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Liverpool 4, Leeds United 3 - Match Recap: Liverpool Win Thrilling Opening Day Goalfest

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A last minute penalty from Mo Salah wins the game for the Reds in the final minutes.

Liverpool v Leeds United - Premier League Photo by Phil Noble - Pool/Getty Images

Liverpool vs. Leeds United

Liverpool: Salah 3’ (pen), 32’, 88’ (pen), Van Dijk 19’
Leeds United: Harrison 11’, Bamford 29’, Klich 65’

Pre-Match

Big news from Liverpool’s starting line-up is that Jordan Henderson has been deemed fit enough to start despite some uncertainty beforehand. Otherwise, it’s a largely expected starting XI from Klopp.

First Half

GOAL! Salah 3’ (pen)

The game has barely begun before Mohamed Salah has his shot illegally blocked by a very obvious arm. Salah stands on the spot to take the penalty himself and scores Liverpool’s first goal of the season before we’ve even reached the five minute mark.

Leeds United seemed to have woken up thanks to that early disaster, and they’ve started creating more chances. Warning bells are set off for Liverpool when Leeds have a goal called off for offside a few minutes later.

Goal :( - Harrison 11’ - That’s the goal that Leeds were looking for since they conceded. It was well worked by Jack Harrison, but assisted by some slow defending from Liverpool.

Back and forth, back and forth and on and on we go. It’s Liverpool’s turn to have a goal overturned for offside. This time it was Sadio Mane, who took advantage of the Leeds’ keeper being out of his area to loft the ball in. However, an earlier offside offense negates the resulting goal, and it’s a goal kick to Leeds.

GOAL!!! Van Dijk 19’ - Andy Robertson gets the advantage in the constant assist-battle between him and fellow fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold. His corner finds van Dijk’s head with ease. The Dutchman thundered forward in completely open space to nod the ball home at close range.

This has been a very entertaining match all around. Leeds, to their credit, look dangerous every time they go forward, but Liverpool has so far been up to the challenge.

Goal :( - Bamford 29’ - Woof, woof, van Dijk makes a terrible mistake. He tries to flick away a pass and ends up sending the ball right to the feet of Patrick Bamford, who clips it over Alisson’s head. What the heck is going on with our defense today?

Illan Meslier gets what might actually be the save of the season, and it was against his own defender. Pascal Struijik attempts a headed clearance that goes terribly wrong (or right, depending on your perspective) and nearly nestles into the top corner of his goal. Meslier dives and gets fingertips on it to avoid catastrophe.

GOALL! Salah 32’ - What is this game?? Moments later, and another set piece leads to Liverpool’s third goal and Salah’s second. A Liverpool free-kick gets only half-cleared to Salah, who takes a touch and then sends a rocket into the roof of the net. This recap is going to end up being 1500 words long if things keep going like this.

The first half ends with Liverpool in the lead and a full 15 minutes without anyone scoring a goal. I’m going to do some quick finger stretches to prepare for the next half.

Second Half

No changes as the second half begin. Liverpool start off strong with a good chance in the opening minutes. Firmino crosses the ball neatly to Wijnaldum, but the shot is blocked on the line by Meslier.

Leeds haven’t let up either, and a sloppy pass by from Mane leads to a dangerous counteract that thankfully fizzles out.

Van Dijk nearly gets another header off of a promising corner, but the shot is over the bar.

Trent Alexander-Arnold gets a reprieve as he heads the ball into his own net, but the mistake is disallowed for offside.

Fabinho has replaced Keita, which should hopefully aid the defense, because right now they are struggling.

Curtis Jones replaces Henderson, who still doesn’t look 100%. Nice to see Jones get an opportunity, but it will be interesting to see how the team hold the defense without —

Goal :( - 65’ Klich - Never mind, moments after Henderson’s departure, the center-backs lose focus and let Klich sweep in, take a touch and score the equalizer.

79’ - Van Dijk gets yet another goal called off. This time it’s an excellent header from a corner, called back because of a foul in the box by Jones.

Time is ticking down here as Liverpool look for their fourth goal to reclaim the lead. They are pushing forward, but so far have found no luck in their chase.

GOALLL! 88’ Salah (pen) - And finally they get the breakthrough. Fabinho gets obviously tripped in the box, earning Liverpool their second penalty of the game. Salah steps up and coolly completes his hat trick.

Final Thoughts

Liverpool manage to win the game with only a few minutes to spare. A thrilling match and excellent three points, but I’m not very happy with the defensive performance.