It solely wants three phrases to sum up this sport.
Soccer is again.
If this Four-Three win for the English champions is an indication of issues to come back, then deliver it on. The Premier League returned at Anfield, with not a lot a bang as an industrial-scale explosion.
Welcome again to the massive time, Leeds United.
If Liverpool needed a sport as an instance simply how troublesome it is going to be to retain their league crown, then this was it. Marcelo Bielsa’s males, taking part in within the top-flight for the primary time in 16 years, gave the champions an almighty examination, and an almighty scare.
Thrice, Leeds fell behind. Thrice, they picked themselves up off the canvas to land a right-hand of their very own.
And 3 times, it should be stated, they discovered that Liverpool’s chin shouldn’t be what it as soon as was. Jurgen Klopp has promised the Reds will assault their title defence, and on this proof he was proper.
They had been irresistible at occasions going ahead, however the much less stated about their defending the higher. Actually, this didn’t appear like the division’s meanest, or extra assured, backline.
Happily, although, they’ve Mohamed Salah. Break glass for emergencies. Liverpool broke the glass, Salah broke the web. As soon as, twice, 3 times. The Egyptian was magnificent, and completed the sport clutching the match ball – solely the fourth participant in membership historical past to take action within the first sport of a league season, and the primary since John Aldridge in 1988.
He likes a purpose on the opening weekend, does Salah. He scored for Liverpool in 2017, 2018 and 2019, however he saved his greatest for 2020. He hasn’t appeared this sharp for some time. Leeds, and the overworked Stuart Dallas particularly, couldn’t deal with him.
“Are watching a pc sport right here?!” Jamie Carragher, commentating for Sky Sports activities, had requested throughout a madcap first half.
Liverpool had been forward inside 5 minutes, Salah successful and changing a penalty, however they had been something however convincing towards a Leeds facet that confirmed no inferiority complicated in any way. Bielsa’s facet got here to assault, they usually had been rewarded for his or her journey.
Jack Harrison, on mortgage from Manchester Metropolis, made it 1-1 after which Patrick Bamford, prime scorer within the promotion marketing campaign final day trip, levelled after Virgil van Dijk had headed Liverpool briefly again forward. Van Dijk’s error, too informal when coping with a ball over his shoulder, summed up the house facet’s blended night.
Salah, although, was as vivid as a button. Repeatedly he spun away from Dallas down the Liverpool proper. He was switched on, robust and fast, and when the ball dropped at his toes within the 33rd minute he unleashed the strike of the evening, a left-foot thunderbolt into the highest nook of the web.
Liverpool actually ought to have killed the sport after that, however discovered Roberto Firmino and Gini Wijnaldum wasteful in good positions. Salah saved plugging, saved pushing Leeds again, however the guests discovered a 3rd equaliser, and a well-taken one at that, when Mateusz Klich fired dwelling.
Might they maintain out? Might they even turn out to be the primary visiting staff to win at Anfield within the league since April 2017?
No, they couldn’t. Substitute Rodrigo Moreno, a big-money signing from Valencia, hadn’t learn the script. He clattered into Fabinho, a Liverpool alternative, three minutes from time, permitting Salah to finish his hat-trick.
Reduction all spherical for Liverpool, who know they might want to tighten up if they’re to persuade the doubters they will go once more this season. They are going to hope, although, that it is going to be some time earlier than a staff involves Anfield and does what Leeds did right here.
The excellent news is that they begin with three factors, and three targets for his or her Egyptian King.
Mo Salah is at it once more. Liverpool are successful once more.
Soccer, completely, is again.