Liverpool’s top four hopes suffered a significant wobble following a 1-1 draw at Leeds United in a match that took place in the shadow of the furore created by the proposed European Super League.
Tensions were high amongst pundits and supporters leading into the contest and the home side’s players warmed up for battle sporting t-shirts with ‘Earn it’ and ‘Football is for the fans’ emblazoned across them.
However, it was Liverpool who bossed the first period and they deservedly went ahead just past the half hour when Sadio Mane tucked in his first league goal since January courtesy of Trent Alexander Arnold’s wonderful run and pass.
Leeds were much sharper after the interval but were thwarted by several fine saves by Alisson and also saw a lobbed attempt from Patrick Bamford come back off the crossbar. The hosts were clearly worthy of a point and snatched it three minutes from time when Diego Llorente headed in his first Leeds goal from a corner.
The result sees the Reds miss the chance to move up to fourth spot. They remain sixth, two points adrift of West Ham. Leeds stay 10th.
Next up, Liverpool host Newcastle on Saturday while Leeds are at home to Manchester United 24 hours later.
TALKING POINT - Liverpool’s late woe doesn’t seem so important right now
The uncomfortable reality of the Super League proposals is that it could mean a game such as this one is almost irrelevant. Liverpool, the 2020 PL champions, are fighting hard to just have a chance to finish in the Champions League places, but if their hierarchy gets their way, it wouldn’t matter where the Reds are in the standings.
The ESL is a move against the very integrity of competition and the traditions of the game. All of this has been said in the past 24 hours, but it remains a disheartening situation. Many are hoping the ESL is just a bargaining tactic in relation to UEFA and the Champions League revamp and that there is change in the wind in the days and weeks ahead. It’s worrying times for purists of the game but hopefully there is middle ground that can be reached to ensure such a worrying development doesn’t become a reality.
In the current format, this was two points dropped for Liverpool so late in the day and with just six games to play. Jurgen Klopp will be disappointed but there’s no doubt the home side deserved the draw.
Fans hold up a protest banner against Liverpool FC and the European Super League outside the stadium
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH - Alisson (Liverpool)
The Reds keeper was in impressive form and made a series of top saves, particularly in the second half. Didn’t get the clean sheet he will feel he had earned but it could have been much worse for the Merseysiders if it wasn’t for his fine display.
Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United warms up while wearing a protest t-shirt reading "Champions League, Earn it."
Image credit: Getty Images
24’ – LEEDS UNITED CHANCE! Bamford's heavy touch allows Alisson to come out and block after Phillips had capitalised on Fabinho's dreadful pass and set him free.
31’ - GOAL! Leeds 0-1 Liverpool (Sadio Mane). Mane ends his goal drought with a simple pass into an empty net after Trent AA had charged on to a raking ball from Jota and touched it into his teammates path ahead of the advancing Meslier.
48’ – LIVERPOOL CHANCES! Firmino twinkle-toes his way into the left side of the area but sees his low drive pushed away by Meslier. Leeds didn't do enough to close him down there. From the resulting corner, Jota rises above everyone else but powers his header over the crossbar.
69’ – LEEDS UNITED CHANCE! Alisson stretches out a long left leg to block Harrison's low shot from close range after lovely work on the left from Roberts.
75’ – LEEDS UNITED CHANCE! Bamford is left in acres of space through the middle to take down Ayling's high pass but his lobbed effort cannons back off the bar.
78’ – LEEDS UNITED CHANCE! That's another fine save from Alisson. Roberts glides on to a pass in the area but lashes his thumping shot too close to the Liverpool keeper.
87’ - GOAL! Leeds 1-1 Liverpool (Diego Llorente). Llorente is left free to level matters with a header from a right-wing corner. Leeds deserve that!
Six of Sadio Mané's eight Premier League goals this season have come away from home, with tonight's strike his first goal in 10 league games for Liverpool.
Leeds have both scored and conceded 50 Premier League goals in 32 games this season - only Tottenham in 2007-08 (30 games) have done so in fewer matches in the competition.
Liverpool have dropped 13 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, two more than they had across their last two campaigns combined (6 in 2018-19, 5 in 2019-20).