YEP Leeds United jury: Kalvin Phillips gives fans something positive to hold on to after defeat to Liverpool

It’s fair to say that, other than the performance of Kalvin Phillips in Leeds United’s midfield against Liverpool, The Yorkshire Evening Post fans’ panel was not overly impressed with the team’s display against the Reds.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 6:00 am
Plus point: Kalvin Phillips was a positive driver for Leeds United in defeat to Liverpool at Elland Road on Sunday. Picture: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia.

All agree that Liverpool were deserved winners and that the visitors could have left Elland Road with many more goals and few would have batted an eyelid.

No one is pressing the panic button ... yet. But the upcoming game against Newcastle of Friday could give a better benchmark of where exactly Leeds United ‘are at’ this season.


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Leeds United are still to see the best from Rodrigo. Picture: Tony Johnson/JPIMedia.

Liverpool brushed Leeds aside with a 3-0 win at Elland Road.

The Merseysiders were better than Leeds in every aspect of the game and, to be honest, double the scoreline wouldn’t have flattered them. Marcelo Bielsa made two changes from the game at Burnley, Junior Firpo and Liam Cooper replacing Stuart Dallas who moved into midfield and Pascal Struijk was dropped to the bench alongside new signing Dan James.

Liverpool, as I’ve said, could have won the contest by the break. Mane and Mo Salah gave Luke Ayling and Junior Firpo a torrid afternoon. For the record, Salah scored his 100th Premier League goal to give them a 1-0 half-time lead. The best Leeds could offer was an early chance for Rodrigo but he shot straight at Alisson.

The second half at least brought a bit of fight into the game from Leeds; Alisson had to be on his best to keep out a spectacular lob by Patrick Bamford. Liverpool, however, had already added a second in the early minutes of the second period through Flamino.

Pascal Struijk was sent off for a challenge on Harvey Elliott who was carried off on a stretcher.

Mane rubbed salt in the would with a late third goal.

With no win from four games, it’s not the time to panic but, for certain, Leeds aren’t hitting the heights of last season.

A win at Newcastle on Friday would settle a few nerves, mine included.

Man of the match: No one in white really stood out to be honest but at least Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips put some effort in.


Effort: 9/10. Execution: Somewhat less.

It was one of those days when nothing went right. Junior Firpo backed away from Mo Salah and allowed him to score the first. The rest of Firpo’s performance was a big improvement on what we have seen so far. Patrick Bamford returned from his England duties to put in a good performance, positionally. He was unlucky when his block let Fabinho in to scoop home Liverpool’s second goal. The big striker was even more unlucky when, having stolen the ball on the halfway line, he almost lobbed the retreating Alisson, who managed to make a fingertip save.

Pascal Struijk probably considered himself to be unlucky by not making the starting line up but worse was to come for him also. He was sent off for a bone crunching tackle on Harvey Elliott who appeared to be injured badly as a result of the challenge.

Liam Cooper was not even cautioned for an almost-identical challenge on Mane but such is life. Mane finally made it 3-0 to compound United’s misery.

Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips.


a result like that was always on the cards; Liverpool are just a class above and very difficult to stop when they play like that.

Goals from Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and Sadio Mane eased the visitors to a deserved three points whilst Leeds did okay without really troubling the Reds’ back line. Matters weren’t helped by the harsh sending off of Pascal Struijk midway through the second half, although the game was probably already lost by then. Our best wishes go to Harvey Elliott whose ankle appeared to dislocate as a result of the tackle.

Who knows which way the game would have gone if Rodrigo had put away his golden chance only five minutes in with the score goalless. The start to the campaign has got off unusually slowly in comparison to other seasons under Marcelo Bielsa, so could we really be suffering from the dreaded Premier League ‘second season syndrome’?

I think it is only fair to say after playing the teams who will be scrapping at the bottom end of the table, starting with Newcastle on Friday.

Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips.


Unless Leeds were at the peak of their game, this game always had the potential to be a problem.

Liverpool barely put a foot wrong and, when that happens, even the very best sides would struggle. If Rodrigo had put away his early chance it could have been a very different score line. Instead, Mo Salah punished United with his quality and, from then on, it was a big ask. At times, Leeds didn’t help themselves. There were far too many loose passes into midfield which were mopped up by the Reds. Without Kalvin Phillips, the score would have been much worse.

Patrick Bamford was having joy with searching passes played over Virgil van Dijk, but clear-cut opportunities were few and far between.

Liverpool’s quality and relentlessness ultimately undid Leeds and, while there were some positive signs for the Whites, there wasn’t enough.

After a tricky opening set of fixtures, Leeds now step into a more favourable run of games. The points will soon begin to flow.

Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips.


Well, not a lot we can say about that one is there? Sometimes you just have to hold up your hands and admit the opposition was better.

Liverpool were good, very good at times, and the gulf between teams like ourselves and the established ‘big six’ is clearly huge on this evidence. I have to say, I still think we are better than this but, as we’ve seen in every game so far this season, our top players, for whatever reason, do not appear to be at the levels we got used to last season, with the one notable exception that, for me, Kalvin Phillips was the best player on the pitch.

Going down to 10 didn’t help of course but even the most ardent Leeds fan would probably admit we were unlikely to get back in the game at two down. The one caveat is that we did have chances and, had we taken one or two of them, or had that audacious Patrick Bamford effort gone in, it might have been different.

As it is, the trip to Newcastle looks even more important to get this season of ours back on track.

Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips.