What a match. Allegiances aside, this was a match every football fan could enjoy watching. The chances were plentiful and the history was crisp in the minds of supporters. The atmosphere at Anfield was one that we all wish we could have been a part of.
While the game was exciting for all, it does not change the reality for Leeds United. This was a team that knew they were the underdogs, but these dogs also knew they had quite the bite. The 2-0 scoreline does not do the Whites justice in terms of their performance on the pitch. That being said, here are three points to take away from a night at Anfield.
Talking point 1: The chances were there
Leeds must have come in knowing that while Liverpool is an offensive juggernaut, they were also a side with a gaping hole in the defense. Klopp has managed to forge his team into one similar to the Brendan Rodgers squad that nearly won the Premier League title. The Reds, for now, are a side that wins games by outscoring opponents.
Garry Monk said it best.
@GarryMonk “With a little bit more composure, we would have scored two or three goals tonight”— Leeds United (@LUFC) November 29, 2016
The chances were plentiful for both sides, but Leeds were unfortunate on multiple occasions. One of the best chances in the game came early when Stuart Dallas found Hadi Sacko to give a one-on-one opportunity against Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet.
But the outcome of that attack would be the pattern of the game: decent opportunity, no goal.
And Kemar Roofe’s shot in the 53rd minute? A thing of beauty, but not to be on this night at Anfield.
Kemar will have to feel unlucky, but the goals are coming for the youngster. If he keeps playing like this, we might not need a backup for Pablo Hernandez in January after all.
Talking point 2: Leeds looked better than Liverpool for 70 minutes
Yes, Liverpool won 2-0. At the end of the day, it is the final score that counts. But no one who watched this game could deny that this was a match that Leeds actually dominated for large portions. Klopp's squad is used to pressing and creating chances. The chances did come, but Leeds held Liverpool down, especially in the first half.
The pace of Sadio Mane, Alberto Moreno, Divock Origi, and other Liverpool players was always going to be a tough job for the Leeds defense, but for the majority of the game, the Liverpool attack was kept under wraps.
It was only in the 75th minute that youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold was able to deliver a pin-point cross to Origi who made no mistake.
And then came the young-gun Ben Woodburn making history for Liverpool. 17 years old and looking like someone Leeds (or any club, really) could use at the moment.
Talking point 3: Now we know what we need
Games like these tell a manager a lot about his squad. The weaknesses tend to be highlighted. and I can only hope Garry Monk got the message.
We need firepower. Now.
All the chances in the world don't mean anything unless there is someone to put them in the back of the net.
Chris Wood has been on fire this season, but he is the only one who has truly shown he can consistently score. Take him out of the equation and the question is asked: “Who is going to score?” Unfortunately, that answer right now is very unclear.
On a positive note, the defense looked sharp and was disrupting the flow of Liverpool all night. The question of Charlie Taylor's future has now really become a huge concern. At the moment, he looks like a potential MVP on both sides of the ball for Leeds. Can Leeds really afford to lose him in January?
Leeds fans will be disappointed because we cannot forget about the fact that the chances were there. If Leeds could have converted on one in the first 70 minutes, we could only dream of what the outcome could have been. But for now, Leeds fans can walk away knowing they can hang with a true footballing power.
The future is bright for the Whites. MOT