Leeds United announced their return to the Premier League in style at the weekend, Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites giving Liverpool a major fright in their first game of the 2020-21 season.
The Elland Road side had a baptism of fire to say the least, having to go to the home of the reigning champions and one of the most highly rated sides in club football today.
However, Leeds certainly made an impression, equalising three times against Liverpool before Mohamed Salah got his side over the line with an 88th-minute penalty.
Bielsa’s charges showed off their high-intensity pressing style, their players hounding the Reds all over the pitch, and as well as thrilling viewers, they very nearly got something out of the game.
Carragher – discussing Leeds’ tactics on Sky Sports – was especially impressed by Luke Ayling, who gave Sadio Mane a torrid time for much of the game.
“The one thing that really shocked me was how far Luke Ayling was prepared to go with Sadio Mane,” the Liverpool legend said on Monday Night Football, as transcribed by Leeds Live.
“It was Leeds’ right-back and Liverpool’s left-winger and they stopped Liverpool getting out.”
Leeds delighted their fans and impressed many neutrals with their performance at the weekend, with Ayling very much showing what Bielsa’s style of football is all about.
The 29-year-old, who captained the side in Liam Cooper’s absence, has enjoyed a sensational rise at Elland Road since his reported £200,000 move from Bristol City in 2016.
Ayling has proven he’s more than capable in the top flight and, with similar displays from him and his teammates going forward, it looks set to be an exciting season for the Whites faithful.