41 min “Bielsa as manager and FOUR players sporting manbuns…” says James Boden. “Leeds are THE hipster football club.”
You should see the artisan Gatorade they have at half-time.
40 min Mane has two shots blocked, the first by Koch and the second by Ayling.
40 min Mane’s shot is kicked away by Meslier. Mane was flagged offside after the event but it was the wrong decision, so the goal would have stood.
39 min “Speed metal football, I love it,” says Mary Waltz. “Jose is having heart attacks as he watches.”
It’s a hockey score.
37 min “Anyone remember the 4-5 between these teams at Elland Road in ‘91?” asks Nick.
Weren’t Liverpool 4-0 up at half-time in that one? I vaguely remember a brilliant goal from John Barnes, though that applies to most weeks from 1987-91.
35 min “The cynic in me, and the bitter Evertonian as well (hard to tell them apart sometimes), thinks that had Leeds scored the way Liverpool did, with a Bamford shot ricocheting off Van Dijk’s thigh and arm and a penalty given, VAR would have overruled it in 0.00037 seconds,” says Brad Wilson. “But maybe that’s too cynical.”
I don’t understand why everyone thinks VAR is rigged. It’s not, it’s just crap.
Robertson’s free-kick was headed clear but only as far as Salah, lurking in space 15 yards out. He controlled the ball with his right foot and battered it into the roof of the net with his left. That was another cracking finish.
GOAL! Liverpool 3-2 Leeds (Salah 33)
Thirty-three minutes, five goals!
31 min “Early contender for game of the season?” says Simon McGrother. “Fantastic stuff.”
It’s still Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton for me.
Dallas, on the halfway line, lofted a speculative ball forward towards Bamford on the edge of the area. Van Dijk got there first but flicked the ball lazily towards Robertson. It hit Bamford and broke kindly for him to clip the ball past Alisson and into the net. That was a dismal mistake from van Dijk.
GOAL! Liverpool 2-2 Leeds (Bamford 30)
Leeds have equalised for a second time!
29 min After a mazy run from Salah, Keita’s shot is blocked by Struijk. It’s breathless stuff.
28 min: Great save by Meslier! Robertson’s cross was accidentally looped towards his own goal by the stretching Struijk, and Meslier backpedalled desperately before leaping to tip the ball over the bar.
26 min “Evening Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “Maybe somebody should shoot VAR? (Though to be fair, I thought it had been having a good season so far…)”
25 min Henderson whistles a half-volley from 25 yards that is held by Meslier. It was beautifully struck but straight at the keeper.
22 min Leeds almost equalise again! Ayling flicks a lovely pass through to Bamford, who tries to go round Alisson but is pushed too far wide to get a shot in. If he had the chance again I think he’d have shot first time.
GOAL! Liverpool 2-1 Leeds (van Dijk 20)
Liverpool are back in front! Robertson curls a corner to the near post, where van Dijk loses Koch with ease and thumps a heder through Meslier. That was far too easy.
18 min Harrison’s cross from the left just evades the leaping Costa in the middle. Leeds look very dangerous, particularly down their left.
Now Mane has a goal disallowed for offside! I think it was against Robertson in the build-up. Meslier came out of his area to beat Robertson to the ball but gave it straight to Mane, who clipped it into the net from 40 yards. Replays show Robertson was offside.
14 min Leeds are almost in again, but Hernandez doesn’t have the pace to surge away from Alexander-Arnold. This is terrific stuff.
Phillips sprayed a beautiful long pass out to Harrison on the left. He killed it beautifully on the stretch, then zipped past Alexander-Arnold and Gomez before rifling a low shot past Alisson from the edge of the area. That is a magnificent goal!
GOAL! Liverpool 1-1 Leeds (Harrison 12)
Jack Harrison has equalised with a cracking goal!
9 min: Costa has a goal disallowed for offside! That was much better from Leeds. Hernandez’s cross led to a bit of a scramble in the area, but Costa was just offside as he held off Gomez and beat Alisson.
8 min Why wasn’t that overturned – or at least looked at properly – by VAR? The 2020-21 season has been ruined already.
6 min Actually, I don’t think that should have been a penalty: replays show that it hit Koch’s thigh and then deflected onto his outstretched arm, which doesn’t necessarily count as handball under the revised laws. The VAR check was cursory at best. I hate football.
5 min I do feel sorry for Koch, who certainly wasn’t trying to stop Salah’s shot. But in the modern game, that’s always going to be a penalty.
GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Leeds (Salah 4 pen)
Salah blisters the penalty straight down the middle, and Liverpool are ahead!
Salah’s shot hit Koch, who has been penalised for handball. His arm was outstretched, and that’s all that matters these days.
2 min An early chance for Liverpool! Keita slides a pass through the inside-right channel for Firmino, who for some reason decides to cut the ball back rather than shoot. It hits a defender and bounces to safety. I’m not sure why he didn’t just clip that over Meslier.
2 min “Of course everyone wants fans in the stands, but with Covid cases on the rise this is not possible,” says Mary Waltz. “Over on this side of the pond, our wishful thinking has led to funerals all over the states.”
There is still talk of having supporters at games in October. I wouldn’t rule anything out. On this side of the pond, as you may have noticed, we’re making it up as we go along.
Jurgen Klopp warmly greets Marcelo Bielsa, who is perched on a bucket in the technical area. Let’s get it on!
“Somebody shot JR?” says Ian Copestake. “Sad. I always enjoyed his contributions to the MBM.”
That deserves the first honk of the new season. Ho-honk!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been surprised by how many people have tipped Liverpool not to win the the league. While I understand the argument that it’s hard to maintain such a crazy standard for a third consecutive season, I’m not sure the usual rules apply to a Liverpool team that have abnormal levels of hunger and intensity. I think they’ll win it comfortably, maybe by 10 points or so.
In the second Premier League game of the day, Wilfried Zaha’s goal gave Crystal Palace a 1-0 victory over Southampton at Selhurst Park
Jordan Henderson is fit to start for Liverpool, who have left Fabinho on the bench. Leeds’ record signing Rodrigo is also among the subs, but the German international Robin Koch starts in defence.
Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutes: Adrian, Matip, Fabinho, Milner, Jones, Minamino, Origi.
Leeds (4-1-4-1) Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Struijk, Dallas; Phillips; Costa, Hernandez, Klich, Harrison; Bamford.
Substitutes: Casilla, Casey, Alioski, Roberts, Shackleton, Poveda-Ocampo, Rodrigo.
Referee Michael Oliver.
The fixture computer done good. It’s been a helluva long time since it threw up an opening-day match as mouthwatering as this: Liverpool v Leeds, Jurgen Klopp v Marcelo Bielsa, the irresistible force v the irresistible force. We don’t know how good Leeds will be this season – it’s a huge step up from the Championship – but we do know they will be all sorts of fun. After 16 years, the Premier League feels complete again: Leeds are back.
Kick off 5.30pm