in the face of the Leeds onslaught in the final quarter of the game, making 4 clearances, 2 interceptions and 2 tackles. However, when it mattered he did not manage to contain Diego Llorente for the equaliser, with the Spaniard beating him too easily.
Andrew Robertson: 7/10
As always, Robertson was a major outlet for Liverpool when going down the left flank and played a couple of key passes. However, the Scot was also quite wasteful on the ball, losing possession an alarming 17 times. Chipped in with some important moments in the defensive phase, making as many as 7 clearances.
Thiago Alcantara: 7/10
Back in the starting lineup after three games, Thiago looked to make up for lost time and came close to scoring early on, only to be denied by Illan Meslier. Was always in search for the right pass forward and played a joint-team-high 3 key passes while still retaining a 90 percent passing rate. A reasonably solid effort by our Player to Watch, who will now look to grow in the setup.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Wijnaldum, who was once again off his best form. The Dutchman did perform ably in the first half, when Liverpool were largely in control, but once Leeds started to push forward more efficiently, the pressure started to tell on him and he barely saw the ball in the latter stages of the game. In need of some inspiration.
James Milner: 7/10
A solid performance in the middle of the park by Milner, who was the stand-in skipper once again for Liverpool in the absence of Jordan Henderson. The former Leeds star was a bundle of energy in the middle of the park and constantly looked to push his side forward. Put in the hard yards off the ball, but as fatigue started to set in, he was overrun in the middle as well. Did not shy away from criticising the Super League decision in the aftermath.
Sadio Mane: 7/10
⚽ With his goal against Leeds, Sadio Mane has scored against 29 of the 31 teams that he’s faced in the PL. He’s only not scored against Brighton (6 apps) & Middlesbrough (1) #LEELIV pic.twitter.com/nM8LqK3Kgh
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 19, 2021
If not for his goal, it did not even feel like Mane was on the pitch, as the shot for his goal ended up being his only effort in the game. Nevertheless, he will be delighted to have ended a nine-game run without a goal and with that, he also ended another drought, as Liverpool scored their first goal before the 45th minute in a Premier League game since December 27. Needs to be more involved, though.
Roberto Firmino: 7/10
A frustrating outing for Firmino, who came close to scoring, only to be denied by a spirited Meslier. His trademark movements, though, returned to be on show on the night and that caused Leeds a fair bit of trouble, although they held on firm in the end. Played a couple of key passes, but did not always get the right service in return.
Diogo Jota: 7/10
Top work by Jota, who had his role to play in the build-up to the goal Liverpool scored, as it was his exquisite turn and through pass that located Alexander-Arnold to perfection before the ball was laid for Mane to tap it home. His movement was exceptional all throughout and he narrowly missed the target on a couple of occasions. Played a team-high 3 key passes.
Mohamed Salah: 6/10
Sent on in place of Mane to put the game to bed, Salah was quite sloppy in possession, misplacing half of his attempted passes while missing the target from a chance that came his way.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: N/A
A late introduction, Oxlade-Chamberlain did not have enough time to make an impact and looked quite rusty whenever he did see the ball.