London – An 87th-minute header from defender Diego Llorente gave Leeds United a 1-1 home draw with Liverpool in the Premier League on Monday after the home side staged a protest against the breakaway Super League prior to the kickoff.
Leeds players came out for their warm-up wearing shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Earn It” under the Champions League logo — a reference to the fact that the proposed 20-club Super League will have 15 permanent members with no relegation.
A plane flew overhead trailing a banner proclaiming “say no to superleague” while the Liverpool team coach was greeted with fans venting their anger.
The home side’s striker Patrick Bamford joined a chorus of critics who condemned the drive by 12 of Europe’s top clubs, including Liverpool, to form the breakaway competition rivalling Uefa’s Champions League.
“We have just seen what everyone has seen,” Bamford told Sky Sports.
“It is amazing the things they are talking about. I can’t comprehend. It is amazing the uproar and it is a shame it isn’t like this with other things, like racism.
“We are like fans. We can’t believe it and don’t know what is going to happen. I haven’t seen one fan who is happy, and football is ultimately about the fans. Without the fans football is nothing.”
Liverpool midfielder James Milner added: “I can only say my view, I don’t like it and hopefully it doesn’t happen. I can imagine what has been said about it and I probably agree with a lot of it.”
The result left Liverpool sixth on 53 points from 32 games, one behind fifth-placed Chelsea who have a game in hand and two adrift of West Ham United in fourth. Leeds stayed 10th on 46 points.
Sadio Mane fired Liverpool ahead in the 31st minute when he steered the ball into an empty net from 15 metres after Trent Alexander-Arnold beat Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier to a long Diogo Jota pass and squared it to the Senegalese forward.
Roberto Firmino came close to adding a second shortly after the break but Leeds then pegged back the visitors and missed several chances before Llorente rose above his markers to head home a Jack Harrison corner.
Substitute Mohamed Salah had scuffed a close-range shot wide for Liverpool moments before Llorente scored his first goal for Leeds and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain spurned a gilt-edged chance to snatch a stoppage-time winner for the visitors. — Reuters