Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch has detailed how his team picked up an impressive victory at Liverpool, with a large part of the win down to ‘strong’ goalkeeper Illan Meslier.
The Frenchman pulled off several top saves to keep out the likes of Darwin Nunez, Roberto Firmino and Andy Robertson. Arguably his best stop came in the 67th minute, when he raced off his line to thwart Nunez after the striker had been sent through on goal by Mo Salah.
The score was 1-1 at that point. Leeds had taken an early lead when Rodrigo capitalised on a Joe Gomez error to score in just the fourth minute. Salah pegged Leeds back soon afterwards, but Marsch’s side showed plenty of grit and determination to pick up a famous win.
Crysensio Summerville, in just his second Premier League start, received the ball in the box in the final two minutes of normal time. He got past two Liverpool defenders before finishing into the far corner, sending the travelling Leeds fans wild.
The 2-1 win lifts Leeds out of the relegation zone. They are now on 12 points from 12 matches.
During a post-match interview with Sky Sports (via BBC Sport), Marsch explained the tactics and team togetherness which helped Leeds to the result. “It was a good performance, again,” he said. “It was good that we were able to reward ourselves.
“My feeling is that we shouldn’t be in the situation we’re in, but we are. I’ve tried to stay calm, but I’ve also tried to push. The players have stepped up big today, that’s the reason we were able to get the win.
“You can go through the last eight games and we weren’t second best a lot of the times. We talked about staying strong and finding ways to make plays. It’s a tough place to come and the three points is big for us.
Jesse Marsch wanted more first-half goals
“With our principles, pressing, counter-pressing, ability against the ball and in transition… In the first half we could have had more goals. It felt like we were going to go into half-time at 1-1 which seemed unjust.
“We switched Crysencio Summerville and Jack Harrison to try and swap their roles a little bit. Patrick Bamford came in and helped. Wilfried Gnonto came in and helped. I thought all the substitutes did a good job.
“I was focused on us staying disciplined within the match. I’ve believed in this group. We shouldn’t be in this situation if you look at the metrics, but we are. Now we’ve got something like this and now we have to stay strong.
“We’re still in the process of trying to build something that’s new. In our good moments we’re really good, in our bad moments we look too vulnerable and naïve.
“Everybody’s made a big deal about firing me, but the board and I have been unified and we’ve stuck together.”
When asked about young winger Summerville, Marsch said: “We’re working with him on his discipline and his understanding of what being a professional footballer means. I like young players. I’m really happy but we have to make sure he realises this is just the beginning.”
On man of the match Meslier, the American coach added: “Illan was really good. He looked stable, he looked strong. We needed big performances from all 11 guys in all moments.”
Leeds ‘came with a plan’, says Illan Meslier
In a separate post-match interview, Leeds hero Meslier said: “I’m here since the beginning. I’m very proud to make the step, to keep working and to have a great game today at Anfield. I’m pleased we can bring the three points to Leeds.
“Everyone said we had nothing to lose but we came with a plan. It’s very hard to play against this team, but our counter-attack was very good.”
When asked about Summerville’s goal, Meslier continued: “We never know with the VAR. I just stayed focused on the game, but I’ll try to enjoy it with him now.”
On his own performance, the shot-stopper added: “It’s a fantastic sensation to help the team, then when you score at the end you say, ‘yes!’ It’s perfect for us.”
Crysencio Summerville delighted by ‘dream’ coming true
Match-winner Summerville said: “It’s a huge moment for me and my family. Scoring at Anfield is a big moment for me. It went so quick.
“When you’re in the box you have to think quickly. It just happened.
“As a young kid I played for Feyenoord. I always dreamed of playing in the Premier League, but scoring the winner at Anfield is a dream for every player.
“My family are in Holland but I’ll visit them tomorrow. My birthday [on Sunday] is going to be special!”