Weston McKennie's poor giveaway costs Leeds in loss to Liverpool - but at least USMNT midfielder did a pretty flick!
- McKennie asked to slow Liverpool's counter-attack
- But giveaway lets Reds score goal on break
- Fellow USMNT player Aaronson ineffective
WHAT HAPPENED? McKennie was dispossessed by Diogo Jota in Liverpool's half, and the Reds quickly ripped through Leeds' defense to double their advantage. The midfielder had attempted to turn as he received a pass but probably should have prioritized protecting the ball. Earlier, he had sweetly flicked the ball over the head of a Liverpool player and maintained control despite Fabinho and Mohamed Salah closing in on him, so perhaps he became overconfident in his ability to evade his opponents.
Meanwhile, compatriot Brendan Aaronson had a quiet night and struggled to create opportunities for his team-mates.
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THE BIGGER PICTURE: McKennie has continued to receive trust after the sacking of Jesse Marsch, the man who brought him to Leeds. Javi Gracia clearly sees the value of a midfielder with strong defensive characteristics in a side fighting to avoid relegation and asked the American to break up Liverpool counter-attacks on Monday. However, McKennie wound up having the opposite effect, igniting a Reds breakaway in the 29th minute.
Aaronson had arguably been in his best run of form since joining Leeds, playing well against Arsenal, Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace. He recorded an assist in the latter game and generated three key passes in consecutive matches for the first time this campaign. That streak ended against Liverpool.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Leeds entered Monday's game in 16th place, two points above the relegation zone, and failed to move up the table.
HOW THEY GOT ON: McKennie's giveaway won't help his job security as a starting midfielder, but Aaronson's quiet outing was hardly Leeds' main concern in the blowout defeat.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR LEEDS? While the team may have viewed any point gained Monday as an unexpected bonus, there will be intense pressure to get positive results in upcoming fixtures against Fulham, Leicester City and Bournemouth before a difficult final stretch of games.
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