Liverpool played out a crazy opening clash in the Premier League, with Mohamed Salah scoring a hat-trick to seal a 4-3 victory over the Championship winners Leeds.
Liverpool 4-3 Leeds
Premier League (1), Anfield
September 12, 2020
Salah pen 4′ (assist – none)
Harrison 12′ (assist – Phillips)
Van Dijk 20′ (assist – Robertson)
Bamford 30′ (assist – Dallas)
Salah 33′ (assist – none)
Klich 66′ (assist – Costa)
Salah pen 88′ (assist – Fabinho)
After a tough, tepid pre-season, Liverpool came out the blocks firing against their newly promoted opponents, and within four minutes were ahead as Salah forced a penalty through Robin Koch’s handball and then converted it with aplomb.
But soon after, a long ball and a brilliant first touch from Jack Harrison saw the Leeds winger through, and with the Reds defence slack and at odds with his pace, he was able to fire into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
An unstoppable header from Virgil van Dijk put the hosts back ahead on the 20-minute mark, though, with Koch again at fault as the No. 4 evaded his marker and powered home through the weak Illan Meslier.
True to form for an end-to-end game, sloppy defending from both Van Dijk and Joe Gomez allowed Patrick Bamford to level again, with the Dutchman’s lazy attempted clearance gifting it to the ex-Chelsea striker for a simple finish.
Not long after and the Reds were back in front, with Andy Robertson‘s free-kick headed back into the path of Salah, who made no mistake with a powerful drive into the roof of the net for 3-2 at the break.
- Salah becomes first Liverpool player to score in four consecutive PL openers
- Reds score four on opening day for the third season running; first time ever
- Leeds produce valiant effort to capitalise on slack defending from Liverpool
- Milner an unused substitute against former club; Jones the go-to midfield option
After a frenetic opening 45 minutes, both sides appeared to have settled more in the second half, though the linesman’s flag spared the blushes of a tired Trent Alexander-Arnold as he headed into his own net before the hour mark.
Fabinho was sent on immediately after in a bid to add stability to the midfield, with Kalvin Phillips having presided over a comfortable stretch prior to the Brazilian’s introduction.
But another equaliser arrived before long, with none of Klopp’s midfielders tracking the run of Mateusz Klich, who fired home on the volley after a ball through from Helder Costa, with Liverpool a shambles at the back.
Van Dijk believed he had put the Reds back in front as he blasted in from another Robertson corner, but a foul from Curtis Jones in the throng saw the centre-back’s chance of a brace overruled.
Roberto Firmino squandered a big opportunity late on, but in the following move Fabinho was brought down in the box to allow Salah to step up and fire home for his hat-trick and a wild win to kick off the season.
TIA Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah
Referee: Michael Oliver
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold (Matip 89′), Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson (Jones 66′), Wijnaldum, Keita (Fabinho 58′); Salah, Mane, Firmino
Subs not used: Adrian, Milner, Minamino, Origi
Leeds: Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Struijk, Dallas; Phillips, Klich (Shackleton 82′), Hernandez (Roberts 62′); Harrison, Costa, Bamford (Rodrigo 62′)
Subs not used: Casilla, Casey, Alioski, Poveda
Next Match: Chelsea (A) – Premier League – Sunday, September 20, 4.30pm (BST)