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Leeds: Wilfried Gnonto was a game-changer vs Liverpool

Leeds United brought an end to their eight-game winless streak in dramatic fashion on Saturday night, with Jesse Marsch’s side running out 2-1 winners over Liverpool under the Anfield lights.

In a performance which was reminiscent of the Whites’ 3-0 victory over Chelsea in August, Leeds got off to a spectacular start, with Rodrigo bagging one of the easiest goals he will likely ever score after Joe Gomez’s backpass caught out an onrushing Alisson Becker before the Spaniard tapped home into an empty net.

After Mohamed Salah drew the home side level just 10 minutes later, the Reds began to assert their dominance, with Salah, Darwin Núñez, Roberto Firmino, Andrew Robertson and Jordan Henderson all forcing a spectacular Illan Meslier into a monumental nine saves over the course of the 90 minutes.

This is not to say that the Whites didn’t have their own chances to regain the lead, with Brenden Aaronson crashing an effort against the Liverpool crossbar, while Patrick Bamford also squandered an opportunity to pull the trigger when one-on-one with Alisson after a poor first touch which took him away from goal.

However, with the game still finely poised heading towards the 90-minute mark, a Crysencio Summerville moment of magic would prove decisive, with the 21-year-old picking the ball up in the Liverpool penalty area, dancing his way between Gomez and Virgil van Dijk and firing past Alisson to seal a last-gasp win for Leeds.

While it is undeniable that the flying Dutchman will steal this morning’s headlines, it was arguably the performance of second-half substitute and first-team debutant Wilfried Gnonto which was the real game-changer for Marsch on Saturday night.

Indeed, after being brought on with just 18 minutes of normal time left to play, the £5m summer signing changed the course of the game for the Whites. Despite enjoying just 12 touches of the ball and completing three passes, the 18-year-old caused Liverpool’s defenders no end of problems with his constant movement and electric pace.

Most notably, the £9m-rated talent was the man to provide Bamford with his gilt-edged chance to reinstate Leeds’ advantage – only for the 29-year-old’s aforementioned poor touch to let him down – while it was also Gnonto’s impressive work on the left flank which resulted in the Whites’ dramatic winner.

Taking an exceptional headed first touch to bypass Robertson, the Italy international was then crowded out by three Liverpool players, yet he somehow still managed to fizz a cross into Bamford, whose subsequent flick then set up Summerville.

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As such, it is not difficult to see why a number of journalists heaped praise on the “wonderkid” after the final whistle, with Nico Cantor claiming it was Gnonto’s “spark” which saw Leeds take all three points, Thomas Hammond stating his belief that the teenager looks “really special” and Josh Bunting suggesting that the Whites’ winner was “all about” Gnonto”.

Furthermore, The Athletic’s James Horncastle gave a particularly glowing summary of the youngster’s display on Twitter, stating: “Gnonto makes things happen. Did so on his debut for Italy. Does so again tonight with ball in for Bamford and Cry. Bit baffled it’s taken this long to use him.”

While Summerville should rightly be lauded for his ice-cold composure in the closing stages of the match, the efforts of Gnonto cannot be overlooked in Leeds’ famous victory, as the Italian sensation was well and truly Marsch’s game-changer at Anfield.

Article title: Leeds: Wilfried Gnonto was a game-changer vs Liverpool

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