• September 27, 2021

Exclusive: Remembering when Mark Viduka scored four and sunk the Reds in Elland Road thriller

 Exclusive: Remembering when Mark Viduka scored four and sunk the Reds in Elland Road thriller


The Premier League is back this weekend with a particularly eye-catching fixture headlining the bill on Sunday afternoon.

Liverpool travel to face Leeds United at Elland Road in a match that has the makings of a potential goal-fest.

10. Mark Viduka (Leeds)

Leeds United won 4-3 against Liverpool, November 2000

Jurgen Klopp has a wealth of offensive talent at his disposal, while Marcelo Bielsa is renowned for being a head coach who loves to flood forward and put the opposition under significant defensive strain.

It has the makings of a potential classic, but as we know it wouldn’t be the first legendary Premier League fixture to be played out between the pair.

The date was Saturday, November 4, 2000 and will forever be remembered as the day that Mark Viduka announced himself as one of the Premier League’s elite strikers.

In a season where Manchester United won the title, Ipswich Town qualified for the UEFA Cup and Manchester City were relegated to the second tier, it was the battle to qualify for the Champions League that really caught the eye.

The Premier League’s top three qualified for Europe’s elite competition, while fourth would settle for a spot in the UEFA Cup which meant that competition was fierce for a top-three finish.

Robbie Fowler at Liverpool

Gerard Houllier was Liverpool boss during the thriller with Leeds United at Elland Road

Leeds and Liverpool would be rivals for the duration of the season and during the lunchtime kick-off in West Yorkshire, we saw fireworks.

Gerard Houllier’s side took an early lead after two minutes when club captain Sami Hyypia headed home from a free-kick on the right-flank.

Christian Ziege was usually the man renowned for wreaking havoc with his vicious left foot but on this occasion he doubled Liverpool’s lead with a header of his own to give the Reds a comfortable lead within 20 minutes.

Unfortunately for Liverpool there was a certain Australian striker who had woken up on the right side of his bed that morning.

Viduka was unplayable on his day. His hold-up play was second-to-none and as the cringe-worthy phrase goes, he also had great feet for a big man.

Mark Viduka was a real handful on his day

Mark Viduka was a real handful on his day

Ziege went from hero to villain within the space of six minutes when a misplaced pass under pressure fell to the feet of Viduka in the penalty area who then sent a sublime chip over Sander Westerveld.

Leeds went in 2-1 behind at the break, but with the powerful striker on form it was always going to be a tough second half.

Viduka took just two minutes to level the game in the second period after some fine work from Gary Kelly on the right flank saw the ball planted on the striker’s head before sending a firm effort beyond the goalkeeper and into the top corner of the net.

Liverpool managed to quash the early pressure being put on them after the hour mark when Patrik Berger squeezed a pass in to Vladimir Smicer who moved the ball onto his left foot before putting the Reds back in front with the score at 3-2.

Christian Ziege celebrating his first half strike against Leeds

Christian Ziege celebrating his first half strike against Leeds

But as the Merseysiders started to believe that they might just come away with all three points, Viduka stepped up another gear.

Some great play from Kelly at right-back saw the ball fall to Olivier Dacourt who threaded a wonderful ball into Viduka in the box.

Berger and Markus Babbel tracked back to defend well but a glorious 360-degree turn moved the striker away from the threat before slotting home from the tightest of angles with a wonderful finish.

Mark Viduka’s four-goal display has gone down in Premier League history

Mark Viduka’s four-goal display has gone down in Premier League history

The momentum was firmly with David O’Leary’s side now and they finally got themselves in front just two minutes later when another fine pass from Dacourt found Viduka in the box who lifted another chip over Westerveld and into the empty net.

Leeds held on for a priceless three points and while it wouldn’t be enough to help them into the Champions League that season, there’s no doubt that Viduka’s four-goal haul will mark that as one of the most memorable individual displays in Premier League history.





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