Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips says that his side had to refocus after becoming “starstruck” by Liverpool at Anfield.
The Whites faced arguably the toughest of tasks to begin their first season back in the Premier League since 2004. Jurgen Klopp’s reigning champions awaited on Merseyside, fresh from racking up 99 points in 2019/20. However, Leeds ran the Reds close, losing 4-3 in the end after a thriller.
Mohamed Salah began the season in style by netting a hat-trick, including the opener.
Nevertheless, Leeds hit back at 2-2 thanks to Jack Harrison and Patrick Bamford’s strikes, after Virgil van Dijk’s goal.
It was then 3-3 after Salah’s second and Mateusz Klich’s reply, but Salah had the last laugh with a second penalty.
Speaking to GQ, Phillips revealed how Leeds reacted in the opening moments of the clash with the now-deposed champions.
“For the first ten minutes, we were starstruck by the players we were playing against,” the England international said.
“But after that, we knuckled down and tried to get a result.
“Players such as Mo Salah, Marcus Rashford – if you go and you have a good game, they recognise you.”
Liverpool continued on a fairly solid trajectory until Christmas, when they sat top. However, they then endured a miserable run of form and dropped to eighth after six successive Anfield defeats.
Leeds, meanwhile, enjoyed a steady season right the way through and finished ninth with the most points of any newly-promoted team in Premier League history.
Liverpool managed a fantastic run of eight wins and two draws to end up finishing the season in third, above Chelsea and Leicester.
Both clubs are now looking to add new signings to their ranks ahead of next season; Klopp’s men have already added one new recruit in RB Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate.
Pundit confident over Leeds star
Last summer’s signing Raphinha has proved a big factor in Leeds’ strong season.
The Brazilian scored six goals and assisted nine others, forming a deadly link-up with Bamford.
Reports have loosely linked the winger with a big move away this summer, but one pundit says that he is confident of him staying.