Mohamed Salah was the hat-trick hero as Liverpool eked out a narrow 4-3 win over a spirited Leeds United side at Anfield on Saturday.

Liverpool were off the mark quickly, as Mohamed Salah converted from the spot in the 4th minute after Robin Koch had handled the ball in his own box. However, Leeds hit back soon after, as Jack Harrison scored a wonderful solo goal from the edge of the Liverpool box.

As the first period neared its halfway mark, the Reds were ahead for a second time, as Virgil van Dijk powered in a header from Andrew Robertson’s corner. But, the Dutchman gifted Leeds a second equaliser at the half hour mark. Almost immediately, though, Liverpool led for a third time, with Salah scoring a thumping half volley from close range.

Leeds, though, had no intention of giving up and with a quarter of a game still to go, the scores were level yet again, as Mateusz Klich scored a powerfully driven shot from inside the Liverpool box. As the game neared full-time, it seemed like the spoils will be shared at Anfield. However, a ridiculous gaffe by Leeds new boy Rodrigo Moreno would give the champions all three points.

The Spanish international fouled Fabinho inside his own box. Salah stepped up to take another penalty, and he buried another penalty, as Liverpool just about scraped all three points. While the Reds retraced back to their ways of last season, The Hard Tackle runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men after a truly thrilling encounter.

Alisson Becker: 5/10

This was a game in which Alisson barely had anything to do. The Brazilian did well to deny Patrick Bamford a sight at goal by not letting the Leeds United striker round him. But, Bamford did get the better of him a second time, when he went to ground too early.

Jack Harrison’s strike in the 12th minute was too sweet, but Alisson could arguably have been positioned better to block the effort on his near post. Could not have done anything to deny Mateusz Klick, whose driven effort was practically impossible to save.

Trent Alexander-Arnold: 5/10

Back into the side after proving his fitness, Alexander-Arnold endured one of his most difficult outings in recent times. Having had no pre-season at all, it was clear that the young full-back was off the pace, and massively so.

Given a hiding by Harrison for Leeds United’s first, the Englishman struggled at the back all game long. But, it was his anonymity on the opposite side of the pitch that was extremely surprising. On the ball, he hardly posed a threat, while his passing rate of 68 percent was abysmal to say the least. Will hope to rediscover his best touch quickly.

Joe Gomez: 5/10

Preferred to Joel Matip at the heart of the Liverpool defence, Gomez had a hit and miss game. While he did get the better of Patrick Bamford a few times, he was overpowered by the Leeds striker on a couple of occasions. Having said that, Gomez was also sold short by partner Virgil van Dijk on a number of occasions. Should have done better to stop Harrison in his tracks.

Virgil van Dijk: 4/10

Absolutely woeful. Liverpool’s defensive leader had a game to forget, but it did not start that way. While he was nowhere to be seen when Alisson denied a chance, van Dijk was not to be blamed for the first Leeds goal. He scored a goal of his own, nodding in from Andrew Robertson’s corner. However, he switched off a couple of minutes later to gift Bamford a free goal.

At fault once again when Leeds equalised for a third time, van Dijk was caught out of position which allowed Klich to have the time and space to score.Β The goal he scored absolutely does not atone for his misgivings at the back, although judging by his exploits in the last couple of seasons, this might be an anomaly.

Andrew Robertson: 7/10

The only Liverpool defender who can hold his head up high after a difficult day at work for the rest of his partners at the back. Robertson kept a check on Helder Costa for the most part, although he could have closed the Portuguese down better. Was solid otherwise, at the back.

Going forward, Robertson posed a far greater threat than Alexander-Arnold and provided the assist for van Dijk’s goal. A solid start to the season for the Scottish international.

Naby Keita: 6/10

With Jordan Henderson back in the side, it was a bit surprising to see Naby Keita starting ahead of Fabinho. The Guinean midfielder had a decent enough game, though, winning the personal duel with Pablo Hernandez while misplacing just 5 passes all game. Could have influenced proceedings better in the final third, especially with Alexander-Arnold not at his best.

Jordan Henderson: 5/10

Like Alexander-Arnold, Henderson proved his fitness to earn a place in the starting lineup. And just like Alexander-Arnold, the Liverpool captain was clearly not quite there yet, having been absent from the pre-season games.

While he did keep things tight in the middle for much of his stay on the pitch, Henderson was a bit sloppy in possession, losing the ball 10 times. Klopp needs his captain to be back to his best soon enough, with games coming thick and fast.

Georginio Wijnaldum: 5/10

Another Liverpool midfielder who failed to make his mark. With the Barcelona rumours hovering over him, Wijnaldum looked to concentrate on the job at hand against Leeds. While he typically kept things simple in the middle of the park, the Dutch international had one or two hairy moments off the ball.

One of them was the instance when Klich scored the third Leeds goal, as Wijnaldum lost track of his opposite number. Had a chance to score a goal himself, but it wasn’t to be for him. Will he stay at Liverpool? Reports suggest that he wants to and has held positive talks with Klopp over the same.

Mohamed Salah: 9/10

The player to watch in our preview, Salah was quite comfortably the best player on the pitch across both sides. After missing out on the Golden Boot last season, it seems like Salah is hell bent on making amends this term. He started with a powerful penalty down the middle before scoring from a thunderous half volley to complete his brace.

In between, Salah could have also had a couple of assists, only to see Sadio Mane squander those chances. Eventually, the Egyptian winger took matters into his own hands, scoring from the spot for a second time to bag the match ball, courtesy his third Premier League hat-trick. The man for all occasions at Liverpool.

Roberto Firmino: 6/10

Firmino was one of the better players for Liverpool on the day, but that does not say much. On a personal level, the Brazilian was still off his best. While his link-up play remains a stuff of delight, there was very little he did otherwise, with his struggles in front of goal at Anfield continuing. Poor decision-making meant he was a non-factor inside the box. Needs to sort those issues out.

Sadio Mane: 5/10

This was a game in which Mane could have had a lot more. But, he went home empty handed after a dreadful performance in the final third. While the Senegalese did provide the spark in and around the Leeds box, his finishing was dreadful. Linked up well with his teammates, however, playing in 4 key passes. But, he needs to have his scoring boots on next weekend.

SUBSTITUTES

Fabinho: 7/10

On for Keita at the hour mark, Fabinho had a rare off day, much like the rest of the Liverpool midfielders. However, his rating gets bumped because of the role he played in the match-winning goal, winning the penalty after being fouled by Leeds striker Rodrigo Moreno.

Curtis Jones: 6/10

Jones was the second substitute, illustrating his growing importance in the Liverpool side. The young midfielder replaced Henderson and had a couple of promising moments higher up the pitch. However, there were other instances that showed just how much he still has to learn. A good game to do so, though.

Joel Matip: N/A

A late introduction, Matip helped see the game out.

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