OVERSHADOWED: Liverpool beat Leeds but suffer Elliott setback
Liverpool won 3-0 at Leeds to climb level on points with the Premier League’s top two, but the victory was overshadowed by a serious injury to Reds teenager Harvey Elliott.
Mohamed Salah turned home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s trademark low cross in a one-sided first half to score his 100th Premier League goal, as Fabinho struck five minutes into the second and Sadio Mane added a deserved late third to extend Liverpool’s unbeaten start.
Jurgen Klopp’s side cruised to their fifth straight league win on the road and are now undefeated in 14 league games in total stretching back to last season.
The home side played the final half an hour with 10 men after substitute Pascal Struijk was sent off for his challenge on Elliott, who received lengthy treatment before being carried off on a stretcher.
Elliott, 18, who had broken into the Liverpool starting eleven this season, posted a picture of himself with thumbs up on Instagram before full-time, writing: “Thank you for the messages guys! Road to recovery. YNWA.”
Leeds, roared on by an expectant full house, played their part in a pulsating encounter, but could have lost by a bigger margin as the visitors missed a hatful of chances.
A wall of noise from all quarters of the stadium made for a breathless start and Rodrigo fired a golden chance for Leeds straight at Alisson.
But Liverpool, unbeaten in their eight previous top-flight away games, were undeterred by an intimidating atmosphere and instead set about racking up the chances.
Salah was at the heart of everything and Leeds summer signing Junior Firpo will remember his second league start for Leeds for all the wrong reasons as the Egyptian led him a merry dance.
Alexander-Arnold fizzed a low ball in across the face of goal and Mane’s shot was deflected wide.
Liverpool began to pick Leeds apart and skipper Liam Cooper was booked for grappling Mane to the floor before Diogo Jota’s volley was well saved by Illan Meslier.
There was an air of inevitability when Salah side-footed Liverpool into a 19th-minute lead to become the fifth-fastest player to reach the landmark of 100 goals in his 162nd appearance.
Mane then dragged his low shot wide, Meslier saved again to keep out Elliott’s thumping effort and with Leeds all at sea, Virgil van Dijk was wayward with a free header.
Leeds, often excellent in possession, were not without their moments in the first half, but they lacked the presence of Salah or Mane in the final third, and their threat was were too fleeting.
Jack Harrison brilliantly set up Firpo, whose shot was blocked, and Luke Ayling could not keep Rodrigo’s deep cross on target.
Struijk, a 32nd-minute replacement for the injured Diego Llorente, somehow denied Salah a second with a last-gasp challenge soon after the interval.
But Liverpool doubled their lead in the 50th minute. Alexander-Arnold’s corner was headed goalward by Van Dijk and, after Leeds failed to clear, Fabinho shot through Ayling’s legs and beyond Meslier.
Leeds substitute Tyler Roberts headed straight at Alisson and then fired wide as the home side rallied, but all hopes of a fightback were extinguished by Struijk’s straight red card in the 60th minute.
Struijk and Elliott collided in a full-blooded challenge and the Liverpool midfielder was left in agony. He was treated at length on the pitch before being stretchered off.
Leeds’ new signing Daniel James replaced Harrison soon after for his club debut, but made little impact as Liverpool kept their foot on the throttle.
Another last-ditch tackle from Ayling denied Salah after Mane broke clear and the latter pulled another effort wide with the goal beckoning.
Bamford lifted the home fans with a brilliant 50-yard effort that had Alisson scrambling to push over.
But Leeds conceded a third when Mane turned on to Fabinho’s ball inside and drove home a low finish in the closing stages.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side, fourth from bottom, have failed to win any of their first four league games at the start of a season for the first time since 1958/9.
Watch the channel on TV