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Salah hat-trick saves Liverpool, Arsenal cruise as Premier League returns

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Liverpool and Arsenal got off to winning starts with victories over promoted sides on the opening day of the new English Premier League (EPL) season on Saturday.

Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick, including two penalty kicks, as champions Liverpool won a seven-goal thriller against the hugely impressive Leeds United at Anfield.

The Egyptian grabbed the win from the penalty kick spot in the 88th minute of a 4-3 victory.

Arsenal enjoyed a more comfortable opening day with a 3-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Crystal Palace beat Southampton 1-0 with Wilfried Zaha on target.

Liverpool took just four minutes to get on target.

Leeds United debutant German defender Robin Koch was ruled to have handled a Salah shot and the Egyptian blasted home the penalty kick.

Jack Harrison equalised for Leeds United eight minutes later with a fine solo goal before Liverpool restored their lead in the 20th minute.

Virgil van Dijk was left unmarked to head in an Andy Robertson corner kick.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side, back in the top flight after a 16-year absence, rallied again with Patrick Bamford slotting home after Van Dijk had failed to deal with a ball over the top.

Salah blasted Liverpool back in front, 12 minutes before the break, but Leeds United hit back for a third time through Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich who made it 3-3.

Liverpool secured the points in the 88th minute with another Salah penalty kick after substitute Rodrigo Moreno clumsily brought down Fabinho.

“What a game, what an opponent, what a performance from both teams. A proper spectacle, I loved that,” said Klopp.

“It is pretty rare you see that many goals in a game and we have left space for improvement in our defending. But that is not unusual for a first game,” added the German.

Liverpool are now unbeaten in 60 straight league games at Anfield —– the kind of consistency Mikel Arteta must dream about at Arsenal.

But the Gunners at least took care of business in West London.

Alexander Lacazette fired the visitors ahead in the eighth minute after poor defending by the home side, before new signing Gabriel made it 2-0 in the 49th minute.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the icing on the cake with a superb shot into the top corner.

Crystal Palace forward Zaha scored his 50th league goal for the club as they beat Southampton 1-0.

The win secured a home victory on the opening day of a Premier League campaign for the first time.

The hosts went ahead against the run of play.

Zaha, who had managed only one goal in his previous 21 games, met Andros Townsend’s pin-point cross from the right with a side-footed volley past goalkeeper Alex McCarthy in the 13th minute.

Southampton defender Kyle Walker-Peters was shown a straight red for a high challenge before referee Jon Moss changed it to a yellow following the intervention of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

In Saturday’s late game, new signings Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick both got on the scoresheet for Newcastle United as they won 2-0 away to West Ham United.

Hendrick set Wilson up for the opening goal in the 56th minute with a clever flick, before thumping home a shot shortly before full time to secure all three points.

On Sunday Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur take on Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton, while West Bromwich Albion take on 2016 champions Leicester City in the day’s early kick-off.

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