Liverpool beat Leeds United 4-3 in their Premier League opener on Saturday evening. Here are five things we learned as the Reds got off to a winning start.
Mistakes where there were none
Conceding two goals inside the first 30 minutes? That doesn’t sound like the Liverpool of last year. In fact, it took until December 4th last season before they conceded twice in one Premier League game – their 15th of the season.
Even stranger is that both goals came from errors. Joe Gomez charged in for the first and took himself out of the game. Virgil van Dijk even made an error for the second as his poor clearance handed a chance to Patrick Bamford.
Leeds went on to score a third, of course. It took Liverpool until February 29th last season before they conceded three in a Premier League game.
It’s one game, so no reason to panic, of course. But there’s clear room for improvement if the Reds want to match last season.
Mohamed Salah is on it. It’s the fourth year in a row that the Egyptian netted on opening day but his whole performance looked bright.
He was happy to run at defenders, he tried clever things and his strike for the third was sensational. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come and we’re in for an electric season from Salah.
Again, this wasn’t like the Liverpool of last year. The Reds didn’t boss the midfield as they perhaps should have. They let their opponents play the way they wanted – something Liverpool prevented regularly last season. Leeds’ first and third goals perhaps show it best.
There wasn’t enough pressure on the pass for their first equaliser – Kalvin Phillips had all the time in the world to spray it out wide. And the third wasn’t much better.
Gini Wijnaldum missed one tackle then let his man drift past him as the ball went into the box. Unfortunately, his man was Mateusz Klich, who picked the ball up and fired home.
It’s a problem, too – this was the one thing Jurgen Klopp asked for ahead of the game.
Needs to be better
Speaking of Wijnaldum, this wasn’t a performance to remember. Especially as he reportedly wants a new contract with the club.
He had a great chance to score in the second half but produced a very tame effort. Unfortunately, that was as much as he offered going forward. And as we said above, he wasn’t good enough defensively, either.
He’s in the side to offer intensity and a reliable all-around game but he was rarely involved – especially in a positive sense. This one passed him by and it was to the detriment of Liverpool.
Above all, this was a sign that Liverpool can win the title again. No, the intensity wasn’t there. The tight defence wasn’t there. But the resilience was.
The Reds conceded three goals they simply shouldn’t have let in. But Liverpool still found ways to grab four and beat Leeds 4-3. For that, they deserve a lot of credit, despite the sub-par performance.