LIVERPOOL, England - 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, who had fought back from behind three times.
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 and the Egyptian blasted home the spot-kick.
But eight minutes later Jack Harrison 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.
But Marcelo Bielsa’s side, back in the top flight after a 16-year absence, showed their resolve again with Patrick Bamford slotting home after Van Dijk had uncharacteristically failed to deal with a ball over the top, his casual attempt to control the ball finding the Leeds striker with keeper Alisson out of position.
Salah, sporting a new short hair-cut, blasted Liverpool back in front, 12 minutes before the break, when he pounced on an attempted header clear from Pascal Struijk with a first-time shot which gave Illan Meslier no chance.
Van Dijk had the ball in the net, blasting in from close range after a free-kick only for it to be ruled out for a foul by substitute Curtis Jones on Koch.
But Liverpool secured the points in the 88th minute with another Salah penalty after Rodrigo Moreno clumsily brought down Fabino.