Liverpool waited all season for an opportunity to pounce on Manchester City, and finally afforded the chance, the Reds did so in a thunderous manner as they clobbered Leeds United 3-0 at Anfield.
It was a comprehensive performance from start to finish, punctuated by a pair of penalties from Premier League leading scorer Mohamed Salah, who moved his tally to 19 on the season. Joel Matip contributed the third of Liverpool’s riotous first half, assisted by none other than the aforementioned Egyptian, and Sadio Mane capped it off 10 minutes from time.
With a six-point margin between the clubs at the top of the table coming into the match, Liverpool had a chance to cut that lead in half and move to within a single game of Man City. They did more than just collect three points, issuing a rousing statement to the defending champions and league leaders. The six goals gained are important as well, pushing Liverpool to +50 goal differential, which is four more than Man City’s +46.
Leeds, despite a bright start to the match, collapsed in calamitous fashion once the first goal went in. It was “better” in the second half, somewhat, but Liverpool was also far more comfortable at that time, and there was never a doubt through the entire 90 minutes which side was in the ascendency.
Marcelo Balsa’s side is winless in its last five matches, remaining 15th in the table, a nervy five points above the drop zone. It’s not time for General Quarters at Leeds just yet, but there is surely a nervous feeling around Elland Road, having conceded a catastrophic 39 goals in 11 Premier League matches since its last clean sheet. Questions will absolutely be asked about the Argentine’s fitness to continue leading Leeds, despite his fan-favorite standing at the club.
Sporting News will be following the match live and providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
Liverpool vs. Leeds live score
15th minute — LIV — Mohamed Salah (pen)
31st minute — LIV — Joel Matip
35th minute — LIV — Mohamed Salah (pen)
81st minute — LIV — Sadio Mane
90th minute — LIV — Sadio Mane
93rd minute — LIV — Virgil van Dijk
(All times Eastern)
FULL-TIME: Liverpool 6-0 Leeds United
Class from Liverpool, calamity from Leeds. The title race is on for the hosts in style, while the relegation battle is on for the visitors.
The gulf in talent between the two sides was never in doubt. Mo Salah grabs two more goals to give him now 19 on the Premier League season, most in the English top flight. Jurgen Klopp has this team firing on all cylinders. Man City better not slip agian.
— The Sack Race (@thesackrace) February 23, 2022
90+3 minute: GOAL! 6-0 Liverpool. You feel for Leeds at this point. A corner swung in to the top of the six-yard box and Virgil van Dijk is in his own zip code. He can’t miss, and he doesn’t.
Marcelo Bielsa is a beloved figure at Leeds, but something is very rotten about this side. They have conceded 5, 4, 3, and 3 in the last four Premier League matches. Add that to the 7-0 bludgeoning by Man City and 4-1 loss to Arsenal, and the results are as putrid as it comes.
The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Is it time for Bielsa to go? ?
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) February 23, 2022
90th minute: GOAL! 5-0 Liverpool! It has reached the comical stage for Leeds. Divock Origi is fed through, and Meslier comes out strongly to tackle, but the ball falls to Sadio Mane on the doorstep for his second of the half.
87th minute: James Milner has a whack from the top of the box but it’s blocked by a good slide from a Leeds defender. Leeds barely with a touch on the ball outside its own defensive third over the last 10 minutes.
⚽ Most Premier League goals conceded this season:
54 – LEEDS
53 – Norwich
47 – Watford
Including tonight, Leeds have conceded 3+ goals in each of their last 4 PL games pic.twitter.com/kcnlXuQmQg
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 23, 2022
81st minute: GOAL! 4-0 Liverpool! Mo Salah may be on the hat-trick hunt, but he knows he has teammates too. He sends Jordan Henderson through who crosses to Sadio Mane on the doorstep for the easy finish. A rousing Reds result.
77th minute: Now it’s Curtis Jones withdrawn for the immortal James Milner, who comes on with a feisty host of instructions for his teammates.
