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Liverpool wins late again after blowing three leads to Leeds

Mohamed Salah's hat trick propelled Liverpool past newly promoted Leeds United in a season-opening instant classic at Anfield.

Liverpool - Leeds: Mohamed Salah scored two penalties as part of a hat trick as Liverpool overcame three blown leads in a 4-3 win over Leeds United at Anfield on Saturday.

[ MORE: Klopp reacts to win ]

Mohamed Salah scored his 95th, 96th, and 97th Liverpool goals, while Virgil van Dijk scored, too, but Leeds scored on three of its five shots as it was 3-3 until the 88th minute.

That’s when Rodrigo fouled Fabinho in the box for the Reds’ second penalty.

Former NYCFC star Jack Harrison scored for Leeds as did Patrick Bamford as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Van Dijk had dicey defensive moments in the first half hour. The Reds lost track of Mateusz Klich en route to Leeds’ third equalizer, a beautiful goal in its own right.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]

The Reds have not kept a clean sheet in seven-straight competitions between the Premier League and a Community Shield loss to Arsenal, but will be relieved to have the win.

Liverpool next faces Chelsea while Leeds hosts Fulham.

3 things we learned from Liverpool - Leeds

1. Dicey defense continues for Reds: If Liverpool’s defense still needed a wake-up call after a lackluster end to their title-winning season and a Community Shield loss to Arsenal, Leeds gave them it in the first half hour. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez were both at fault when Harrison made it 1-1 for Leeds and Van Dijk made a colossal awareness error to give Bamford a route past Alisson Becker. The third goal featured lackluster pressure from Andy Robertson and disorganization from Van Dijk and Gomez (and a great finish from Klich).

It’s going to have to be better and soon, because next week’s opponent Chelsea has played the Reds very well in four meetings during the 2019-20 fixture list (three won by Liverpool with a combined score line of 9-8.

2. Special Salah starts well: The penalty was clinically taken but the second goal is what will give Reds fans hope that Salah can return from a good scoring season to a great one. Salah saw his chance when a ball fell to him in the 18 and he smashed it into the upper 90.

Salah’s gone from 44 to 27 to 23 goals in all competitions over the past three seasons. Not one of those constitutes a bad campaign considering he collected 41 assists in that span, but the Reds will find a new level if he returns to 30-plus goals.

3. Leeds entertains in return with American links: Former NYCFC man Jack Harrison’s sensational goal was Leeds’ first Premier League goal in 16-plus years and he was soon joined on the score sheet by Patrick Bamford as the Peacocks twice leveled the score line in the first half. The third goal was wonderful. Marcelo Bielsa’s men have a lot of expectations in their return to the Premier League. Clearly they also have a lot of work to do, but the entertainment was a great start.

Man of the Match


Liverpool - Leeds recap

The Reds were all over the new boys right away and earned a penalty for a handball that sent Salah to the spot for a fourth-minute opener.

Leeds had the ball in the goal within four minutes but Helder Costa was just offside before turning and slotting home.

That was foreshadowing as Kalvin Phillips set up ex-Wake Forest and NYCFC player Jack Harrison made Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez look foolish.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Liverpool - Leeds

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool reacts after conceding during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on September 12, 2020 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Liverpool restored order off a corner kick, Van Dijk racing into the box to head through an unprepared Illan Meslier.

But Bamford equalized again before the match was a half-hour old when Van Dijk didn’t realize the striker was next to him. The Dutchman’s poor clearance attempt was soon in the back of the goal. Ugly.

Fortunately for the Reds, Salah remains a part of their team. The Egyptian took a loose ball in the 18 and fired a laser into the top of the goal for his 75th Liverpool goal in the Premier League (He also has two with Chelsea).

Meslier made a good save on Georginio Wijnaldum to start the second half.

At the other end, Alisson thwarted a promising Stuart Dallas move before Liverpool countered and Sadio Mane blazed over the goal.

Leeds got its third equalizer with a tremendous finish from Klich, who took a Costa pass that wasn’t challenged by Andy Robertson and missed by Van Dijk and did tidy work to make it 3-3.

Van Dijk had it 4-3 when he scored from in-close off a free kick but a grab on his marker was spotted and the goal did not stay on the scoreboard.

A sloppy foul from substitute Rodrigo allowed Fabinho to hit the deck and send Salah to the line for another fine penalty.

We could show you the penalty, but really the Klich goal is the better view: