Leeds United have completed the signing of Diego Llorente from Real Sociedad for a reported £18.7million (€20m).

Sociedad announced on Tuesday that an agreement had been reached between the clubs and two days later Leeds confirmed Llorente had passed his medical and signed a four-year contract.

The 27-year-old is looking forward to working under Marcelo Bielsa and says he is ready to play against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday if required.

He told a news conference: "For me, this step is very important. I think that I am doing the right thing. I hope to help my team-mates and to improve my football.

"I want to learn a lot off the coach. I think we can have a great season and I will give my best.

"The coach has been an important factor to be here. I think I can learn a lot from him and improve my football, so it's an honour for me to train and learn from Marcelo.

"It was a difficult few days for me with a lot of change in a short time, but I am always ready to help the team. I'm always ready to help the coach if he wants me to play right now."

The former Real Madrid centre-back joined Sociedad in 2017 following successful loan spells at Rayo Vallecano and Malaga in LaLiga.

Spain international Llorente will likely have to compete with captain Liam Cooper and new signing Robin Koch for a starting place in the centre of defence.

Leeds have three points from their opening two Premier League games, having bounced back from losing 4-3 at Liverpool to defeat Fulham by the same scoreline.

Leeds United moved a step closer to the signing of Diego Llorente after Real Sociedad announced the teams have reached an agreement in principle.

The move is subject to Llorente passing a medical at Leeds in a deal that reportedly could reach £18.7million (€20m).

The former Real Madrid centre-back joined Sociedad in 2017 following successful loan spells at Rayo Vallecano and Malaga in LaLiga.

A statement issued by his club read: "Real Sociedad would like to thank Diego for the professionalism and commitment shown during the three years that he has been here, at the same time wishing him the best for his personal and professional future."

Spain international Llorente will likely have to compete with captain Liam Cooper and new signing Robin Koch for a starting place in the centre of defence.

Leeds have three points from their opening two Premier League games, having bounced back from losing 4-3 at Liverpool to defeat Fulham by the same scoreline.

The Premier League is in full swing after its second weekend of the 2020-21 season. How did we do without it for… about a month?

While fans remain barred from joining the players in the stadiums – which could yet be the case for much of the season – supporters are at least being treated to plenty of entertainment on TV.

The action certainly picked up where it left off from the previous week, as Saturday provided us with 21 goals across four matches, and that was followed by another 18 in Sunday's four – that's an average of nearly five per game.

Among those goals we saw James 'not Premier League proven' Rodriguez continue to impress and open his account for Everton, Wilfried Zaha down Manchester United and Son Heung-min score four, with each one set up by Harry Kane, remarkably.

An enthralling weekend brought about plenty of talking points and stats – read on for some of the quirkiest facts we could find with the help of Opta.

JAMES FINDS HIS RANGE

From the moment James arrived on Merseyside, the Colombian looked destined to provide plenty of excitement for Carlo Ancelotti's men.

His lovely 20-yard strike into the bottom-right corner during the Toffees' 5-2 win over West Brom meant 18 of his 53 goals scored in Europe's top five leagues have been from outside the penalty area. That's 34 per cent.

A fine record, though it's some way off the Premier League's deadliest from distance. Tom Huddlestone (10 of 12) has scored the greatest proportion of his top-flight goals (83.3 per cent) from outside the area among players to have reached double digits, while Frank Lampard (41) has the largest total.

 

DE GEA'S PENALTY WOES

When Zaha stepped up to a 74th-minute penalty in the hope of making it 2-0 to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, few will have been banking on David de Gea's chances of making a save – not because the Palace star is great from the spot, but because of the Spaniard's shocking record in such scenarios.

Stopping a penalty is obviously tough, that's literally the point, but, after conceding Zaha's, De Gea has saved just 7.1 per cent (two of 28), with Paul Robinson (three from 49 for 6.1 per cent) the only goalkeeper to have a worse record among those who've faced 25 or more in the Premier League.

By contrast, Simon Mignolet faced the same number as De Gea but produced six more saves, giving him a 28.6 per cent save rate.

 

AWAY DAYS IN 'GOD'S OWN COUNTRY'

Yorkshire, or 'God's own country' as it is playfully dubbed by locals, is usually renowned for being friendly and welcoming – but perhaps less so when football's involved.

The omens weren't great for Fulham ahead of Saturday's trip to Leeds United, and as it happened they lost 4-3 in a belting contest, meaning they have lost eight successive Premier League matches away to Yorkshire clubs since their first – a 1-0 win at Elland Road in 2002.

Of clubs from outside the region, only Oldham Athletic (0) have a worse points-per-game record than Fulham (0.33). Newcastle United boast the best record of teams to have played more than 10 matches in Yorkshire, winning 1.76 points on average across their 29 games.

In a blow to religion fans everywhere, the Red Devils also tend to do pretty well in 'God's own country' - United have averaged 1.68 points in their 34 Yorkshire away days, losing just nine.

 

KNOWING ME, KNOWING UNITED (ZAHA)

Zaha had the decisive impact against his former club United on Saturday, with his brace effectively the difference in the 3-1 win Palace deservedly clinched.

