Football: Wilkinson's basic instinct works: Listless Liverpool are eclipsed by confident Leeds

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Leeds United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Liverpool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

BACK to basics may be a discredited philosophy in some circles, but it worked for Howard Wilkinson on Saturday. 'After Oxford beat us in the Cup, I felt it was time to return to the tried and tested in terms of personnel, shape and approach,' the Leeds manager said.

He brought back Rod Wallace, David O'Leary and John Lukic, and it was the goalkeeper - out of favour since August - who kept Leeds on course for their first League victory of the year with a point- blank save from John Barnes as Liverpool threatened to come back in the second half.

Wallace's pace up front and the old firm in midfield, the indefatigable Gordon Strachan and the majestic Gary McAllister, gave Leeds the edge, though basics of another sort undid Liverpool, according to their manager, Roy Evans. 'Both goals were down to basic errors,' he said.

Bruce Grobbelaar was responsible for the first, and although it will not rank as a classic Grobbelaar howler, his mistimed punch at McAllister's free-kick allowed David Wetherall to strike through a ruck of defenders in the 10th minute.

Grobbelaar almost did it again when he let a McAllister 25-yarder slip through his fingers and rattle the crossbar, but with Neil Ruddock back after suspension and Mark Wright looking more like his old dependable self, the much-maligned Liverpool rearguard had a relatively panic-free afternoon.

Brian Deane, who has scored only once in his last 13 matches, missed a sitter, and Leeds did not reassure their biggest crowd for 15 years (40,053) until four minutes from time. Then Ronnie Whelan allowed the substitute, David White, to steal the ball and McAllister raced 30 yards to beat Grobbelaar from the edge of the box.

The goalkeeper limped off with a hamstring injury a minute before the end, but Evans admitted that was the least of his worries. He is still looking for his first victory since taking over from Graeme Souness and knows that a change of manager is not enough to solve Liverpool's problems. 'We had our fair share of possession, but apart from that we did absolutely nothing. We need to strengthen our side in several positions.' It looks like back to basics at Anfield, too.

Goals: Wetherall (10) 1-0; McAllister (86) 2-0.

Leeds United (4-4-2): Lukic; Kelly, Wetherall, O'Leary (Newsome, 89), Dorigo; Strachan, McAllister, Fairclough, Speed; Rod Wallace (White, 73), Deane. Substitute not used: Beeney (gk).

Liverpool (4-4-2): Grobbelaar (James, 89); R Jones, Wright, Ruddock, Dicks; McManaman, Whelan, Redknapp, Matteo (Walters, 64); Barnes, Rush. Substitute not used: Clough.

Referee: G Poll (Berkhamsted).

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