After an exciting opening hour on Elland Road, there was a lot to talk about.
About Liverpool, which – if anyone actually doubted it – confirms its title references in a season that already promises a title fight for the ages. About the undisputed joy, but also the rather astounding naivety and defensive, headless chicken-keeping of a Leeds team determined to compete with everyone and how they took more shots on goal in the first four rounds of Premier League action than any other team. About the brilliance of Mo Salaha, who scored his 100th Premier League goal, could easily have scored his 101st and demonstrated his all-round brilliance. About Kalvin Phillips, an oasis of precision and tranquility amid Leeds’ all-action running game. Or even try to figure out how Sadio Mane still had no goal.
And then in an instant everything was irrelevant. At the moment even the three points for Liverpool or the small but nagging and growing doubts that Leeds might just be too open this season, and while Sheffield United isn’t exactly full, they might soon be suffering from Second Season Syndrome and In Trouble.
It’s just disappointing to see what turned out to be a wonderful season for an incredibly talented 18-year-old that was interrupted due to an injury. We haven’t seen a replay of the tackle that cut Harvey Elliott’s day short and the injury that will keep him out who knows how long. And we don’t necessarily want that.
But while Elliott’s injury is clearly the most important thing and we have to hope that an injury isn’t as bad as the players’ initial reaction and the long break, the red card on Pascal Struijk seemed tough. It felt more like a decision for the result than for the duel, which at full speed hardly looked like a foul at first glance.
There were shades of that here Heung-Min Son’s red card against Everton was later canceled A few years ago Andre Gomes suffered a terrible injury himself. Anyway, it was an incident that spoiled the game twice.
Leeds was Leeds and was enjoying her best time of the game for the minutes that followed, despite being a man with Liverpool who may have been distracted by thoughts of her ailing teammates.
But Liverpool scored the third goal they deserved to dominate and Mane scored his first of his tenth attempt at the end. This felt like little more than a footnote for several reasons.
Although Elliott will be the focus of all thoughts and the last half hour of the game felt very different from the wonderful conversation before, it would also be remiss not to notice that this incident and its aftermath made the feeling of the game in all likelihood none Influence on the outcome.
Liverpool were mighty impressive and could have won well over three goals without a lackluster finish. Leeds, despite what they see, a rampaging, fun team, was pretty bad at some pretty basic stuff and has a lot to think about.
But right now we’re still struggling to particularly worry about whether Liverpool is in a title race (likely) or Leeds in a relegation scrap (likely not). Get well soon, Harvey.