Liverpool produced their best away game of the calendar year by beating Leeds 6-1, with Diogo Jota finally back on the scoresheet.
Leeds United 1-6 Liverpool
Diaz is back but why not Darwin?
Finally returning to the match day squad was our best player on the pitch by far to start the season, Luis Diaz.
The Colombian was a huge failure, even taking away his scoring potential and technical level from him: he works relentlessly, is powerful and absolutely fast, all huge factors that have left the grim Reds without enough of this period.
He only had ten minutes but received a big round of applause from the crowd and a warm welcome from his team mates. And then there’s Darwin Nunez. The club’s record-signing potential has been on the periphery of late, not with his usual chaotic impact on matches, but also without starting them.
Despite a lack of goals and progress in recent games, there have been no drastic changes up front and Jurgen Klopp clearly feels the Uruguayan has work to do to get back into line-up.
Perhaps the goal for him in stoppage time will help confidence there too.
The curious case of Jota
Half an hour after the match, one question surely arises: Should Diogo Jota be on the pitch? The Portuguese striker has been out for a long time with an injury affecting his speed of movement and, frankly, he hasn’t gotten back on his feet since his return.
He feels heavy and slow in turns or in the…deep breath…sprint, has no foot movement around it and technically it’s all over the place.
Bad passes, running into players, inability to deal with his markers and no goal threat – Jota is miles away from his old predatory self, let alone one who could contribute significantly in an underperforming team.
And then he steps up to score a crucial second goal and scores the third and fifth himself.
Jota covered quite a bit of ground after regaining possession, though the pass was poorly placed and weighed down: Salah’s sharpness transformed the assist, spinning and shooting in the first. His finishing wasn’t bad or bad though, with a run and first goal ending a more than a year and goalless drought – hopefully this can be a stepping stone to a better and more consistent one.
Diaz’s return will bring real pressure after a few outings – but he certainly looks like a Klopp favourite.
An away win?!
Incredible – Liverpool took three Premier League points that didn’t come to Anfield!
It was the first time we had done it since mid-February; Removing FA Cup games or those where the opposition goalkeeper was sent off in the first 25 minutes is our first real away win since Boxing Day.
It’s been five defeats, two draws and just one win at Newcastle since that Aston Villa game, making it a hugely welcome return to form.
At least as important, however, is what comes next. The Reds must face West Ham, Leicester and Southampton away from home before the end of the season.
They are all poor, two in the bottom three. These are all teams we normally wipe the floor with. It has to happen, now we have rediscovered how to play with the front foot, score goals and somehow win.
The unlikely resurgence of Curtis Jones
A few unusual things happened that night, including goals from Jota and the road win, but another came in the form of an assist from Curtis Jones. In short, it was more than deserved.
After barely resting for months, Jones has now entered his final three league games in a row and has earned himself a place in Klopp’s restructured midfield (again).
His chance may have come this time through injuries suffered by others, but he made the most of it with controlled and accomplished – and laborious – performances.
Here comes the final product, and it’s on the merits side at the moment – notably ahead of Thiago.
Can we continue? We’ve had some big wins this season. They’re great, but we try to be consistent.
The last time we beat a team – Man United, remember? ! – we went on and lost to relegation-threatened Bournemouth immediately afterwards.
Liverpool can no longer afford it. Next up is Nottingham Forest at home, a truly winnable and must-have game if we still have any hope of finishing in the top four. There’s no real reason why we shouldn’t, given Newcastle and Spurs’ defeats and dismal performances over the weekend, but Brighton and Aston Villa are now in much better form too.
Indeed, three points here don’t exactly lift Liverpool out of eighth place. All we can do now is keep winning, especially with four of our next five games at Anfield.
Points are needed to win and when we do we will climb that ranking. Maybe it’s not all over yet.
Leeds 1-6 Liverpool: Reds Player performace Ratings
Liverpool cruised to an emphatic 6-1 win at Leeds, with Mohamed Salah in brilliant goalscoring form and Diogo Jota ending a years-long losing streak.
Leeds 1-6 Liverpool
Goals: Gakpo 35′, Salah 39′ & 64′, Jota 52′ & 73′, Nunez 89′; Sinister 47′
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
Alisson has been called up so many times this season to save Liverpool’s blush, but he had the luxury of being a spectator for much of the game.
The Brazilian barely had anything to do in the first half and after the break he couldn’t do much against Luis Sinisterra’s goal.
Fittingly, his teammates were left out for not getting close enough to Brenden Aaronson when he hit the bar – that’s about as lively as he got!
Trent Alexander Arnold – 8
Alexander-Arnold has once again been deployed more in a traveling midfield role (reverse full-back say the hipsters), with Jurgen Klopp fine-tuning his position recently.