72nd minute: Mo Salah is positioned quite centrally, knowing he doesn’t have much longer to complete his hat-trick. Whether he gets it or not, he has already collected an African record in this match.
— KingFut.com (@King_Fut) February 23, 2022
Meslier saves low on a good rip by Jones from a tight angle, a tough spot to be shooting from.
70th minute: Chance, Leeds! Don’t tell the visitors the game is over just yet. Junior Firpo crosses low for Stuart Dallas near the spot, but he horribly scuffs his left-footed effort weak and wide. It’s a defender’s effort.
Klopp starting to get a little bit agitated on the touchline. #LFC just need to make sure they don’t allow Leeds any kind of hope of a comeback because they’ll certainly go for it if they do.
— Ian Doyle (@IanDoyleSport) February 23, 2022
The recent passage casts Liverpool’s German boss a frustrated figure despite the lead.
68th minute: Anfield gives Thiago a rousing applause as he’s the man to come off for Hendo. 50/54 passing for the Spaniard, including 4/6 long balls, and 5/6 tackling. A fantastic performance.
Henderson replaces Thiago as the Spaniard departs to a standing ovation from the Anfield crowd. pic.twitter.com/G6Wi8NGSdq
— Keifer MacDonald (@KeiferMacd) February 23, 2022
65th minute: Liverpool has a few turnovers in midfield, one of which breaks for a Leeds chance that Raphinha wastes with a bad vertical delivery, and Klopp signals to his bench. It’ll be Jordan Henderson to come on, maybe for Jones who was guilty on the latest Leeds push.
Raphinha then stings Alisson’s palms but it’s no trouble for the Brazilian.
59th minute: Chance, Liverpool! Salah continues to search for his hat-trick, but a curler from the top corner of the box is stopped by Meslier. Moments later he clearly should have bagged the hat-trick, but puts a wide-open chance high on a great feed by Curtis Jones.
Leeds brings on 19-year-old Joe Gelhardt for Dan James.
56th minute: If Liverpool wasn’t already on top, it is now. Snuffing the game out and lulling the opponent to sleep before pouncing. Luis Diaz is making Anfield his playground, and Thiago picks out Sadio Mane who fires wide. Leeds has offered zero danger since what feels like the 25th minute.
Luis Diaz pulling out a few tricks and no look passes now.
He’s becoming a favourite because he’s so good to watch and has settled in well.
He’s also prepared to graft and fight for everything! What a signing.
— The Redmen TV (@TheRedmenTV) February 23, 2022
48th minute: Virgil van Dijk is beat by Raphinha but somehow tracks back to make a critical tackle with the Brazilian in on a two-on-one. Excellent recovery speed.
46th minute: Back under way for the second half. Marcelo Bielsa knows he has to make some kind of change, and it comes in a pair of substitutions, bringing Jamie Shackleton and Tyler Roberts on for Mateusz Klich and Rodrigo.
HALFTIME: Liverpool 3-0 Leeds United
It’s been all Reds all the time in an emphatic title race statement. Leeds had a few moments to hang onto, but otherwise Liverpool carved Bielsa’s defense to pieces. The Leeds defenders just aren’t good enough to cover for the Bielsa press.
A scintillating 45 minutes from the Reds, no other way to slice it.
— The Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) February 23, 2022
Pressure on #LFC to keep the pressure on City tonight. Decent way to respond. Dominant & might’ve been more. Salah typically ruthless. Magical Matip finally doing what he’s threatened to all season. More please Reds. #LIVLEE #YNWA
— Rob Greenwood (@robgreenwood1) February 23, 2022
Should be 7-0, but I’ll take 3… #LIVLEE
— Sam Quek (@SamanthaQuek) February 23, 2022
45+2 minute: Chance, Liverpool! The Reds are toying with Leeds now. Alexander-Arnold from deep feeds Salah clean through on goal, and he tries to chip the goalkeeper but cleared off the line by two defenders racing back.
