Jamie Carragher has admitted that Luke Ayling ‘really shocked’ him at Anfield because of the ‘extreme’ lengths he would go to in trying to mark Sadio Mane.
Liverpool beat the newly-promoted side 4-3 on Saturday and Carragher praised the ‘extreme’ manner in which the away side were man-marking, as he told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football (14/09/20 at 5:25 pm).
Even though Ayling was playing in his first Premier League game, he did a solid job in stopping one of the best players in Europe from scoring or assisting.
Carragher was highlighting a moment during the game when Ayling followed Mane from his own right-back position to the other side of the pitch.
“The one thing that really shocked me was how far Luke Ayling was prepared to go with Sadio Mane,” Carragher told MNF. “This is Leeds’ right-back and Liverpool’s left-winger.
“Liverpool have a throw-in on the right-back position [on Trent Alexander-Arnold’s side]. And that’s where they end up [on the other side of the pitch] and they stopped Liverpool from getting out.
“The game is stopped. It’s a lot more organised. When the ball is in play, we go. But that showed the extremes Leeds would go to when one man is one the other side of the pitch.”
Leeds United’s first six fixtures of 2020/21
Sheffield United (A)
Manchester City (H)
Aston Villa (A)
Ayling was one of Leeds United’s most underrated players last season, so it’s no surprise that he was able to pull off such a performance.
During one point in the match, he even nutmegged Mane when he stopped the ball going out for a throw-in, which no doubt raised a smile from the Leeds faithful.
But Ayling wasn’t the only Leeds player who put on a strong showing upon their return to the promised land because Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips, Stuart Dallas and Jack Harrison were all outstanding on the day.