Diego Llorente scored a late equaliser for Leeds to deny Liverpool a place in the top four of the Premier League – as uncertainty reigns over what that would mean following the announcement of the European Super League.
The Reds are one of 12 clubs to agree to join a breakaway ESL to “commence as soon as practicable”. Even if it does not start next season, Uefa has said it could ban the clubs – including six English sides – from European competition for their defection.
There was a strange mood around the first game involving any of the 12 teams since Sunday night’s announcement, with protests inside and outside the ground.
Fans of Leeds and other clubs gathered outside Elland Road to stage a protest – during which a Liverpool shirt was burned – and a plane flew over the stadium displaying an anti-Super League message.
Inside the stadium Leeds players wore T-shirts saying ‘Earn it’ next to the Champions League logo and ‘Football is for the fans’. A banner behind one goal had the same message.
Leeds left the shirts in Liverpool’s dressing room too, in case they wanted to protest – a move that annoyed Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, who said he does not like the idea of the ESL but that he and his players had no say in it.
Liverpool dominated the first half and went ahead when Trent Alexander-Arnold latched on to Diogo Jota’s fine pass and squared it to Sadio Mane to slot into an empty net after Illan Meslier had rushed out of goal.
That was his first Premier League goal since January, a run of 10 games.
Leeds improved after the break and Patrick Bamford hit the crossbar before Llorente headed in his first goal for the club.
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