The 24-year-old endured an impressive night at Elland Road, scoring the first goal for Cody Gakpo and sixth for Darwin Nunez and generally showing his quality on the ball. A fine back pass to Mohamed Salah summed up what an outrageous passer Trent is.
Ibrahima Konate – 6
Konaté was sensational in the second half against Arsenal last time out and although it was less of a test for him, he was solid overall.
Poor focus caused him to mark Sinisterra which cost him a point, but otherwise he was a physically dominant character.
It will be a world class day. Just need to improve his concentration.
Virgil van Dyke – 7
Like Konate, Van Dijk will be subjected to much better testing, but he really can’t be faulted and has proven to be particularly dominant in the air.
The Dutchman’s long-range passing hasn’t always been at his best, but this was convincing evidence that Liverpool will need to watch week after week from now on.
Robertson has been the least guilty of Liverpool defenders this season, although it certainly wasn’t a vintage season on his part.
Here though he was very good, playing deep enough to perhaps compensate for Trent who played in midfield and performed his defensive duties well.
He did brilliantly for Salah’s second of the night, ran forward and clipped the ball to Cody Gakpo.
We are still a long way from yesterday’s Fabinho, but luckily his form has improved in recent weeks.
He has done well in midfield for the Reds, although he still looks a meter slower than before, and has used the ball intelligently.
Henderson has been a shadow of his former self so many times this season, but this was a positive night for him.
Sure, he was too limited on the ball at times and went for the easy option, but he covered Trent well down the right and made some effective overlap runs.
An excellent pass from Jota saw his colleague try wide.
Jones has been criticized for not influencing matches enough, but he was better against Leeds.
The midfielder lost possession a couple of times but he deserves credit for regaining it and produced a fine pass for Jota’s first goal.
Nothing special, but maybe 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 must have hurt, so a reaction from him at Elland Road was expected.
It was no surprise, then, that he buried two brutal finishes to hide Liverpool: his eighth and ninth goals in six Premier League appearances against Leeds. He’s been a threat to the Leeds defense all night – that’s now 26 goals for the season, not bad for a player having a ‘bad’ campaign!
Cody Gakpo – 8
Gakpo has been quiet lately after not continuing after his home brace against Man United, but he was much better on Monday night.
The Dutchman scored the game’s first goal – his first in five league appearances – and he used the ball subtly, much like Roberto Firmino.
He also got an assist for Salah and showed good composure in a tight area.
Diogo Jota – 8
What do they say about London buses?
Jota has kept his place despite lackluster form lately and although his first half hour was poor and he continued to lose possession, he improved a lot from there. The Liverpool No.20 provided the assist for Salah’s opener and then finally ended his losing streak by scoring twice in a row.
Confidence is a wild thing.
Luis Diaz (for Gakpo, 81′) – n/a
Seeing him back on the pitch is almost as good as the 5-1 win itself!
Darwin Nunez (for Salah, 81′) – n/a
Expertly caught his target after being dispatched cleanly.
James Milner (for Henderson, ’81) – n/a
Almost fired a cross into the top corner against his ex-club.
Roberto Firmino (for iota, 81′) – n/a
A nice turn of events, but the game was over when he arrived. Thiago (for Fabinho, 85′) – n/a
I’ve tried temporary magic, with mixed results!
Unused Subs: Kelleher, Matip, Tsimikas, Elliott
Jürgen Klopp – 9
After a fiery comeback at home against Arsenal, it was time for the Reds to take on Leeds, with Klopp trying to avoid a six-game losing streak.
They did so with insistence and ruthlessness, scoring two quick goals before half-time and increasing the lead after the break.
Placing Trent in this new role ultimately paid off, as did the decision to create Jota. So it was a great evening for the director.
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.
Player ratings definitions: 10 = Faultless | 9 = Excellent | 8 = Very Good | 7 = Good | 6 = Average | 5 = Below Par | 4 = Bad | 3 = Very Bad | 2 Awful | 1 = Surely Not
Liverpool6 months ago
The impact of VAR rulings on Liverpool and each Premier League club in 2022–2023 season
Liverpool7 months ago
Five Liverpool players have now confirmed their permanent departures as Jurgen Klopp clears the desks
Liverpool7 months ago
Liverpool and FSG awaits ‘green light’ on Sadio Mané transfer repeat amid Apple interest and $6.2bn deal
Liverpool6 months ago
From Italy – Liverpool able to agree a transfer fee of £38.7million Juventus star
Liverpool7 months ago
Premier League fifth-place qualification rules if Man City win Champions League and Liverpool miss top four
Liverpool6 months ago
Liverpool transfers: No 2 signing on the way, contact made and Klopp ‘serious’ about move to €40m starter winner
Liverpool7 months ago
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed buy-back deal for £15m Liverpool wonderkid who is now without a club
Liverpool8 months ago
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hints new Liverpool formation is here to stay – “It suits us”