Salah Hat-Trick Drives Champions Liverpool Past Newly Promoted Leeds United

Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick, including a late winner from the spot as champions Liverpool began their season with a thrilling but hard-fought win over newly promoted Leeds United at Anfield.

Both sides had efforts ruled out as Leeds back in the top flight for the first time in 16 years looked completely at home as they more than matched Jurgen Klopp’s side for large spells.

It took only four minutes for Liverpool to take the lead with Salah firing in from the spot after Robin Koch handled in the box.

Leeds replied eight minutes later through Jack Harrison but Virgil van Dijk restored the champions’ lead in the 20th-minute with a thumping header from an Andy Robertson set piece.

Patrick Bamford missed a glorious chance to restore parity for the visitors but made amends when he took advantage of van Dijk’s error to draw Leeds level after 30 minutes.

Salah then scored his second three minutes later to put Liverpool ahead at the break.

Trent Alexander Arnold was having a torrid game and put the ball through his own net but his blushes were spared after a Leeds player was adjudged to be offside.

But Leeds were not to be denied their equaliser as Mateusz Klich drew them level once again after 66 minutes but Liverpool rallied and exerted pressure as they pursued a winner.

The Reds mounted laid siege to the Leeds goal and thought their efforts had been rewarded when Van Dijk reacted quickly to score from a set-piece but the effort was ruled out for a foul by Neco Williams in the box.

With time running out and with Leeds camped in their box, substitute Rodrigo who was making his debut felled Fabinho in the box and Salah stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way and decide a real thriller between the winners of the top two divisions in English football last season.

Much has been made about Liverpool’s lack of reinforcements but Klopp will be more concerned about their poor defending and the uncharacteristic errors from the normally reliable van Dijk.

It was first view of Marcelo Bielsa in the English topflight after two seasons in the Championship and the evidence on display at Anfield portrayed a Leeds that will be more than a handful for opponents this season.