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EDITIONS

Saturday, 19 October, 2002, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Liverpool go top
Salf
Salif Diao stoops to conquer for Liverpool
Leeds 0-1 Liverpool

Liverpool leapfrogged Arsenal to go top of the Premiership table thanks to a second-half goal from midfielder Salif Diao.

Gerard Houllier's side head the Premiership after Arsenal's 2-1 defeat at Everton.


All in all we should have got a draw
Leeds manager Terry Venables

This was Leeds' fifth defeat of the season as well as their third loss at Elland Road and leaves Terry Venables' side well off the Premiership pace.

In the game's closing moments Harry Kewell should have salvaged a point for Leeds, but the Australian international inexplicably blasted over with the goal gaping in front of him.

Diao's goal was an incisive piece of finishing as he reacted quickly to flick the ball past Paul Robinson after El-Hadji Diouf had crossed.

Leeds' Harry Kewell goes past Liverpool's Bruno Cheyrou
Harry Kewell missed a number of chances for Leeds

The goal capped a fine performance by Diao, who formed an effective central partnership with Dietmar Hamann.

It was the German international's clever pass that had released Diouf in the build-up to the goal.

Over the last few years games between these two sides have produced plenty of goals, but not so this time as both sets of strikers struggled to find clear a sight of goal.

A strange opening half saw Liverpool dominate possession - with just over 20 minutes gone Houllier's side had won five corners - but it was Leeds that fashioned the better chances.

Notably Alan Smith's deflected shot that went narrowly wide and Kewell's header that Jerzy Dudek acrobatically tipped over the bar.

Just before the interval another looping Kewell header beat Dudek but rebounded off the crossbar.

Milan Baros of Liverpool gets past Stephen McPhail of Leeds
Baros had scored in midweek for the Czech Republic

Houllier had left Michael Owen on the bench, deploying Milan Baros and Diouf in attack.

It was a partnership that never quite gelled as the two strikers struggled to read each other's play.

Soon after Diao's goal Owen came on for for Baros.

Even so during those opening 20 minutes it was all hands to the pump for Venables' side with Jonathan Woodgate acting as Leeds' chief firefighter.


Tactically and mentally we were superb
Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier

The England defender bravely blocked a Danny Murphy volley as well as denying Baros as the Czech Republic striker beared down on goal.

Bruno Cheyrou also fired off a couple of speculative shots as Liverpool surged forward in those early stages.

On 66 minutes with the game deadlocked, Diao ghosted into the the box to give Liverpool the lead.

The immaculate Hamann threaded the ball through to Diouf, whose cross from the left richocheted off Danny Mills and Diao nipped in to claim his first Premiership goal.


Leeds: Robinson, Mills, Woodgate, Lucic, Harte, Bowyer, Barmby, McPhail (Dacourt 75), Bakke, Smith (Viduka 56), Kewell.
Subs Not Used: Martyn, Kelly, Duberry.

Booked: Harte.

Liverpool: Dudek, Carragher, Hyypia, Traore, Riise, Murphy, Hamann, Diao, Cheyrou, Baros (Owen 69), Diouf.
Subs Not Used: Babbel, Smicer, Arphexad, Biscan.

Booked: Carragher, Diouf.

Attendance: 40,187

Referee: S Dunn (Avon).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"Liverpool controlled most of the game"
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"We managed to win without four key players"
Leeds manager Terry Venables
"We were very unlucky"
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