Salah nets historic hat-trick as Liverpool overcome Leeds in thrilling PL opener

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah takes the match ball as he walks off with Liverpool’s Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker after their English Premier League football match against Leeds United at Anfield. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE/POOL/AFP)

Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick as Liverpool began the defence of their Premier League title with a thrilling 4-3 win against newly-promoted Leeds United at Anfield on Saturday.

Salah’s two penalties, including the one which won the game, and a sublime volley, together with Virgil van Dijk’s goal saw the defending champions edge a seven-goal thriller after Leeds had thrice fought back from a goal down.

It meant that Salah became the first Liverpool player in Premier League history to score a hat-trick on the opening day.

Salah is also the first Liverpool player ever to score on the opening day of four consecutive league seasons.

Victory also saw Liverpool extend their unbeaten home run to 60 matches in the Premier League.

Elsewhere, Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was among the scorers as Arsenal continued their fine start to the season with a 3-0 win against newly-promoted Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Salah and Aubameyang, winners of the Golden Boot during the 2018/2019 season, still face competition from last season’s winner Jamie Vardy who, like Salah, scored two penalties as Leicester City beat West Bromwich Albion 3-0.

Meanwhile, Côte d’Ivoire winger Wilfried Zaha scored the only goal of the game as Crystal Palace began the season with a 1-0 win against Southampton at Selhurst Park.

It was Zaha’s 60th league goal involvement (37 goals, 23 assists) for Palace in the Premier League, which is more than any player for the club in the league.

Palace’s win also saw other Africans such as Senegal’s Cheikou Kouyate (Senegal) and Ghanaians Jeffrey Schlupp and Jordan Ayew enjoy a winning start.

In other games, new signings Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick scored as Newcastle United beat West Ham United 2-0 while Everton defeated Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 thanks to Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal.

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