41st minute: Chance, Liverpool! Liverpool has slowed things down, and Leeds risks being snuffed out after going down early and often.
The Reds, having successfully lulled Leeds to sleep, nearly bag a fourth on a free-kick but Fabinho somehow sends it high and wide. He should have scored.
35th minute: GOAL! 3-0 Liverpool! After a soft slotted penalty last time from Salah, he slams this one into the top corner, leaving Meslier absolutely no chance. A thunderous penalty, and Liverpool is running riot.
3-0. Salah again from the spot. Not really a true reflection of the game but that’s the risky game Leeds play
— Kieran Canning (@KieranCanning) February 23, 2022
— David Maddock (@MaddockMirror) February 23, 2022
33rd minute: PENALTY, Liverpool! Leeds is crumbling to pieces. Sadio Mane is free on goal, and he’s bundled over by Ayling. No double jeopardy, so it’s just yellow for Ayling, but Liverpool has another chance from the spot. Michael Oliver didn’t hesitate with the decision, but it’s gone to VAR for a check. Replay shows the contact was softer than it looked live, but this has to be a penalty. Mane felt the contact from behind while trying to round the keeper, and went to ground. VAR confirms penalty.
On review, the double jeopardy rule only applies on a “genuine attempt to play the ball” which is certainly questionable here, as Ayling more clips the back of Mane’s boot than anything else. Still, Michael Oliver and the VAR both clear any further punishment.
Premier League Match Centre have released the information that ‘there was a genuine attempt to play the ball’ – contentious.. #LIVLEE
— Chris Williams (@Chris78Williams) February 23, 2022
31st minute: GOAL! 2-0 Liverpool! This game is all over the place, and you can’t get in a shootout with Liverpool. A perfectly weighted pass from Mohamed Salah finds center-back Joel Matip who marauds forward, and the Leeds defense doesn’t track him. Matip with a striker’s finish to double Liverpool’s lead. Story of the season for Leeds who again started to build back into a track meet of a match.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 23, 2022
Really pleased for Matip, his forward play this season absolutely deserves that, what a finish as well by the way. #LIVLEE
— Chris Williams (@Chris78Williams) February 23, 2022
29th minute: Chance, Liverpool! Oh this is end-to-end stuff! Luis Diaz with another run down the left, and he pulls it back for
27th minute: Chance, Leeds! On a vicious counter run by Rodrigo, Leeds has the ball in the back of the net but the flag is up. Raphinha is the one to put it away, but he’s definitely off, just a smidge too quick trying to hold the line on Harrison’s feed. Warning for Liverpool, Leeds can strike at any time no matter the run of play.
On cue, James runs free moments later but it’s snatched away by Alexander-Arnold at the last second.
23rd minute: Chance, Liverpool! Luis Diaz breaks through and heads on goal from a tight angle, and while he has help in the middle, he takes it himself, and Meslier makes a very good save down low with his left hand. Diaz’s pace saw him round Ayling with ease to create the chance. Leeds defense is leaky for a reason.
21st minute: Liverpool now looks the more likely side to score after the opener. It’s been a lackluster response from Leeds despite the bright early start. Goal seems to have pegged the visitors back. Mane ball for a streaking Robertson just too deep on another good Liverpool attack.
18th minute: Junior Firpo, the man in to replace Robin Koch, absolutely cleans out Fabinho on the touchline with a wild tackle that gets a rare emotion out of Martin Tyler. “Ohh!” says the stone-faced commentator as Firpo goes flying in. Blatant yellow card, which will be meaningful with Firpo to take on Mo Salah the rest of the way already on an early caution.
That challenge was so bad it actually got Martin Tyler to raise his voice during a Liverpool game.
— Mark Kastner (@mkstnr) February 23, 2022
15th minute: GOAL! 1-0 Liverpool! Who else but Mo Salah, who scores from the spot! He sends Meslier the wrong way for his 18th goal of the Premier League season!
