Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick for Liverpool as they began their title defence with a thrilling 4-3 win over Leeds United.
The Egyptian opened the scoring in the 4th minute, converting from the penalty spot after Leeds defender Robin Koch handled in the 18-yard area.
Salah also fired in a left-footed volley in the 33rd minute, before completing a man-of-the-match performance in the 88th minute, slotting home another penalty to secure victory for Liverpool, in what was an entertaining encounter that saw five goals scored in the first half, and four cancelled during the course of the game.
“Without fans it’s so tough – especially at Anfield, everybody knows thag. But it’s a good start for us,” Salah told Sky Sports after the game.
“A tough team, they press high as well, so the intensity was really high. We had a good game.”
Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk also got on the score sheet for Liverpool, heading in a corner from Andrew Robertson to restore their lead (2-1) with only 20 minutes played – after Jack Harrison had drew Leeds United level in the 12th minute.
It was Leeds’ first game back in the Premier League in 16 years, and last season’s English Championship winners also got goals from striker Patrick Bamford (in the 30th minute), with another in the 66th by Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich.
But they fell behind for the fourth time in the game, after a late foul in the box by substitute Rodrigo on Liverpool’s Fabinho.
And Salah, made no mistake from the spot, sending Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier the wrong way.
“We shouldn’t have conceded three but this is the game, we have to react for that and we did a good job.” He continued.
“I’m happy about the result and we have to keep improving and try not to concede as many goals.”
Liverpool’s other African contingent – Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Baby Keita of Guinea were also on the started line-up against Leeds at Anfield, with Cameroon’s Joel Matip brought in as a late substitute.
The three goals scored by Salah sees him start the new Premier League season as top scorer, and his Liverpool side will take on Chelsea at Stamford bridge for their second league fixture next Sunday, 20 September.