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Leeds United 0-3 Liverpool: Salah joins 100 club but Reds win marred by horror Elliott injury

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Mohamed Salah scored his 100th Premier League goal as Liverpool cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win at Leeds United on Sunday, but the victory was marred by a horrific injury suffered by Reds talent Harvey Elliott.

Leeds were already trailing by two goals when Pascal Struijk was dismissed for his – seemingly accidental – role in Elliott’s second-half injury, which required several minutes of medical attention and for a stretcher to carry him away.

The 18-year-old, who has slotted seamlessly into the Liverpool team this season following a bright loan spell at Blackburn Rovers, was left clutching his left shin after what initially appeared an innocuous collision and Struijk was sent off.

It put a dampener on an otherwise fine day for Liverpool, who had opened the scoring through Salah’s milestone goal in England’s top flight and effectively sealed the win early in the second period through Fabinho, before Sadio Mane’s late third at a subdued Elland Road.

Leeds had been the first to threaten, but Rodrigo Moreno blasted straight at Alisson when teed up on the edge of the box five minutes in.

The Reds swiftly established control after that and deserved their 20th-minute breakthrough as Salah tucked in a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross – the right-back subsequently turned to Leeds fans and cupped his ear less than a minute after chants suggested he was just a poor man’s Kyle Walker.

Leeds were fortunate to not concede more as Elliott had two good efforts blocked in quick succession, an off-balance Mane smashed over from close range and Virgil van Dijk made a mess of a free header.

An inevitable second did arrive shortly after the break, however. A Van Dijk header was blocked to Fabinho and, although his initial effort hit a defender, he hammered home on the rebound.

But the match was soured just before the hour. Struijk appeared to hook the ball away as Elliott tried to spring a counter, but the teenager’s leg was trapped awkwardly beneath them – the nearby Salah desperately ushered medical professionals on before the referee could even stop play and he quickly turned away in shock having seemingly seen the damage caused.

The incident led to a forgivable lull in proceedings but Liverpool eventually secured a scoreline befitting their dominance as Mane rifled home late on to round off a straightforward – if overshadowed – win.

What does it mean? Reds comfortable against characteristically uncomfortable opponents

It has not been a great start to the season for Leeds. This is now the first time they have failed to win any of their first four matches to a top-flight season since 1958-59.

But even taking that into consideration, this is a decent Leeds team and Elland Road is a hostile place to go – Liverpool dealt with the situation with impressive ease.

Well before Struijk’s red card, the visitors looked in no danger of dropping points – their 4.0 expected goals (xG) suggesting they should have won even more commandingly.

Mane gets his reward for persistence

The Senegal forward had 10 shots here, making it the first instance of a player reaching double figures for goal attempts in a single Premier League game since Riyad Mahrez in December 2019.

For a long time it looked as though he would leave Elland Road frustrated, his first nine efforts worth an accumulative xG value of 1.28 – none of them finding the net. But he finally found the mark in stoppage time, a well-earned reward for his continued efforts.

Moreno struggles indicative of Leeds woes

In the first half, Leeds’ issues seemed to stem from their midfield’s inability to stifle the control Liverpool had. Moreno stuck out for his ineffectiveness, with that one early shot – which he arguably should have buried – about all he offered.

Granted, he might say he is not a central midfielder, but Marcelo Bielsa would reasonably expect more from him – the former Valencia man was involved in just three duels in his 45 minutes on the pitch and did not attempt a single tackle. You could probably overlook that if he was a great attacking threat, but he only laid on one key pass.

Key Opta Facts

– Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 11 meetings with Leeds in all competitions (W8 D3) since a 2-1 home loss in April 2001.
– Since the start of last season, Liverpool have scored more Premier League goals from corners than any other side (13), while Leeds have conceded the most in this fashion in that time (also 13).
– Liverpool had 30 shots in this match, taking their tally to 100 for the season – at least 16 more than any other Premier League side.
– Salah became the 30th different player to score 100 Premier League goals, with only four players reaching the milestone in fewer appearances than the Egyptian (162 games).
– Fabinho scored just his fourth Premier League goal, and first away from Anfield. His strike today was his first in 39 league appearances, since netting against Crystal Palace in June 2020.

What’s next?

Liverpool are in Champions League action on Wednesday as they host Milan, before then welcoming Crystal Palace to Anfield three days later. Leeds go to Newcastle United on Friday.

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