Late Llorente header denies Liverpool as plucky Leeds share Elland Road spoils

Date published: Monday 19th April 2021 9:58 - Neil Foster

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Sadio Mane’s first-half goal was cancelled out by Diego Llorente’s late header as Leeds and Liverpool drew 1-1 at Elland Road.

It seemed as though the Reds would return to the top four after Mane’s first-half effort. But Leeds never gave up and were rewarded for their efforts late on.

Liverpool started brightly and Roberto Firmino should have done better in just the third minute. He fluffed his lines from close range after being picked out by James Milner.

And three minutes later, Thiago forced a fingertip save from Illan Meslier with a swerving strike.

It was all Liverpool and Fabinho’s mazy run and blocked shot almost ended up as a chance for Mane. Leeds first real effort came via a free-kick but Patrick Bamford was flagged offside as he swept the ball wide of the post.

And the Whites striker then found himself through on goal on 23 minutes only for his touch to let him down. Alisson blocked the effort and Bamford knew he should have done better.

The visitors continued to boss the game and it seemed only a matter of time before they breached the Whites’ defence. The goal duly came on 31 minutes as Alexander-Arnold showed a superb turn of pace to beat Meslier to the ball.

His cross enabled Mane to complete a tap-in and end his longest run without a goal for Liverpool. As the half drew to a close, Alexander-Arnold was again in the thick of the action. The full-back’s ball across the box found Diogo Jota but Meslier made himself big to block the effort.

Leeds refuse to go away

The second half began in similar fashion, with Liverpool in the ascendancy. Firmino found space in the box and forced Meslier into a smart save three minutes after the interval.

On 51 minutes Milner’s cross was met by Mane and, despite making poor contact under pressure from the keeper, the ball trickled just wide of the upright.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side were constantly pinned in their own half as Liverpool pressed high up the pitch. But they did get a look at goal on 58 minutes after Ezgjan Alioski’s cross was tapped behind.

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The resulting corner fell to Tyler Roberts, whose poor shot found Luke Ayling only for Milner to make a timely intervention.

It seemed to spur the hosts into action and Leeds had a penalty appeal for handball turned down on the hour mark. Then on 67 minutes, Kalvin Phillips’ excellent cross was begging to be converted but Bamford and Ayling both failed to connect.

Two minutes later Harrison had his side’s best chance. After moving past Milner with ease, he forced Alisson into a superb save from close range.

Liverpool weathered the Leeds storm and Jurgen Klopp replaced Mane with Mohamed Salah on 71 minutes. But it was the home side who nearly scored as Bamford’s effort struck the bar.

On 77 minutes Roberts then wasted a golden opportunity after a mistake by Ozan Kabak. He was one-on-one with the keeper but, once again, Alisson saved his side.

As the half wore on, spaces opened up at both ends of the pitch. Meslier’s poor pass out from the back went straight to Salah but the Egypt star’s shot was deflected behind.

Leeds never gave up and were rewarded on 87 minutes. An inswinging corner by Harrison found the head of Llorente and the Spaniard did the rest from close range.

The home side looked the more likely to net a winner but it remained all square. Liverpool stay sixth while Leeds are tenth.

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