? Mohamed Salah’s goal involvements in the league last season: 2⃣7⃣
?? Mohamed Salah’s goal involvements so far this season: 2⃣7⃣
? He’s already matched last season’s output.
— Betfair (@Betfair) February 23, 2022
14th minute: PENALTY to Liverpool! Liverpool builds well again down the left and a cross by Diaz clips the arm of Stuart Dallas who has no argument. Dallas lept to block the cross, and while he did his best to keep his arms in, his right arm T-Rex’d and was outstretched enough to catch the cross. An incredibly soft way for Leeds to give away a penalty — it’s definitely the right call, but for the visitors’ bright start, it’s now a one-goal deficit.
9th minute: The Leeds press is unsettling Liverpool. The Reds have already lost possession 20 times in 54 passes. Leeds has six completed tackles already in the match, to a big zero for Liverpool.
Diaz continues to produce, however, and rips another shot. He’s averaging 4 shots a game in his (very short) time with Liverpool, and has two already today.
Díaz looks like he’s going to have a massive shot volume. Similar to Salah’s. He’s always trying to cut inside & find half a yard of space to shoot. A bit Insigne-esque.
— Raj Chohan (@rajsinghchohan) February 23, 2022
6th minute: What the…heck just happened? Alisson is extremely lucky not to have either conceded a penalty or a wide-open goal. He takes a heavy touch on a nothing back-pass, and Daniel James pounces. Alisson’s challenge is heavy, but somehow clean and the danger is cleared by Joel Matip. What a weird moment.
4th minute: Turnovers galore for both sides, and this game has started exactly how the neutrals hoped. Liverpool has a chance as Diaz cuts inside from the left and shoots off-balance, but the shot — which replays show to be well-placed towards the far corner — is blocked.
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) February 23, 2022
1st min: KICKOFF! We are under way!
Liverpool gets us started as Anfield serenades the Reds. Sadio Mane is the one to start up front, not Luis Diaz.
2:40 p.m.: Kickoff is nearly here, and Leeds knows while the opposition presents a tall task, the Whites need points. Badly.
? “It’s a game that we need to try and get points in” pic.twitter.com/EkQhUQszNy
— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 23, 2022
2:20 p.m.: Liverpool media confirms no new injury for either Harvey Elliott or Joe Gomez, as both are coach’s decisions to leave out of the squad. Big chance for Curtis Jones ahead of both Elliott and Naby Keita.
1:48 p.m.: Lineups are in. Luis Diaz up front for Liverpool at striker with Firmino and Jota injured. Curtis Jones gets the start in midfield, with Harvey Elliott not appearing in the matchday squad.
For Leeds, Raphinha is back in the starting lineup, and Robin Koch is out as expected.
1:42 p.m.: Fans are just beginning to file in at Anfield with slightly over one hour until kickoff. There’s a slight drizzle as well. Lineups imminent.
— Neil Jones (@neiljonesgoal) February 23, 2022
1:29 p.m.: A callback to last year’s fixture between these two teams at Anfield, which was a blitz of a match, ending 4-3 on Mo Salah’s 88th minute winner. For the neutrals, let’s hope we get another barn burner of a game!
— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) February 23, 2022
1:02 p.m.: If Leeds is to shock Liverpool, it will need to do something no team has done yet in 58 attempts.
— talkSPORT EDGE (@talkSPORTEDGE) February 23, 2022
12:45 p.m.: Two dribble masters match up, with Raphinha and Mohamed Salah sitting fifth and sixth in most dribbles this season in Premier League play.
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 23, 2022
Liverpool vs. Leeds lineups
On the whole, Liverpool’s squad is healthy, a big boost to the midfield as Thiago returns to the starting lineup. The Spaniard has been scintillating when healthy, but his fitness has been an ever-present concern. He starts alongside Curtis Jones who is selected over the in-form Harvey Elliott. Elliott does not appear in the matchday squad, and neither does Joe Gomez.
