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Exclusive: Nigel Martyn criticises Leeds United defender Diego Llorente despite goal v Liverpool

Diego Llorente scored his first goal for Leeds United on Monday evening against Liverpool but Nigel Martyn has exclusively told LeedsUnited.News that he was unimpressed with the Spain international’s defending, despite this the Whites went five Premier League games unbeaten when the summer signing rose highest to nod the ball into the back of the net.

Llorente, 27, has finally got over a run of injuries and a lack of momentum to start the last eight Premier League games. The seven-time Spain international had previously suffered a groin injury, and then two successive hamstring problems. He is now considered one of the first names on the team sheet, and probably the first-choice centre-back.

But Martyn was not particularly impressed with the former Real Sociedad defender, when it came to the defensive side of his game. Llorente cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener, but Liverpool ran riot in the first half and really should have scored more than just the one goal Mane managed. Leeds icon Martyn told us at LeedsUnited.News that Llorente worries him at times, and that he lacks the basic skills you expect to see from a centre-back.

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“Llorente at times for me, defensively, makes me a little bit concerned,” Martyn said. “He is fairly young but some of the tackles he attempted – they weren’t something you’d want from your centre-half. But at other times he looks a world beater. There was an attack in the second half, a Liverpool player was running at him and he did a nothing tackle. If you’re a centre-back, you’ve got to get something in the way of him – and Liverpool got in, he just dangled a leg. There were one or two issues defensively.”

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Plenty impressed at Elland Road as Leeds continued their excellent run of form, starring in the second half and penning Liverpool into their own third. Jack Harrison was impressive on the left, having missed out against Manchester City the week before – who remain his parent club. Tyler Roberts, Helder Costa, Ian Poveda, Stuart Dallas, Kalvin Phillips and more all did well.

Martyn picked out the players he felt showed glimpses of quality against the reigning Premier League champions, who are set to lose their crown to Manchester City. The Leeds legend also believes that Marcelo Bielsa’s men deserved a point, and probably more.

“Second half, going forward, they looked a threat. Harrison was excellent, Kalvin Phillips was really good again. Dallas was great, he was everywhere. All of them in little flashes. Tyler Roberts, at times he’s good. Helder Costa at times was good. We definitely missed Raphinha, that game will have really suited him. There were a lot of positives, Bamford was unlucky to hit the bar. On the balance of play, we might have won given the amount of chances.”

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