Leeds United flags
As the news broke yesterday that Liverpool were one of the ‘big six clubs’ who have signed up to a European super league, this has caused uproar amongst football fans all over the country. This is all about greed and money in a closed shop where no one can be relegated, and they still want their place in the Premier League. They have been moaning about too many fixtures already but want more games? Do not let them hold the power, if they want to go then let them, but they cannot come back. Football is about supporting your team through thick and thin, which goes for all the little clubs too. Having already devalued the FA Cup which I hold dear, I still want the little clubs to have a chance to beat the big teams. I also want promotion, relegation, something to fight for and the passion that goes with that. As it is, they have stuck two fingers up to their fans who I feel sorry for, as they are the lifeblood of football teams and without fans football is nothing. Shame on you!
Before the game I was interviewed by Arman from Canal+, the French rights holders for the Premier League. Firstly, on why Leeds is seen as the most hated club in England and secondly how Leeds fans are perceived by other fans clubs and why? I am looking forward to sharing this on my website when available.
Team: Meslier, Ayling (captain), Harrison, Bamford, Struijk, Llorente, Phillips, Alioski, Dallas, Costa and Roberts. Subs: Poveda for Costa (67), Klich for Alioski (79) and Hernandez for Roberts (86). Subs not used: Casilla, Koch, Davis, Berardi, Gelhardt and Shackleton. Leeds drew the game 1-1 with Llorente scoring the Leeds goal (87). Attendance: Zero – behind closed doors. Referee: Anthony Taylor. Booked: Dallas and Alioski.
The Leeds team were wearing white t-shirts whilst warming up which said, “Football is for the fans”. As the game kicked off Orta was seen holding the same t-shirt up and there was also a big flag up in the Kop which said, “Earn it on the pitch. Football is for the fans”. I could not believe my ears later in the game when the commentators said this was inflammatory from Leeds. So, football is not for fans in their eyes? I will not say what my comments to them were!
As the game kicked off Liverpool were soon on the attack and through. Although I thought their player was offside, he lobbed it wide over Meslier and out for a goal kick. Meslier then was called upon to tip a long range shot over the crossbar to keep them out. Leeds were trying hard to get the better of Liverpool but were overwhelmed with numbers or just couldn’t get the final cross / ball in. Roberts made a good run to keep the ball in, but the final cross was too long. Harrison and Costa were both unlucky to lose the ball and the latter couldn’t get in a position to shoot. A great free kick saw Bamford put the ball wide, but the flag was already up for offside. Alioski made a great tackle in the penalty area after Llorente went down prior to that after he smacked his face when tackling the Liverpool player. Meslier then made another save when the ball came back into the penalty area.
Leeds were trying to play out from the back but kept getting into trouble which enabled Liverpool win a corner. A great cross from Alioski into their penalty area was put wide by their player. What a shame he didn’t do us a favour and put the ball into his own net. Bamford was put through but as he took an extra touch, the ball was cleared for a corner. Dallas then took one for the team and was booked for a foul. After some cool play from Meslier in the penalty area, Liverpool took the lead a minute later with half an hour gone, when we lost their man and they scored after a through ball.
I felt we needed to look at our formation as there was something missing that was just not working out for us. Alioski found himself booked after our attack broke down and he fouled their player. Just then, Harrison passed the ball in the penalty area instead of taking a first time shot to catch them out. We were guilty of trying to go one step further than needed every time. Ayling was brought down with his back leg and earned their player a booking. Llorente then made a bad decision which nearly presented them with a second goal but luckily for us they did not get it. Just before half time Roberts with our first real shot on target, saw it lack power and go straight to the keeper. As we went in at half time losing 1-0 there was still a chance for us to get something from the game.
As the game kicked off for the second half Meslier made an early save. Struijk was pulled out onto the wing challenging their player, then Llorente put us into trouble again as the ball ran perfectly for Liverpool. At that moment I felt we needed changes but was not sure who or how but if Bielsa felt the team could do it, I’d have to go with his judgement. It was nice then to see some good play from Llorente before a great cross from Alioski was put out for a corner. When VAR was brought in checking for hand ball, Mike Dean said it was not deliberate, so we didn’t get given a penalty, but I’d have taken it. My shout of put some pressure on them Leeds and they will wilt, were because there looked to be a bit of panic on their faces when defending. We were getting in some good positions, but the final ball was lacking. As Llorente got the ball away he was fouled winning Leeds a free kick; from that a dangerous cross was put in, but we would have been offside anyway. Poveda was brought on and he brought a bit of a spark into the team. After some great play from Roberts at the edge of the box, he passed the ball to Harrison only for their keeper to deny him a goal, as he saved with his legs.
Leeds and especially Roberts, were getting into the game more winning two corners before a poor pass from Ayling, saw Liverpool go on the attack. I lost patience with the commentators who were getting on my nerves as they were so far up Liverpool’s backsides. Bamford was so unlucky not to score when his shot came back off the crossbar before Roberts got in a good position to shoot but the keeper saved. Liverpool counterattacked with three against two and it was a relief to see Meslier get to the ball first at the other end. We could not get the ball to our players as Liverpool started to get back into the game. Klich was on in place of Alioski then Meslier found himself under pressure. Firstly, he sent a bad pass out that was picked up by Liverpool to win a corner. Meslier came for the ball then got back to his line tipping the ball over the crossbar for them to get another corner. Some good shielding from Phillips saw Leeds get the goal kick. It was lovely seeing Hernandez come onto the pitch to replace Roberts with five minutes remaining as Leeds went on to win a corner. Harrison put in an excellent corner just out of reach of Bamford and Struijk only to see Llorente in between three defenders, score from a header to equalise with three minutes of the game remaining. What a relief to see the ball go into the net, as it had been very tense because I was desperate for us to get something out of the game. The commentators were all over Leeds then, so two faced! Suddenly with four minutes of injury time on the clock, it looked like Liverpool were going to get a winner and we had Meslier to thank for the vital save. When Llorente went down after a challenge, replays showed their player stand on him with his studs, but it was deemed not deliberate. As the whistle blew for a 1-1 draw, I was happy to see us put up a hard fight and not lose. Well played lads and let’s upset the apple cart a bit more when we play that other red team from over the Pennines on Sunday. LUFC – Marching on Together!