THOSE who thought Leeds United would run out of gas on their return to the Premier League are having to re-evaluate their opinions.

Many critics believed their high-octane all-action game would hit the buffers as the season wore on but Monday night’s 1-1 home draw with Liverpool showed they are still full of running with the campaign reaching the final straight.

The Whites are in the middle of their stiffest set of fixtures but followed their stunning 2-1 victory at Manchester City by coming on strong in the second half to deny Jurgen Klopp’s side thanks to a late goal by Diego Lorente.

The game was the first since the proposals for a European Super League were announced and it generated a highly-charged pre-match atmosphere with about 700 fans, including some from Liverpool, who are part of the breakaway group, protesting against the ESL plan.

More anti-ESL demonstrations are expected on Sunday when Manchester United, another of the six English clubs involved in the scheme, visit Elland Road.

Games against Liverpool and Manchester United are iconic fixtures in Leeds United’s history and a reflection on how far the Whites have risen up the domestic football ladder under Marcelo Bielsa.

Three years ago Leeds had slumped to 14th in the Championship while Liverpool were on course for a Champions League final and Manchester United finished as runners-up to Manchester City. The “Earn It” T-shirts worn by the Leeds players in the warm-up could not have been more fitting.

Despite all the furore off the pitch, Klopp’s players showed their quality by controlling the first half with their raiding full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson creating lots of problems.

The Reds worked extremely hard to keep Leeds penned in their own half and took a deserved lead on the half-hour when Alexander-Arnold brilliantly cushioned Diogo Jota’s long pass into the path of Sadio Mane to roll home.

Leeds’ best opening in the first period came through a mistake by Fabinho but Patrick Bamford’s poor first touch allowed Alisson to block his effort.

Liverpool had chances to extend their lead but around the hour mark Leeds started to build momentum and came hard at the visitors. Bamford lobbed over Allison onto the bar and the Liverpool goalkeeper made two fine saves to deny Jack Harrison and Tyler Roberts.

Leeds kept pushing and were rewarded three minutes from the end of normal time when Llorente got his head on to Harrison’s corner to deny Liverpool the win which would have lifted them into a Champions League qualifying spot – something they may not need if the ESL kicks off next season.

Bielsa said: “I think the game was beautiful. In the first half it was more even and in the second half we managed to dominate proceedings. We created goal-scoring opportunities and we played in the opponent’s half. We recovered many balls that permitted us or allowed us to attack. But it’s also true while we were managing proceedings, they maintained their threat.”

Among the spectators at Elland Road was England manager Gareth Southgate whose plans for the national team could be thrown into disarray if the players of the so-called “Big Six” are banned as a result of signing up to the ESL.

That could open the door for the likes of Bamford and Luke Ayling to join Kalvin Phillips into the England squad if he is not allowed to choose men from Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Star man Raphinha did not face Liverpool because of an injury but it is hoped he will be fit enough to face Manchester United.