Liverpool outgun impressive Leeds
Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick, including two penalties, as Liverpool began their Premier League title defence with a hugely entertaining 4-3 win over promoted Leeds United at Anfield on Saturday.
Leeds, making their return to the top flight after a 16-year absence, fought back from behind three times and played the brand of intense, attacking football that their Argentine manager Marcelo Bielsa established during their promotion campaign last season, reports Reuters.
The champions will be concerned with some slack defending but once again did what they have done so well in the past two seasons — finding a way to win at the end.
A season beginning with fans still barred from the grounds due to COVID-19 restrictions needed a start to spark some excitement among frustrated fans and this high-energy, incident-packed encounter certainly delivered.
Juergen Klopp’s side grabbed a fourth minute lead after referee Michael Oliver harshly ruled that Leeds’ debutant German defender Robin Koch had handled a Salah shot which deflected off his thigh on to his outstretched arm.
Salah himself blasted home the spot-kick and Leeds looked as though they may be in for a very long day.
But eight minutes later Jack Harrison, on loan from Manchester City, brought Leeds level with a fine solo goal, picking the ball up on the left-flank and cutting inside, skipping past Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez, before drilling into the bottom corner.
Liverpool restored their lead in the 20th minute and this time Leeds had only themselves to blame, leaving the obvious threat of Virgil van Dijk unchallenged with the towering Dutchman heading home an Andy Robertson corner.