Leeds United boardroom trio's television frustration, bizarre VAR and off-camera Liverpool moments
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The Whites once again suffered the indignity of walking around a less-than-full Elland Road at the final whistle, with thousands of supporters streaming out long before referee Craig Pawson brought things to a close.
Here is the YEP take on how the night panned out and what you might have missed as Leeds fell to such a brutal defeat.
Illan Meslier – the Leeds United goalkeeper is facing too many shots from players in space or great positions but his contribution has to come under scrutiny too when efforts fly in from narrow angles or from distance.
Rasmus Kristensen – finally restored to the starting XI only to suffer a torrid evening. His passing inaccuracy was an issue even while Leeds were defending solidly but the big problems for the right-back came later and they were insurmountable. He was far from alone, of course, because Robin Koch, Pascal Struijk and Junior Firpo struggled just as much, but Kristensen will have been desperate to impress having been given a chance after a long spell out of favour in his preferred position.
Javi Gracia – the plan to sit in, stay compact and frustrate Liverpool worked up to a point, although perhaps granting such a good team so much territory and possession was always going to be risky. Once the first goal went in, however, Leeds looked vulnerable. In the second half they looked lost and shapeless, bending and breaking as Liverpool steamed forward. Picking them up from consecutive routs will be a mammoth task.
VAR – It doesn’t matter who was in Stockley Park, what matters is that with the benefit of slow motion replays you just have to get easy ones right. Trent Alexander-Arnold made a movement towards the ball with his arm and played the ball. That’s as clear and obvious an error as you can hope to find. So why wasn’t it disallowed? The outcome might not have changed and Leeds don’t get to hide behind it, but it felt big at the time.
The directors – When the cameras panned to Andrea Radrizzani, Victor Orta and Angus Kinnear late in the second half, and they noticed, the body language said it all. A painful, frustrating night, an obvious annoyance at being targeted for broadcast at such a moment and a relegation battle once again piling on the pressure. Ultimately the buck stops at the top and the directors box is where eyes and fingers will inevitably turn when things go as wrong as they are right now.
The first goal. Once again, adversity proved too much for Leeds. In the same way that the first goal Palace scored seemed to have a disproportionate impact on the Whites’ mentality, Cody Gakpo hitting the net evidently felt like a hammer blow for Gracia’s men. What made it worse, of course, was that the goal should never have stood but if Leeds are to stay up then they have to cut out this worrying collapse trend.
Georginio Rutter roping Crysencio Summerville and Willy Gnonto in to wave up to his guest in the West Stand, before the trio began their messing-about-with-a-ball session, ahead of their proper warm-up.
Majority owner Andrea Radrizzani taking up his customary position outside the tunnel before the game, laughing and joking down by the touchline as the warm-ups got underway.
Rodrigo's sliding finish from a Luis Sinisterra cross in the warm-up earning the appreciation of Sinisterra himself and fans in the West Stand
Joel Robles and Thiago catching up on the Elland Road pitch as the two teams headed for the dressing room to make their final preparations.
Captain for the night Rodrigo attempting to start the handshakes before the Premier League anthem and being kept in position by grinning officials.
James Milner running down the touchline to a rapturous applause and subsequent chorus of ‘you’re Leeds and you know you are.’ The Liverpool veteran applauded the home support, as did Harvey Elliott as he emerged to warm-up, no doubt an expression of gratitude for the support he received in the immediate aftermath of his horror injury during a previous Elland Road visit.
Willy Gnonto’s thousand-yard stare as both Crysencio Summerville and Georginio Rutter were called back to the dugout from their three-man warm-up routine down by the corner flag during the second half. The Italian international didn’t get the call from the bench for another 11 minutes.
Brenden Aaronson’s apologetic hands-up gesture to supporters as he trudged around the pitch following the drubbing. Luke Ayling trying to gee players up as they came off the pitch. A shell-shocked Koch shrugging helplessly on his way off.