REPORT | Liverpool 4-3 Leeds United: Salah hat-trick sees Reds claim all three points in PL opener

A Mohamed Salah hat-trick and a towering header from Virgil van Dijk was just enough to claim three points at Anfield as Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United side took Klopp’s men to the wire. MATTHEW RAMIREZ reports.

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Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool side left it late at Anfield, as a late Mohamed Salah penalty earned the Reds all three points against an energetic Leeds United side that fought back three times at Anfield on their 16-year Premier League return.

Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Naby Keita, Gini Wijnaldum, Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané all started in Klopp’s first XI of the season, with the returning skipper also being preferred over Fabinho in the heart of midfield.

The Reds started the game in typical Liverpool fashion and looked to give the visitors a baptism by fire after winning a penalty in the third minute. Salah stepped up calmly, leathering the ball down the middle of the goal and into the back of the net, becoming only the second player in PL history to score in four consecutive opening day games.

The goal somewhat woke the Leeds players who quickly had the ball in the back of the Liverpool net through Helder Costa, but the Portuguese winger was ruled to be offside and the goal was chalked off.

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With this being said, Bielsa’s boys didn’t have to wait long until they had beaten Alisson again, with Jack Harrison levelling the game in the 11th minute.

A long ball over the top picked out the English winger who controlled beautifully before cutting inside and beating Alexander-Arnold. The winger powered towards the Liverpool area, skipping past Gomez before rifling a low shot past the diving Alisson to bring Leeds level.

The Reds responded quickly to the equaliser through Mané who proceeded to lob Illan Meslier from 30 yards out after the Leeds keeper intercepted a through ball meant for Robertson. Unfortunately for Liverpool, the Scottish captain was ruled offside for interfering with play and as was the case with Leeds moments earlier, the goal was chalked off.

As was the case with Leeds, Klopp’s men did not have to wait long following their disallowed goal, with van Dijk climbing high in the 20th minute to power home a Robertson corner. The Dutchman escaped his marker and connected well with the floated cross, heading past Meslier who could do nothing but pick the ball out of his net.


The high tempo continued as both teams continued to attack, however, it was Leeds who struck next, levelling the game in the 30th minute through Patrick Bamford following an uncharacteristic error by Van Dijk.

A ball over the top was snatched at by the central defender who only managed to divert its trajectory into the path of Bamford who slotted it under the onrushing Alisson.

Liverpool again responded rapidly through Salah who smashed the ball into the top corner of the net following in the 32nd minute. A free-kick looking for van Dijk was weakly headed away by the Leeds defence and collected by Salah who unleashed a lethal volley that rocketed past Meslier.

Following the fifth goal of the game the tempo finally slowed as both sides began to tire, with the scoreline at half-time 3-2 in favour of the hosts.

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The opening 15 minutes of the second phase of play saw yet another goal disallowed following an offside decision. A long ball over the top found Harrison in behind the Liverpool defence once again, with the winger lobbing Alisson before Alexander-Arnold misjudged his clearance and headed into his own net. Fortunately for the Reds, the flag was up and the score remained 3-2.

Leeds continued to press for their third equaliser and found it in the 66th minute courtesy of a quick reaction volley from Mateusz Klich. A low cross into the box by Costa found the Polish midfielder who flicked up the ball with his first touch, before sorting out his feet and dispatching a smooth volley into the corner of the net.

Following the Leeds equaliser the atmosphere within Anfield shifted as match began to get edgy as both sides realised the next goal was likely to be the winner.

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As the minutes ticked into the final 15 Leeds began to shrink further back into the pitch as Liverpool looked to turn on the pressure. In fact the Reds had the ball in the back of the net yet again through van Dijk however the Reds could only watch on as another goal was ruled out this time due to a Curtis Jones block in the build-up.

Despite the disallowed goal, the Reds continued to push and eventually found a breakthrough in the 86th minute after Fabinho was brought down in the penalty area and a penalty was awarded. Salah stepped up, this time slotting the ball into the bottom left corner to seal his hat-trick and all three points.

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