Liverpool beat Leeds in thriller, Arsenal trump Fulham


Leeds will feel unlucky to lose to a late penalty, but showed they should have enough to survive with ease in the Premier League.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) in action against Leeds United | Photo: Twitter @premierleague

London: Liverpool kicked off their title defense with a thrilling 4-3 win over newly promoted Leeds United as Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick at home.

Leeds will feel unlucky to lose to a late penalty, but showed they should have enough to survive with ease in the Premier League.

The Yorkshire side's return to the top-flight after a 16-year absence got off to the worst start when defender Robin Koch was penalized for a handball and Mohamed Salah slotted home the resulting penalty kick, Xinhua news agency reports.

Jack Harrison drew Leeds level after 12 minutes on a pass from Kalvin Phillips, but Virgil van Dijk's powerful header in the 21st minute from an Andy Robertson cross following a corner put Liverpool back in front.

Once again Leeds equalized in what was turning into a hugely entertaining game, as Patrick Bamford slammed in a right foot shot on the half-hour, but just three minutes later Salah' second goal of the match made it 3-2.

Leeds fought back for a third time with a wonderful goal from Matheusz Klick, who controlled a ball from Helder Costa with his first touch before producing an unstoppable volley with his second in the 65th minute.

Liverpool began to push Leeds back but the newcomers were holding on until new signing James Rodrigo committed a needless penalty to allow Salah to seal a thrilling win and complete his hat-trick.

The first goal of the new season was scored by Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette to help his side to a comfortable 3-0 win away to Fulham, who received notice of the difficulties awaiting them on their return to the Premier League.

New Arsenal signing Willian chipped in with two assists as Gabriel, another Brazilian debutant, netted the second with a header shortly after the break before Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rounded off an easy win before the hour.

The defeat means Fulham have now lost a record 11 consecutive London derbies in the top flight.

Crystal Palace's Wilfred Zaha needed 13 games to get off the mark last season, but needed just 13 minutes this time around as he scored the only goal of the game in his side's 1-0 win over Southampton, who were nowhere near their best in south London and rarely troubled a well-organized home defense.

Palace had ended last season with a run of eight games without a win and this victory was exactly what coach Roy Hodgson needed.

West Ham struggled last season and look like they could have problems this time as well after losing 2-0 at home to Newcastle United, who took the points with goals from new signings Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendricks. Hendricks, who arrived from Burnley, had not had a shot on target since November before his goal four minutes from time.

IANS

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