Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick as Liverpool noticed off three fightbacks from Leeds to start their defence of the Premier League with an exhilarating Four-Three win at Anfield.
Leeds’ return to the English top-flight underneath Marcelo Bielsa after a 16-year absence was extremely anticipated and a conflict in opposition to the reigning champions lived as much as expectations as thrice they equalised by Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford and Mateusz Klich to cancel out Salah’s first-half double and Virgil van Dijk’s header.
Nonetheless, Salah’s second penalty of the sport two minutes from time ensured Liverpool bought off to a profitable begin.
Liverpool dropped factors at Anfield simply as soon as on their romp to a primary league title in 30 years final season however have been practically undone on the opening day of their title defence by Leeds’ daring attacking endeavour and a bunch of defensive errors.
The hosts made the proper begin when Salah’s shot was dealt with contained in the field by Robin Koch and the Egyptian rifled residence the ensuing penalty.
True to teach Bielsa’s philosophy, Leeds weren’t intimidated by the blow of conceding early and got here out to go toe-to-toe with the champions.
Harrison equalised in model because the on-loan Manchester Metropolis winger minimize inside Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez earlier than firing low and exhausting previous Alisson Becker.
But it surely was on the again Leeds regarded like a newly-promoted facet as slack marking allowed Van Dijk a free header which Illan Meslier ought to have saved relatively than letting the ball trickle over the road.
Van Dijk has been near-faultless in two-and-a-half seasons since his signing reworked Liverpool’s fortunes underneath Klopp.
Nonetheless, a shootout was paying homage to the German’s early days in cost at Anfield as Van Dijk was badly at fault for Leeds’ second as his tried clearance teed up Bamford completely to side-foot past Alisson.
– Defensive struggles persist –
Extra poor defending from a set-piece meant the guests once more didn’t dangle onto parity for lengthy as Pascal Struijk’s header from Andy Robertson’s free-kick picked out Salah on the fringe of the field and he managed earlier than unleashing an unstoppable shot into the highest nook.
The possibilities continued to circulation at each ends within the second half as Georginio Wijnaldum, who has been strongly linked with a transfer to affix former Netherlands nationwide group boss Ronald Koeman at Barcelona, was denied by a superb save from Meslier.
Alexander-Arnold was then spared an embarrassing personal objective by an offside flag in opposition to Harrison, however Leeds did degree for a 3rd time when the Liverpool defence was minimize open once more by Helder Costa’s cross and Klich managed earlier than volleying past Alisson.
Liverpool haven’t misplaced a house recreation within the Premier League since April 2017 and Leeds got here mightily near ending that report when Kalvin Phillips whistled a free-kick inches previous Alisson’s right-hand put up.
However Jurgen Klopp’s males made a behavior of scoring late winners on their approach to the title final season and the Reds responded like champions for a fourth time late on.
After Van Dijk had one other objective from a nook dominated out for a foul by Curtis Jones, Leeds’ report signing Rodrigo ensured he had a debut to neglect with a rash lunge on Fabinho handy Liverpool a second penalty of the sport.
Salah accomplished his hat-trick by maintaining his cool once more to ship Meslier the incorrect method and ensure Liverpool didn’t stumble out of the gate within the title race.