28 mins: And the corner drops to an unmarked Van Dijk, whose header is poor and deflects wide.
26 mins: Mane misses an open goal from five yards! Jota gets in down the right this time – Firpo is not having a fun afternoon – and from the byline pulls back a crucial yard behind Mane, who has to stretch, should surely still score, but scoops it into the air rather than the net.
25 mins: Liverpool have a goal disallowed. Salah is played through on the right, checks onto his left foot and lifts a beautiful cross to the far post, where Thiago heads in. Salah, though, was offside, and his beautiful cross was for nothing.
23 mins: Fabinho’s long, lofted and slightly overhit pass to Salah gives the Egyptian almost no chance of getting ahead of Firpo and keeping it on the pitch. He does both, another indication that generally seems to be in the mood today.
GOAL! Leeds 0-1 Liverpool (Salah, 20 mins)
Liverpool make the breakthrough, and the creative genius behind it is Joel Matip. He brings the ball from the defence through to the edge of the area, exchanges passes with Salah, puzzlingly turns down an obvious opportunity to play the Egyptian in and gives it instead to Alexander-Arnold, whose low cross is turned in by Salah at the near post!
18 mins: Alan Terlep has done some maths, regarding the fun fact in my preamble. “The odds that Leeds would play these six games in a row against teams with names in the second half of the alphabet are about 400 to 1,” he calculates, “but the odds that at least one team this year would pay 6 games in a row against those opponents is 89%.”
16 mins: It’s now 1-1 in bookings, after Fabinho is punished for tripping Raphinha.
15 mins: A lovely chipped pass from Salah to Jota, inside the area, who chests it down and volleys too close to Meslier.
13 mins: Where Leeds do manage to keep the ball, or win it high up the pitch, there is potential there for them. Phillips’ pass is only just too strong for Bamford, who would have been clean through.
12 mins: Cooper is booked for holding back Mane. The game is starting to coalesce into some kind of pattern now, and it involves Liverpool winning the ball back quickly and moving the ball to their attackers just as rapidly. What they haven’t yet done is get into the penalty area.
10 mins: Mane’s shot deflects wide after Harrison’s pass is intercepted.
7 mins: Alexander-Arnold sends a glorious cross skidding across the penalty area, but just too far ahead of Jota.
5 mins: Chance! And saved! Salah runs down the right, cuts inside Phillips and dives over his leg. The referee waves play on and Leeds hoist a long pass to Raphinha on the right, who runs into the box and passes infield to an untracked Rodrigo. It’s an excellent opportunity from just inside the area, but he lashes his shot at Alisson.
4 mins: A chance for Bamford, who was probably offside but is allowed to run onto the ball and slice a shot wide anyway.
3 mins: Leeds kicked off, and have had most of the ball since then, but the game has been played at hirdy-girdy speed and it’s all a bit chaotic.
The players come out, with Elland Road sounding in good voice this afternoon.
I thought Liverpool’s trainingwear reminded me of something I’ve previously seen someone wear …
… and then I realised what it was:
So Leeds will revert to a back four, with Junior Firpo slotting in at left-back and Pascal Struijk dropping to the bench in their only change. Liverpool are without Roberto Firmino as expected, with Jota taking his place in the front three, and bring Thiago in for Jordan Henderson.
Team news is in, and here are the key names today:
There is only one Premier League game today, a throwback to those days when televised matches were actually unusual. And it should be a good one, with Leeds becoming increasingly desperate to bank their first win of the season, Liverpool determined to prove themselves title contenders once again, and neither of these sides known for goalless draws (both teams’ last domestic stalemate, fact fans, was against Manchester United, and they haven’t drawn 0-0 against each other this century). The omens are good for both sides – Leeds haven’t lost at home in the league since February; Liverpool haven’t lost away in the league since two weeks earlier in February – which makes the omens pretty useless for match predicting purposes. Anyway, clearly something’s got to give here – unless this match, like these teams’ meeting at Elland Road in April, ends in a draw, in which case nothing will have given. I hope that’s clear for you.
Only read beyond this point if you are seated and of strong disposition. What follows could leave you so astonished you lose balance or even, briefly, consciousness, so proceed with caution. The Guardian will not be held accountable for the feelings of intense excitement or, indeed, disappointment the next two sentences might have.
****END OF WARNING****
Fun fact: But really, are you absolutely sure you should be doing this? You wouldn’t want to hurt yourself, after all. There will be no further warnings, and you will only have yourself to blame.
Actual fun fact: Only seven teams in the Premier League have names that start with a letter in the second half of the alphabet. Leeds play them all in their next eight games, and after today play six of them in a row. What are the odds?
Anyway, hello! Here’s a thing about Jurgen Klopp saying stuff about stuff: