Diogo Jota's scoring, Trent Alexander-Arnold's running midfield and Luis Diaz is back! Liverpool winners & losers as Reds rout Leeds

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Jurgen Klopp had plenty to smile about as the Reds battered Leeds 6-1 at Elland Road to keep their top-four hopes flickering

Liverpool haven't had many enjoyable away days this season, but they could certainly savour this one as they battered Leeds 6-1 at Elland Road to keep their faint top-four hopes alive.

Diogo Jota scored twice - his first Reds goals in more than a year - and Mohamed Salah also bagged a brace, with Cody Gakpo and substitute Darwin Nunez rounding off a devastating attacking performance from Jurgen Klopp's side, who remain nothing if not unpredictable, at least.

They remain nine points short of Newcastle, who occupy the last Champions League qualification spot at present, but after a performance like this, and their biggest away league win since December 2020, there must at least be a little more optimism around Anfield now, with eight games still to play between now and the end of the season.

GOAL breaks down the winners & losers from Elland Road...

  1. WINNER: Diogo Jota

    WINNER: Diogo Jota

    The drought is well and truly over! After 12 months without a goal, Diogo Jota must have wondered when, indeed if, his luck would turn.

    The answer came here, and in emphatic fashion, as the Portuguese star scored twice - both instinctive, first-time finishes - and added an assist for Mohamed Salah for good measure.

    Jota actually started the game poorly, giving the ball away repeatedly in the opening half hour, but when Weston McKennie dawdled in midfield, the Reds' No.20 was on him in a flash. He won the ball off the Leeds man, drove forward and fed Salah, who placed his shot brilliantly inside Ilian Meslier's near post to make it 2-0 to Liverpool.

    Confidence restored, Jota then set about making his own dent on the scoresheet. He needed only seven minutes of the second half to do so, timing his run perfectly to slam Curtis Jones' defence-splitting pass past Meslier for 3-1.

    There was more to come, as Jota met Jordan Henderson's cross from the right with a fine, 18-yard strike which fizzed home via the right-hand post. Minimal celebration, but a smile as wide as the Mersey from a man who needed a goal desperately and, after 372 barren days, ended up with a pair of them here.

  2. LOSER: Javi Gracia

    LOSER: Javi Gracia

    A lot of teams have enjoyed playing against Liverpool this season, but the Leeds boss must be sick of the sight of those red shirts.

    This was the fourth time Gracia has faced Jurgen Klopp's team as a manager, and he has lost all four. His teams - Watford and now Leeds - have conceded 19 times in those four matches, scoring only once. Ouch.

    There were boos from the home fans at the final whistle here, and no wonder. Leeds were negative, timid and completely overwhelmed once Liverpool got their noses in front. Elland Road can be a fortress, and it briefly roared after Luis Sinisterra gave the home side hope at 2-1, but this was not a performance for supporters to get behind.

    Gracia has done OK since replacing Jesse Marsch, and Leeds are still a couple of points and a couple of places above the relegation zone, but he's going to have to earn his money after this. It was painful to watch at times.

  3. WINNER: Trent Alexander-Arnold

    WINNER: Trent Alexander-Arnold

    He's had plenty of criticism this season, plenty of it deserved too, but let's get one thing straight here; this was a quite magnificent performance from Liverpool's No.66.

    Alexander-Arnold's positioning has been the subject of much debate of late, with the right-back - under instruction from Klopp - moving into much more of a central midfield role when Liverpool have had possession. It has had mixed results so far, but it worked a treat here.

    The England international was outstanding, setting up Liverpool's first goal for Cody Gakpo and their last goal for Darwin Nunez. Typical Trent, inch-perfect deliveries just begging to be finished off.

    But there was so much more to enjoy too. Alexander-Arnold had more touches (153) and won possession more frequently (11 times) than any other player on the pitch. He completed 124 passes, and with a completion rate of more than 91 percent. He won tackles, made clearances and generally, through his skill and his sheer footballing intelligence, helped Liverpool boss the game pretty much from start to finish.

    A glimpse of the future, perhaps? For all the focus on Alexander-Arnold's weaknesses, his strengths are what make him the player he is; a truly world-class talent, whether at right-back or in central midfield.

  4. LOSER: Ibrahima Konate

    LOSER: Ibrahima Konate

    It feels harsh to pick out a 'loser' after a 6-1 away win in the Premier League, but Konate won't want to watch Leeds' goal back any time soon.

    The Frenchman had produced a dominant first half, but he dallied on the ball early in the second and was punished accordingly. Sinisterra robbed him, finished impudently past Alisson Becker and suddenly, for a brief moment, the game was on at 2-1.

    Konate, to his credit, reacted well to his error, but boy will he have been relieved when Jota made it 3-1 within five minutes of Sinisterra's strike. Liverpool ran riot from there, but they won't want too many more slip-ups like this one from their centre-back. Lesson learned.

  5. WINNER: Luis Diaz

    WINNER: Luis Diaz

    The roar from the away end was as loud as for any of Liverpool's six goals. Luis Diaz is back, and everything feels right with the world again.

    After six months out injured, after 190 days of pain and treatment and surgery and hard work, the Colombian finally made his long-awaited return here, playing the last nine minutes plus stoppage time to cap an almost-perfect away day for the Reds.

    How they have missed the 26-year-old, who damaged knee ligaments at Arsenal last October and, after a brief comeback attempt, underwent surgery in December. Without him, their season has crumbled, their performances too often devoid of the kind of purpose and energy which are Diaz hallmarks.

    "It's just nice to see him play," said Klopp afterwards, and no wonder. Liverpool's attack was firing on all cylinders here, so imagine adding a fresh, hungry Diaz to the equation.

    If only there were a few more games left in the season...

  6. WINNER: Mohamed Salah
    (C)Getty Images

    WINNER: Mohamed Salah

    When the Egyptian is smiling after being substituted - and on a hat-trick too - you know it's been a good night.

    Salah will still have privately cursed Klopp for his late withdrawal, one is sure, but he knew he'd done his job here, adding his 25th and 26th goals of the season in clinical fashion, and setting yet another Premier League milestone in the process.

    He now has more left-footed goals than any player in the competition's history, with his 106th and 107th such strikes taking him past another Liverpool hero, Robbie Fowler.

    His first was sublime, a rising strike inside the near post from Jota's astute pass. His second - a trademark side-footed finish to round off a flowing Reds move - killed the game stone dead at 4-1, and allowed Klopp to give his star man a 10-minute rest at the end of the night.

    Not that Salah would have wanted it, mind.