Leeds United 0-3 Liverpool: Harvey Elliott stretched off with serious injury in comfortable Reds win
Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners at Leeds but the result was marred by a serious leg injury sustained to Harvey Elliott and red card to Pascal Struijk.
After goals from Mohamed Salah – his 100th in the Premier League – and Fabinho, the game took an unfortunate twist when Elliott suffered the injury on 59 minutes in a challenge with Pascal Struijk, who received a controversial red card after a VAR review. Play was halted for a number of minutes early in the second half as Elliott received treatment from Liverpool’s medical staff.
Sky Sports’ co-commentator Gary Neville said: “The most important thing is the boy but I’m not sure it’s a red card. The red card is a result of the injury rather than the tackle.”
Sadio Mane, after spurning a hatful of chances, scored in injury-time to wrap up the points.
Even before the red card Liverpool were dominant across all areas of the pitch with Alexander-Arnold, back at right-back after his midfield experiment with England, playing a part in both opening goals. Jurgen Klopp’s men could and should have had a hatful of goals as Mane was especially culpable at not making more of the team’s 30 efforts at goal with Mane having 10 of them.
Liverpool move up to third, level on points with Manchester United and Chelsea, while Leeds remain winless this season.
How Liverpool shone at Elland Road…
The atmosphere inside the ground was electric and the roof nearly came off inside six minutes but Rodrigo couldn’t beat Alisson from 15 yards out after some silky play down the line by Raphinha.
With the home crowd quietened, Diogo Jota tested Illan Meslier with a looping effort before Salah opened the scoring on 20 minutes.
Joel Matip was the architect, driving with the ball from centre-back to open the play up and releasing Alexander-Arnold down the right. His quality from the wide area was up to his usual high standard and Salah had an easy finish to join the Premier League 100 club.
The ball was in Meslier’s net again five minutes later as Thiago headed home another Alexander-Arnold cross, but Salah had strayed offside in the build-up and the delayed flag put pay to the celebrations.
Leeds were hanging on but Liverpool kept letting them off their hook with some poor finishing.
Mane showed great movement to get free on the back post on 27 minutes but somehow managed to scoop a shanked effort over the bar from no more than four yards out. Virgil van Dijk was the next Liverpool player to waste a glorious chance, headed off target from eight yards out from another superb Alexander-Arnold delivery.
Such was the dominance on show from the visitors, Neville said: “Leeds have been given a right doing here.”
Liverpool went into the break knowing they were unbeaten in their last 91 Premier League matches when leading at half-time (W82, D9) dating back to 2016 when losing to Bournemouth.
They emerged from the tunnel with the look of a team keen to finish the job. Mane should have on 48 minutes but was denied by a brilliant last-ditch block by a combination of Struijk and Kalvin Phillips.
Liverpool would get the second goal from the following corner. Alexander-Arnold did the expert delivering again, finding Van Dijk, who headed down into a dangerous area and Fabinho prodded home from close range.
The game took a sour turn moments later when Elliott went down after a coming together with Struijk and Salah immediately signalled towards the bench for the medics to rush on with Elliott clearly in major discomfort. Although referee Craig Pawson didn’t originally show a red card, a VAR review deemed the challenge from the Leeds man as a serious offence and he was dismissed.
Neville described the challenge as “a robust one, but not a nasty one”.
Elliott, making his fourth Premier League appearance of the campaign, was replaced by Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson.
Leeds’ new signing Daniel James replaced Harrison soon after for his club debut, but made little impact as Liverpool remained so dangerous in the final third.
Mane broke clear and pulled another effort wide with the goal beckoning.
But Leeds conceded a third when Mane turned on to Fabinho’s ball inside and drove home a low finish in the closing stages.
‘No malice in Elliott challenge’
Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp:
“Every time you go in for a challenge, you are going to endanger someone.
“Having seen it, I feel personally that it’s an innocuous challenge. Does he mean to hurt him? No, of course he doesn’t. It’s just one of those that happens every now and again in football.
“I actually feel sorry for the player involved because it’s a very difficult thing for a player. Players find it really hard to get over those sort of things, so it’s an awful situation all-round.”
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk says all of the squad’s thoughts are with Harvey Elliott after the teenager suffered a horrible injury during their 3-0 win at Leeds.
What the managers said…
Jurgen Klopp said: “It’s a bad injury to his ankle. I heard it was dislocated so we could put it back and he’s now in hospital. We have to wait, obviously. He played an incredible game and is an incredible player who is out.
“Do I want such a young boy early in his career to have this experience? No, but now it’s the case so we have to be there and we will be there. We’ll play football without him but we will wait for him as well because obviously he’s a top player.
“I saw the situation and I saw immediately the extent as I could see his foot was not in the right place. That’s why we were shocked.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says everyone is in shock after Harvey Elliott suffered a terrible injury against Leeds, and insists they will all be there for the 18-year-old during his recovery.
Marcelo Bielsa said: “Pascal recovered the ball. The action to get the ball didn’t have an infraction, but I have the feeling that the movement of the rest of his body after he recovered the ball made him hit Elliott.
“These types of recoveries of the ball are totally frequent. The difference here was Pascal’s speed and power hit the opponent and that caused the injury.
“I regret dearly that such a young player who was playing at a high level was interrupted through this. I hope he is able to get back.
“For me the referee decides. He has enough resources to make the decision and I don’t know why the decision wasn’t immediate and it was after. But I never like to condition the decisions the referee makes.”
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa was disappointed with his side’s performance and admits Liverpool were by far the better team as they were beaten 3-0 at Elland Road.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 11 meetings with Leeds in all competitions (W8 D3) since a 2-1 home loss in April 2001.
- Leeds have failed to win any of their opening four league games in a top-flight campaign for the first time since 1958-59.
- Since the start of last season, Liverpool have scored more Premier League goals from corners than any other side (13), while Leeds have conceded the most in this fashion in that time (also 13).
- Liverpool had 30 shots in this match, taking their tally to 100 for the season – at least 16 more than any other Premier League side.
- Salah became the 30th different player to score 100 Premier League goals, with only four players reaching the milestone in fewer appearances than the Egyptian (162 games).
- Mané eventually scored with his 10th shot in this match, the most shots he’s ever had in a single Premier League game.