Press Association match report

The questions were all answered. Liverpool arrived at Elland Road with a huge cloud hanging over them but they left with a stunning 2-0 victory and their confidence sky high.

The Reds had performed as a team at last. Steve McManaman, David James, Karlheinz Riedle all with doubts about their effectiveness contributed massively to the Anfield giants' first FA Carling Premiership victory of the season.

Anything else and boss Roy Evans would have been staring a crisis in the face, but he witnessed a display of control, skill and confidence that eventually subdued a Leeds side who have had their own problems already this term.

McManaman, the memory of that abortive £12.5million move to Barcelona still biting deep into his mind, scored an outstanding goal. It was his first of the season and only his third league goal since last December.

He'd suffered the wrath of the critics at Blackburn on Saturday when he missed a sitter, seeming to re-inforce the popular theory that the England man just couldn't finish. But the superb angled drive into the far bottom corner from the corner of the box destroyed that myth.

From James, a goalkeeper who has seen his England claims all but disappear on the back of a string of howlers that won him the nickname ``Calamity'', there was a display of composure and agility. He made five great saves, three in the first half and one from Jimmy Hasselbaink near the end that was the best of the match. Then, in the dying minutes he blocked a point-blank David Hopkin drive that had the Leeds captain shaking his head in disbelief.

Riedle, the skilled German frontman, had not looked strong enough for the rigours of the English game in his early matches, but he struck the killer goal an absolute gem 16 minutes from time, to send the Liverpool coaches and Evans leaping from the dug-out in delight. Leeds had their moments, mainly through the high-speed running of Danny Wallace, but they had their hearts broken by James' top-notch display.

Yet again there was a display from Michael Owen that made it hard to believe he is still only 17.
He outfought Lucas Radebe and then outpaced Gunnar Halle in one electric first-half run that ended with a cross-shot that grazed the far post. The goal that meant so much to McManaman and put Liverpool in the driving seat came after 23 minutes.

He looked outnumbered way out on the right, but with Robert Molenaar standing off, McManaman curled a delightful shot across Nigel Martyn and into the far corner.

Wallace ran at Liverpool with great pace and skill and created one opening for Hopkins that James saved at close range. Another blinding save thwarted Bruno Ribeiro, and then James plunged to his left to save from Hasselbaink from 18 yards.

Liverpool maintained their control, if not dominance, in the second half. James brilliantly pushed aside another Hasselbaink shot, after Hopkin had put him clear, and Leeds were by now running out of ideas and were overcome by frustration.

Then came Riedle's crucial clincher. Molenaar was clearly pulling him back by the shirt, but the £1.5million new boy turned 25 yards out to send a beautiful chip over Martyn and just under the far angle.

Leeds were finished now, and as Liverpool left the field to the acclaim of their fans, the home side were the ones beginning to lurch towards a crisis, beaten now twice in four days on their own pitch.

Copyright - Press Association

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