Arab Times

Liver­pool edge Leeds in thriller

- Sports · Soccer · Premier League (England) · Liverpool Football Club · Liverpool · Leeds United A.F.C. · England national football team · England · Mohamed Salah · Marcelo Bielsa · Egypt · Virgil van Dijk · Patrick Bamford · Arsenal F.C. · Willian Borges da Silva · Fulham F.C. · Fulham · Mikel John Obi · London · Chelsea F.C. · Chelsea · Alexandre Lacazette · Lille · Crystal Palace F.C. · Southampton F.C. · Andros Townsend · Anfield · Egypt national football team · Mikel Arteta · Lille OSC · Wilfried Zaha · Selhurst Park · James Tomkins · Gary Cahill · Patrick van Aanholt · Michy Batshuayi · Roy Hodgson

LIVER­POOL, Eng­land, Sept 12, (AP): Mo­hamed Salah con­verted an 88thminute penalty to com­plete his hat trick and se­cure Liver­pool a thrilling 4-3 win over Leeds in a wob­bly start to their English Pre­mier League ti­tle de­fense on Satur­day.

Leeds came from be­hind three times as the pro­moted side – man­aged by sto­ried Ar­gen­tine coach Marcelo Bielsa – took the game to the cham­pi­ons at an empty An­field.

Just when the vis­i­tors looked like claim­ing a point, new sign­ing Ro­drigo – on as a sub­sti­tute – fouled Fabinho in the area and Salah side­footed home the re­sult­ing spot kick.

The Egypt for­ward opened the scor­ing in the fourth minute, also from the penalty spot af­ter a hand­ball, to en­sure he has net­ted in the first game of a Pre­mier League for the fourth straight year.

Jack Harrison grabbed Leeds’ first equal­izer in the 12th minute af­ter con­trol­ling a search­ing ball for­ward, cut­ting in­side, and fir­ing a low shot past Alis­son.

Vir­gil van Dijk re­gained the lead for Liver­pool with a header from a cor­ner in the 20th, only to fail to cut out a long pass 10 min­utes later, al­low­ing Pa­trick Bam­ford to slot home a fin­ish.

Salah gave Liver­pool a half­time lead with a fierce shot high into the net in the 33rd, but Leeds con­tin­ued to bravely go toe-to-toe and equal­ized through Ma­teusz Klich in the 58th.

Salah had the fi­nal say, though, with

SOC­CER

his sec­ond penalty of the game. Open­ing day glory for Ar­se­nal, and with Brazil­ian duo Wil­lian and Gabriel in­stantly mak­ing a dif­fer­ence on their de­buts.

Not ev­ery op­po­nents Ar­se­nal face dur­ing the rest of the sea­son will, how­ever, be as easy to roll past as Ful­ham were.

For now, Mikel Arteta will sa­vor open­ing his first full English Pre­mier League as man­ager with a 3-0 vic­tory pro­duced by a trio of as­sists from Wil­lian, in­clud­ing for Gabriel’s sec­ond-half header.

Wil­lian was back in west Lon­don where nearby Chelsea re­leased the 32-year-old winger at the end of last sea­son, which ended only seven weeks ago due to dis­rup­tion caused by the pan­demic.

The free sign­ing took just eight min­utes to make an im­pact with a closerange shot par­ried by goal­keeper Marek Ro­dak and tapped in by Alexan­dre La­cazette.

It was a cor­ner from Wil­lian four min­utes into the sec­ond half that al­lowed Gabriel to claim a goal to cap a com­mand­ing de­fen­sive dis­play. The cen­ter back, who joined from Lille for 30 mil­lion eu­ros ($35 mil­lion), ben­e­fited from slack de­fend­ing him­self as he was left un­marked to head into the net.

The third goal came from a player

Ar­se­nal fans are wait­ing on con­fir­ma­tion will be stay­ing be­yond this sea­son. This was an­other re­minder of the qual­ity of Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang, who faced lit­tle re­sis­tance af­ter meet­ing Wil­lian’s pass, be­fore cut­ting in and curl­ing into the top cor­ner.

Crys­tal Palace de­fied a lengthy in­jury list to beat Southamp­ton 1-0 in their open­ing match of the English Pre­mier League thanks to Wil­fried Zaha’s early goal.

Zaha di­rected home a cush­ioned vol­ley in the 13th minute af­ter be­ing picked out by a deep cross from An­dros Townsend at an empty Sel­hurst Park.

Palace fielded a heav­ily patched-up de­fense be­cause of in­juries to cen­ter backs James Tomkins, Gary Cahill and Ma­madou Sakho and full backs Pa­trick van Aan­holt and Nathan Fer­gu­son. Off­sea­son sign­ings Eberechi Eze and Michy Bat­shuayi weren’t deemed ready to start, ei­ther, by man­ager Roy Hodgson.

 ??  ?? Liver­pool’s Vir­gil van Dijk and Leeds United’s Ma­teusz Klich fight for the ball dur­ing the English Pre­mier League soc­cer match be­tween Liver­pool and
Leeds United at the An­field sta­dium in Liver­pool on Sept 12. (AP)
Liver­pool’s Vir­gil van Dijk and Leeds United’s Ma­teusz Klich fight for the ball dur­ing the English Pre­mier League soc­cer match be­tween Liver­pool and Leeds United at the An­field sta­dium in Liver­pool on Sept 12. (AP)

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