The only two players potentially missing out for the Reds both play a similar position, leaving Liverpool short on central strikers. Roberto Firmino went down in the weekend win over Norwich City and will be out “for a while” according to manager Jurgen Klopp. Diogo Jota missed out on that Norwich game with an ankle injury picked up in the Champions League. The extent of the damage has not yet been revealed.
That leaves Divock Origi as the lone natural center-forward available to Jurgen Klopp. Origi made his first league appearance since early December coming off the bench against Norwich City, but instead Klopp sticks with Luis Diaz to start up front. The Colombian is deputizing through the middle despite his more natural abilities on the left wing.
Liverpool starting lineup (4-3-3): Alisson (GK) — Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold – Thiago, Fabinho, Jones – Mane, Diaz, Salah.
Liverpool subs (9): Kelleher, Konate, Milner, Keita, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Tsimikas, Origi.
Leeds and its medical staff received plenty of criticism for its handling of the Robin Koch head injury against Manchester United, and while Marcelo Bielsa insisted it was the cut that forced him off eventually and not concussion symptoms, Koch is now almost certainly out for Wednesday. Diego Llorente is struggling with a hamstring injury, so Bielsa selects Junior Firpo over Jamie Shackelton, with Luke Ayling moving over to central defense.
Raphinha will likely be recalled to the front line after his substitute appearance against Manchester United.
Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford, Sam Greenwood, and Liam Cooper are all long-term absentees, their injuries having a major impact on Leeds’ spotty season.
Leeds starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Meslier (GK)— Firpo, Ayling, Struijk, Dallas — Klich, Forshaw — Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison — James
Leeds subs (9): Klaesson, Cresswell, Shackleton, Bate, McCarron, Kenneh, Summerville, Gelhardt, Roberts.
How to watch Liverpool vs. Leeds
- Date: Wednesday, Feb. 23
- Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
- USA TV Channel: — None —
- USA Streaming: Peacock (subscription required)
- Canada streaming: DAZN
USA: Wednesday’s match between Liverpool and Leeds United match is exclusively available on NBC streaming platform Peacock.
Canada: The Premier League in Canada is available exclusively live and on demand via DAZN.
Liverpool-Leeds betting lines, picks & prediction
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
Liverpool is healthy and despite the absence of Diogo Jota will have plenty of firepower to wear Leeds down. Thiago is an expert against the press, and his availability will be a critical factor in the match.
Still, Klopp will be wary of how Leeds can pounce, as Manchester United found out over the weekend, and Liverpool’s midfield has known to make mistakes every now and then. Liverpool is unbeaten in the last 11 matches against Leeds across all competitions dating back to 2001, but the underdogs have found the back of the net in six of them.
The odds heavily favor Liverpool, so openings must be found elsewhere. Backing both teams to score at -115 isn’t a bad pick, with surprisingly good odds for a match in which each side can be expected to find the back of the net. Despite its four-match losing streak, Leeds managed over 1.0 expected goals (xG) in three of those games, with the attack only slumping big against Everton. In fact, Leeds has over 1.0 xG in nine of its last 11 league games.
There’s also value to be found in Luis Diaz finding the back of the net. Albeit a small sample size, the Colombian has averaged four shots in his first two Liverpool league games, with an excellent 0.12 xG per shot. Likely to be chosen for a center-forward role with Jota out, this is a great spot for Diaz against a leaky defense.
Picks: Both teams to score (-115), Luis Diaz anytime goalscorer (+130)
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Leeds United
- Moneyline: Liverpool -575 / Draw +750 / Leeds +1400
- Spread: Liverpool -2.5 (+120) / Leeds +2.5 (-135)
- O/U 3.5 total goals: Over -130 / Under +110
- Both teams to score: Yes -115 / No -110