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Liverpool edged Leeds in a seven-goal thriller at Anfield this evening to get their Premier League title defence off to a winning start.
Jurgen Klopp spoke of his reluctance to face Leeds before tonight’s curtain raiser and a frantic opening 45 minutes on Merseyside proved exactly why, with the first five goals of this classic encounter coming inside the first 33 minutes.
Mohamed Salah needed just four to fire the Reds in front, tucking the ball home from the penalty spot when new Whites defender Robin Koch was deemed to have handled the ball inside the area, but eight minutes later Jack Harrison produced a stunning finish to draw the visitors level.
Virgil van Dijk restored Liverpool’s lead in the 20th minute, before an uncharacteristic mistake from the Dutchman allowed Patrick Bamford to make it 2-2.
Three minutes later Salah thundered home a sensational effort to edge the hosts ahead once more, yet with 25 minutes remaining Mateusz Klich pounced in the box and swept the ball past Alisson.
Nevertheless, it was late heartbreak for Leeds when Rodrigo brought down Fabinho in the box, allowing Salah to bag his hat-trick from the spot in the last two minutes of the game.
Daily Star Sport have picked out winners and losers from both sides after what proved a pulsating opening encounter at Anfield.
The Egyptian was at his typical breathtaking best in front of goal tonight, cooly converting from 12 yards to get Liverpool off to a flyer.
He was on hand with a spectacular finish from inside the box when Bamford’s equaliser cranked up the pressure, before tucking away another vital penalty late on.
Leeds’ opening goal at Anfield was one for Harrison to savour.
The 23-year-old picked up the ball on the left-hand side and left Trent Alexander-Arnold for dead before finding the bottom corner. A marvellous finish on his Premier League debut.
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While Harrison will rightly take most of the credit for that terrific opening strike, Phillips’ inch-perfect pass from deep inside his own half allowed his Whites team-mate to come up with the goods.
The youngster was generally impressive in the middle of the park, more than justifying his recent England call-up.
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It was an evening to forget for Alexander-Arnold, who was beaten far too easily by Harrison for Leeds’ first goal.
Klopp will be hoping it was a rare off-night from his talented young full-back, with a crucial trip to potential title rivals Chelsea to come in their next outing a week on Sunday.
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Virgil van Dijk
Branding the Reds centre-back a loser is perhaps harsh given he got on the scoresheet, but his sluggish defending allowed Bamford to convert.
Much like Alexander-Arnold, Klopp will demand much more from him when they make the trip to Stamford Bridge next week.
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The likes of Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are hardly ideal opponents to kickstart your Premier League career against, yet Koch will want to put his Leeds debut to the back of his mind fairly quickly.
The newly-signed defender’s handball gave Salah the chance to open the scoring early on, and he was also caught napping when Van Dijk added Liverpool’s second from a corner.
- Liverpool FC
- Leeds United FC
- Premier League
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