After all, the hosting Yorkshire outfit had 10 players ruled out through injury, while within the opening stages of the clash centre-back Jonathan Woodgate limped off.
So, when Liverpool defenders Sami Hyypia and Christian Ziege put the Reds, who had won their last six matches, 2-0 up inside the opening 18 minutes at Elland Road, it appeared that the home side would merely be playing for pride.
However, Mark Viduka, who had joined Leeds from Celtic in the summer for £6m, started to pay back a large slice of that transfer fee.
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He reduced the arrears in the 24th minute after Alan Smith had charged down Ziege's clearance. From there, Aussie Viduka bore down on goal, before lifting the ball over visiting goalkeeper Sander Westerveld.
Those misses were duly punished just a minute after the restart by Viduka as he headed Gary Kelly's cross into the top corner of the net.
Back came Gerard Houllier's Liverpool, though, and they regained the lead in the 61st minute thanks to their duo from the Czech Republic. Patrik Berger was the creator, crossing for Vladimir Smicer to beat Paul Robinson.
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The remainder of the contest belonged to Viduka, who sealed the three points for Leeds in a three-minute spell. First he shook off the attention of Berger to draw his side level for a second time in the 72nd minute, and then precisely chipped an advancing Westerveld.
"At 2-0 down, I didn't think I'd be talking like this but with Viduka and Alan Smith, you've always got a chance to score goals," said then Leeds manager David O'Leary during his post-match interview.
"We got lucky, but I always felt we could score against them. I loved beating Liverpool as a player - and I like it as a manager."
Meanwhile, defeated boss Houllier added: "We have no-one to blame but ourselves. I felt we should have won, but we collapsed physically at the end."
LEEDS: Robinson; Kelly, Harte, Woodgate, Matteo; Bowyer, Bakke, Dacourt, Burns; Smith, Viduka
LIVERPOOL: Westerveld; Carragher, Ziege, Babbel, Hyypia; Smicer, Murphy, McAllister, Hamann, Berger; Heskey