A draw left sixth-place Liverpool two points behind fourth-place West Ham in the Premier League.

Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw against Leeds United on Monday in a game overshadowed by the furious reaction to the Merseysiders’ planned involvement in a separatist European Super League (ESL).

A draw left sixth-place Liverpool two points behind fourth-place West Ham in the Premier League.

The Reds opened the scoring before the interval through Sadio Mane only for Diego Llorente to equalize with his first Leeds goal, a header from a corner, three minutes from time.

The top four in the Premier League at the end of the season are usually the four English clubs guaranteed a place in the UEFA Champions League next season.

But even if six-time European champions Liverpool finish in the top four, they could well be banned from the tournament as they are on a collision course with UEFA, the continent’s football governing body, after emerging as one of 12 teams to make plans. to train ESL.

According to the proposals, 15 founding members would participate in the 20-team tournament each year without having to qualify.

Leeds and Liverpool supporters demonstrated outside Elland Road ahead of kick-off, while a banner in the stand read: ‘Win it on the pitch. Football is for the fans.

The Leeds players also wore pre-match T-shirts bearing similar messages, while a plane flew overhead dragging the message ‘#SayNoToSuperLeague’.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who had previously spoken out against the creation of a Super League, struggled to justify his club’s participation in the proposed new competition in a pre-match interview with Sky Sports.

“One thing that I understand and people think is not fair is competitiveness, I understand that,” he said.

Significantly, no club from Klopp’s native Germany are involved, with European giants Bayern Munich making it clear on Monday that they are happy with the “current structure” of football.

Klopp appeared to have more in common with Bayern than his own employers when he added: “I like that West Ham could play in the Champions League next year. I don’t want them to do it, because I want us to be there, but I love that they have the chance.

Six Premier League teams – Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur – have teamed up with Spanish giants Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and Italian trio Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan to kick off the competition.

Their plans sparked an angry backlash from governments, governing bodies, players and fans.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin criticized the plan, calling it “a shameful selfish proposal from a few selected clubs only fueled by greed”.

Meanwhile, UK Government Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the English clubs involved could find themselves subject to formal scrutiny under UK antitrust law, which prevents the formation of monopolies or cartels of business.

“We will put everything on the table to prevent this from happening,” said Dowden, promising a “very robust response”.

At Elland Road, Klopp recalled Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota, with star striker Mohamed Salah on the bench.

Jota was involved as Liverpool broke the deadlock in the 31st minute, choosing Trent Alexander-Arnold’s run before the full-back threw a first ball through the edge of the box for Mane to slip into the net from Leeds.

Only a superb block from Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson turned down Patrick Bamford, but Leeds got a tie when Llorente took the lead into the corner from Jack Harrison in the 87th minute.