Leeds United suffered yet another heavy Premier League defeat on Wednesday night as they were thrashed 6-0 by Liverpool at Anfield.
The Yorkshire giants have now lost eight of their last 11 games, in which they have conceded a whopping 36 goals at an average of 3.2 per game.
Much of the talk around Elland Road has been about their futile nature in the final third, particularly in the absence of Patrick Bamford, but it’s always going to be a hard task when you need to score three goals to even stand a chance at a draw.
In short, Marcelo Bielsa’s defence just isn’t good enough, even when he has every one of his first-choice options available. There could be somewhat of an excuse in the fact that he was missing skipper Liam Cooper, the concussed Robin Koch and Diego Llorente, who was a surprise absentee in Merseyside.
But even with them, the result would have likely been similar because the Whites just cannot defend against the big boys due to the way in which they set up.
Luke Ayling was particularly disappointing and at times, was a complete liability in the backline, even if it wasn’t all his fault.
Playing out of position at centre-back, something he has done many times before, the vice-captain endured a torrid time against the Reds’ frontline of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Luis Diaz.
Jurgen Klopp was even missing Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota and his side still found the net six times. And the bulk of that comes down to Leeds’ defensive errors.
Ayling was one of two players to have conceded a penalty – at the time, it handed the home side a 3-0 lead heading into the break and by then, the game was all but over.
The 30-year-old was heavily involved in the match, backed up by the fact that he had a squad-high 71 touches and four interceptions, on top of a further four tackles and three clearances, via SofaScore.
Given the rampant nature Liverpool were in, he was awfully lucky to not have conceded more free-kicks but letting in six goals isn’t a good look for the long-serving defender.
Ex-Spurs boss Tim Sherwood thought he should’ve been sent off for his rash tackle on Mane for the penalty, which only further suggests that the defender was walking a tightrope throughout the game.
Ayling’s form has been questionable ever since his return from injury and this outing was another reminder that he may just not be good enough for the big time.