• September 12, 2021
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Liverpool keep pace with Premier League leaders with victory over Leeds

Liverpool keep pace with Premier League leaders with victory over Leeds

Liverpool kept pace with the Premier League’s leading pack as Mohamed Salah’s 100th English top-flight goal helped them to victory at Leeds.

The game was somewhat marred, though, by a dislocated ankle to teenage midfielder Harvey Elliott, who was stretchered off following an initially innocuous-looking sliding challenge from Pascal Struijk that ultimately saw the Leeds player sent off.

Liverpool were already firmly in control of the game by then, though.

Egyptian forward Salah was perfectly placed to tap in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s low cross and give the Reds a 20th-minute advantage, with Fabinho bundling home the second following a corner five minutes after the break.

Sadio Mane had missed a number of chances in the game, but made absolutely certain of the points with a low finish into the far bottom corner in injury time.

Leeds had their chances too, with Rodrigo firing the best of them straight at Alisson with the game still goalless.

But with a man fewer, Leeds could not muster the challenge required and have now failed to win any of their first four top-flight matches in a season for the first time since 1958-59.

They will also now have to deal with a shortage of numbers in central defence, with Struijk banned and Diego Llorente limping off in the first half to join Robin Koch on the treatment table.

Jurgen Klopp’s side move to 10 points, level at the top, but with a lower number of goals scored than Manchester United and equal with Chelsea.

They have extended the division’s longest unbeaten run to 14 and won eight of their last nine away games, including each of the previous five.

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The game itself delivered too, complete with another scoring feat as Salah notched his 100th Premier League goal via a simple finish.

Only Alan Shearer (124), Harry Kane (141), Sergio Aguero (147) and Thierry Henry (160) needed fewer Premier League appearances than the 161 it has taken him to reach the milestone.

Salah, Mane and Diogo Jota led the Leeds defence a merry dance throughout, threatening to run riot in a fascinating encounter packed with as many glaring misses as gloriously intricate attacking play, largely from the away side.

Rodrigo’s failure to convert from 15 yards was bad, but Mane’s scoop over the bar from point-blank range at 1-0 was the pick of a woeful bunch of finishes.

Fabinho’s effort gave Liverpool complete control, but their immediate quest for further goals was undermined by the injury to Elliott, with the gravity of the situation quickly becoming apparent after Struijk had slid in to win the ball.

Referee Craig Pawson initially let play continue, but once it had stopped and medical assistance quickly called for the Reds player, a red card was shown on the hour to the United player.

Patrick Bamford did go close to giving the 10 men of Leeds hope with a stunning strike from halfway that Alisson had to tip over, but the game was well beyond Leeds by the time Mane claimed the visitors’ third.

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