|Star boy! Mohammed Salah celebrates after firing Liverpool in front on Wednesday in their 6-0 annihilation of Leeds. (Photo credit: Premierleague.com)|
Liverpool’s African duo, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane ran riot against Leeds United on Wednesday night to hand the Kops’ title charge a huge lift after seeing Manchester City’s lead at the summit cut to just three points.
Liverpool hosted Leeds in a rescheduled league game with only one thing in mind. City had lost at home to Spurs on Sunday, a day after Liverpool rallied to beat Norwich, the goal was to cut City’s advantage to 3 points and boy didn’t they take their chances emphatically?
Jurgen Klopp restored Trent Alexander Arnold and Andy Robertson at fullbacks and recalled Fabinho in midfield, Luis Diaz, Sadio Mane and the magical Egyptian kept their places but it was Leeds United that made the first statement.
Goalkeeper Alison misjudged a pass and his unconvincing clearance left Liverpool in danger of conceding from a Daniel James onslaught, but replays showed the follow through from the Brazilian hacked down the Welshman but VAR didn’t even look at it.
Liverpool got a penalty just moments afterwards. Stuart Dallas handled in the area from a Robertson cross and you know who obliged from the spot to hand Liverpool the lead, it all looked ominous for Leeds United from there.
Salah teed up Joel Matip for the second and Luke Ayling brought down Mane in the area just before halftime, Michael Oliver pointed to the spot and flashed a yellow at the defender but with replays showing the extent of contact and intent, Ayling should have been sent off.
Salah scored again from the spot despite Illan Meslier guessing the right way, Luis Dias could have made it four but he went for glory when he could have set up Salah for his hatrick, the half ended 3-0 with fears for more, knowing Leeds for their defensive weaknesses.
The second half took long to pick up in terms of goals, Marcelo Bielsa rang changes at halftime and that seemed to have worked but all didn’t click in the end as Mane struck twice before Virgil Van Dijk headed home the sixth in stoppage time.
Liverpool go into the Carabao Cup final on Sunday against Chelsea in high spirits after the demolition of Leeds, helping their title charge as well.
"I think for people outside it is better to have three or six-point gap than to have a 20 or 30-point gap, so it is more exciting," Klopp told the BBC. "But we have to win a lot of the games against all the difficult opponents and that will be a tricky task. We will give it a try."