Leeds 1-6 Liverpool: Player ratings as Salah & Jota net braces in huge win
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Doubles from Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota helped Liverpool thrash Leeds at Elland Road on Monday night to end a run of five games without a victory.
The Reds have offered clinical displays infrequently during a disappointing season but rattled in six goals to further emphasise United’s defensive issues.
Cody Gakpo prodded in unmarked for the opener despite VAR complaints from the hosts before Salah fired in at the near post.
Luis Sinisterra jumped on an error from Ibrahima Konate to pull one back but Jota grabbed his first from Curtis Jones’ through ball before Salah finished off a flowing move from the visitors.
Jota grabbed his brace with an arrowed strike that bounced in off the post before Darwin Nunez registered his side’s sixth from the bench, controlling Trent Alexander-Arnold’s lob and finishing in front of a sparse Elland Road crowd.
Rodrigo went close first for the hosts, glancing his header from Jack Harrison’s free kick straight at Alisson early on. A giveaway from Jota ended with the Spaniard getting another shot at goal shortly after, but his effort skewed wide.
Konate then did well to show Sinisterra wide before the winger crashed a shot into the side-netting.
Liverpool took the lead in controversial fashion. A block from Alexander-Arnold appeared to hit the right back’s arm before a one-two with Salah ended with Gakpo tapping in at the back post. No VAR intervention came for Leeds.
Not soon after, Salah made it 2-0. Jota won the ball off the weak Weston McKennie, charged upfield and fed Salah, who took his shot first time, belting past Illan Meslier at the goalkeeper’s near post.
The Reds fully merited their lead at half time but threatened to put their fans through more unwanted drama by conceding right at the start of the second period.
Defender Konate took a horrible touch, allowing Sinisterra to latch onto the ball, surge towards Alisson and dink the Brazilian goalie to half the deficit.
However, just as soon as Leeds dragged themselves back into the contest by catching Konate cold, they gifted Liverpool their two-goal lead back to them. Jones picked out Jota with a quick turnover to send the former Wolves forward free and he clipped past Meslier with ease.
Leeds puffed in response, not looking capable of dragging themselves back for a second time, and instead Liverpool ran away with the game late on.
Salah grabbed his second as Andy Robertson cut the ball back to Gakpo, who in turn found the Egyptian who curled into the far corner. Another goal came in quick succession when Jordan Henderson crossed for Jota, whose strike from the edge of the area bobbled off the post and in.
Leeds’ misery was further compounded when substitute Nunez scored Liverpool’s sixth. Alexander-Arnold’s floated pass found the Uruguay forward, who stayed onside to steer his effort into the bottom corner.
Liverpool remain eighth, two points behind Brighton, while Leeds are down in 16th, having seen their goal difference take a significant battering on Monday night.
Leeds player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: Illan Meslier – 3/10 – Conceded six goals and never looked like adding to his solitary save in the game.
RB: Rasmus Kristensen – 2/10 – Offered nothing on the ball and his lack of pace compared to Liverpool’s attackers was evident.
CB: Robin Koch – 4/10 – Is it possible to be the best of a bad bunch in a 6-1 thrashing? No? Well here’s a 4/10 anyway. Stopped the score getting too much worse.
CB: Pascal Struijk – 2/10 – Couldn’t handle Gakpo’s sharp running and positioning. Looked like a dear in the headlights.
LB: Junior Firpo – 2/10 – Caught out of possession when he tried to get forward.
CM: Weston McKennie – 1/10 – Looks really, really, really off the level required.
CM: Marc Roca – 2/10 – Sieve-like in midfield, Liverpool’s midfield is there to be targeted but Roca did little to put his opponents under pressure.
RW: Jack Harrison – 6/10 – Did actually look sharp in attack when given the chance.
AM: Brenden Aaronson – 5/10 – Hit the woodwork from distance but couldn’t influence proceedings.
LW: Luis Sinisterra – 7/10 – He was sharp at the start of the second half to bring Leeds back into the game, but was otherwise outshone elsewhere.
ST: Rodrigo – 5/10 – Lost the ball three times but didn’t have too many opportunities with Liverpool dominant.
Crysencio Summerville (66′ for Rodrigo) – 5/10
Georginio Rutter (66′ for Aaronson) – 5/10
Adam Forshaw (77′ for Sinisterra) – N/A
Wilfried Gnonto (77′ for Harrison) – N/A
Javi Gracia – 2/10 – His side never looked capable of competing in midfield. Capitulated late on, which is becoming a worrying trend.
Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Alisson – 7/10 – A couple of stops. Denied a clean sheet by Konate’s loss of concentration.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8/10 – Picked up two assists in a much easier evening’s work than he’s usually had this season.
CB: Ibrahima Konate – 6/10 – Guilty of Liverpool’s one poor moment of the night. Otherwise untroubled.
CB: Virgil van Dijk – 7/10 – Had no issue winning aerial duels and was generally solid.
LB: Andy Robertson – 7/10 – Robust in defence and managed to break out in attack when needed.
CM: Jordan Henderson – 7/10 – Grabbed the assist for Jota’s second. His desire was simply too much for Leeds’ midfielders.
CM: Fabinho – 7/10 – Brought down Aaronson on the break for a booking. Broke up play when needed with no Leeds player strong enough to trouble him.
CM: Curtis Jones – 9/10 – Wonderful pass picked out Jota. Very active in defence, making five successful tackles, and breezed past opponents on the break.
RW: Mohamed Salah – 9/10 – Back to his clinical self, taking his PL tally up to 15 this season.
ST: Cody Gakpo – 8/10 – Took up some great posistions, drawing Koch and Struijk out and offering up space to his teammates. Unmarked to tap in the opener.
LW: Diogo Jota – 9/10 – Buzzed around in midfield when out of possession to steal possession, which he did time and time again while showing his clinical side with two goals.
Luis Diaz (81′ for Gakpo) – N/A – A long-awaited return from injury.
James Milner (81′ for Henderson) – N/A
Darwin Nunez (81′ for Salah) – 7/10 – Got in on the act with a good finish late on.
Thiago (85′ for Fabinho) – N/A
Jurgen Klopp – 8/10 – A solid night’s work for Klopp, who saw some key players return to form while welcoming others back into the fray.
Player of the match – Curtis Jones (Liverpool)
Source – 90min