Jesse Marsch wanted Leeds to show they remained united and on the right path at Anfield. He got that, and so much more, as his struggling team condemned Liverpool to a first Premier League home defeat since March 2021 courtesy of Crysencio Summerville’s 89th-minute winner.
The under-pressure Leeds manager tasted a first victory since August and his club’s first against Liverpool in more than 21 years thanks to an inspired display from their goalkeeper, Illan Meslier, and a collective effort that richly deserved the release of a precious win. Jürgen Klopp’s side were flat throughout as they slumped to a second successive league defeat and their first Anfield league loss for 30 matches.
Leeds almost made the worst possible start due to a defensive howler only to benefit from one to make the best possible start. How Marsch enjoyed the fine margins going his way for a change.
Only 39 seconds had elapsed when the visitors went close to gifting Liverpool the lead. A long clearance by Alisson produced a breakdown in communications in the Leeds defence with Meslier racing from his line as Liam Cooper attempted to clear ahead of Mohamed Salah. The Leeds captain headed the ball past his goalkeeper and freed Salah for an awkward chance that he hooked goalwards. Pascal Struijk managed to head clear from just in front of the goalline.
Three minutes after that let-off, Leeds led. There appeared little danger when Joe Gomez dispossessed the impressive Brenden Aaronson as they chased a Struijk pass down the left but the Liverpool defender played a careless backpass in the general vicinity of Alisson. The keeper slipped and Rodrigo, who had sprinted away from Virgil van Dijk as soon as Gomez turned towards his goal, was handed the simple task of tapping into an unguarde net from close range. Alisson’s slip was unfortunate but offered no mitigation for Gomez’s error. The backpass would not have found the goalkeeper anyhow and, for the eighth time this season, Klopp’s team found themselves trailing first.
It gave Leeds something to hold on to but the lead lasted all of 10 minutes. Meslier saved bravely at the feet of Roberto Firmino when, having dummied an Andy Robertson pass infield, the Brazil forward was played through by a touch off Rodrigo. Leeds struggled to clear the resulting corner from Robertson, Salah found Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right and his deep cross was missed by Meslier at the back post. Robertson swept it back into the danger zone where Fabinho was unable to connect with a header but Salah, reading the flight of the cross and adjusting his body perfectly, tucked away a volley from six yards out.
The game flowed in entertaining fashion and both sides had good opportunities to score a second before the interval. Aaronson volleyed against the crossbar from close range after getting ahead of Alexander-Arnold to connect with Rasmus Kristensen’s cross. A minute later Rodrigo released Jack Harrison inside the Liverpool area but his shot was well saved by Alisson. Darwin Núñez could have edged the hosts ahead when played through a chasm in the Leeds defence by Alexander-Arnold’s pass but Meslier read the striker’s attempt to check inside and cleared with a clean challenge.
Leeds’ fans have made their disapproval clear in recent weeks but were given reason to get behind an encouraging away display at Anfield. Marsch’s side took the game to Liverpool at every opportunity and were tireless in their efforts to keep Salah, Núñez and Firmino quiet.
It was the Liverpool crowd whose grumblings could be heard when the visitors took control early in the second half. But they should have been rejoicing again when Cooper made a mess of clearing a high ball under pressure from Salah. The Leeds centre-half miscued his header, then an attempted clearance, allowing Salah to play Núñez clean through on goal. Meslier reacted well, however, and was quick off his line to block the Uruguay international’s shot.
The Leeds keeper thwarted Núñez again when he curled a 25-yard shot towards the top corner only for Meslier to tip over superbly. He also denied Salah and a late Firmino header before Summerville sent the away end into raptures with a late winner. When Wilfried Gnonto’s cross looped off fellow substitute Patrick Bamford, Summerville reacted quicker than any Liverpool defender to prod a low finish inside Alisson’s far corner. Cue delirium in the Leeds’ technical area.