Not only were they his first goal involvements against United in the league, he became the first player to net a brace against the Red Devils having previously represented them in the competition.

Zaha is now the joint-most prolific former United player in games against them, having drawn level with Fraizer Campbell, Keith Gillespie, Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Danny Welbeck on two goals.

JAMAL LEWSES

Although Jamal Lewis impressed for Norwich City as they were relegated last season, he became rather familiar with home Premier League defeats and that has continued since moving to Newcastle.

A 3-0 loss to visitors Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday means Lewis has lost 12 of his 16 home matches in the top-flight – that's 75 per cent, and a joint-record for players with at least 15 home games played in the Premier League.

Kevin Kyle (20 games, 15 defeats) is other player with a 75 per cent losing rate, while Tommy Miller (18 games, 13 defeats – 72.2 per cent), Bruce Dyer (21 games, 15 defeats – 71.4 per cent) and Terence Kongolo (23 games, 16 defeats – 69.6 per cent) round out the bottom five.

Will Manchester City finally land Kalidou Koulibaly?

Pep Guardiola's City want defensive reinforcements and Napoli centre-back Koulibaly is reportedly at the top of the list.

If they are unsuccessful, Sevilla's Jules Kounde is next on the list.

 

TOP STORY – CITY NOT GIVING UP KOULIBALY

Manchester City are still in talks with Napoli to sign star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

City have been tipped to sign Koulibaly, who has also been linked to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

However, City are yet to reach an agreement with Napoli and Sevilla's Jules Kounde is the "backup option" but a bid has already been turned down.

 

ROUND-UP

- Romano says Wolves will complete the signing of Barcelona full-back Nelson Semedo on Monday. It comes as Barca eye Ajax defender Sergino Dest or Real Betis' Emerson to replace Semedo. Norwich City's Max Aarons has also been linked.

Milan have made Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic their number one defensive target ahead of Celtic centre-back Kristoffer Ajer, reports the Daily Record.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus are eyeing Real Madrid full-back Marcelo. The Brazilian has been repeatedly linked with a Cristiano Ronaldo reunion in Turin.

- The Telegraph says PSG are interested in Tottenham's Dele Alli. Out of favour under Jose Mourinho, Spurs are reportedly targeting Manchester United's Jesse Lingard as a replacement.

Roma remain interested in Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik but Madrid outcast Luka Jovic has emerged as 'Plan B', according to Calciomercato.

Leeds United are out of the race to sign Dinamo Zagreb sensation Josko Gvardiol, reports Romano. Wanted by Marcelo Bielsa, the Croatian teenager is now set for Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig.

Liverpool and Wolves could be involved in another deal, while Arsenal's shortlist reportedly includes four players.

Premier League champions Liverpool confirmed the signing of Diogo Jota from Wolves on Saturday, with Ki-Jana Hoever heading in the opposite direction.

But the business between the clubs may not end there.

 

TOP STORY – WOLVES TARGET OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN

Wolves are eyeing a move for Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, according to the Mirror.

The report comes after Liverpool signed star midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich earlier this week.

Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived at Anfield from Arsenal in 2017, and made 43 appearances in all competitions in 2019-20.

ROUND-UP

- Arsenal could strengthen further. The Express reports the Premier League club have Lyon star Houssem Aouar, Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey, Dijon goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson and Brentford shot-stopper David Raya on their shortlist.

- Staying in the Premier League and Goal reports Atletico Madrid attacker Thomas Lemar has interest from two clubs in England's top flight. Arsenal, Wolves and Everton have been linked with Lemar previously.

- Manchester City are reportedly close to signing a centre-back. AS reports the Premier League giants are close to sealing a deal for Sevilla's Jules Kounde, a 21-year-old who is a France youth international.

- Arturo Vidal is finally set to get his move to Inter. Fabrizio Romano reports Inter have agreed a €1million fee with Barcelona for the midfielder, while he also says veteran defender Diego Godin will join Cagliari next week.

- After almost signing Daniel James in 2019, Leeds United could be set for another move for the attacker. The Sun reports Leeds are planning a move for James, who joined Manchester United in 2019.

- Staying at Old Trafford and another exit is expected. The Sun says the Red Devils are looking for a new club for Sergio Romero with the goalkeeper upset about missing last month's Europa League semi-final loss to Sevilla.

Leeds United have signed winger Crysencio Summerville from Feyenoord. 

The 18-year-old, who never made a first-team appearance for the Eredivisie side, has signed a three-year deal with the club and will link up with the Under-23 squad.

He spent time on loan at ADO Den Haag last season, scoring two goals and supplying one assist in 22 appearances across all competitions. 

Leeds face Hull City in the EFL Cup on Wednesday before welcoming Fulham to Elland Road in the Premier League on Saturday.

 

Mohamed Salah turned on the style as Liverpool fended off Leeds United in a seven-goal thriller on the first day of the Premier League season.

The Reds' 4-3 victory over their promoted visitors came on the back of two penalties and a sumptuous finish from Salah, whose hat-trick was an opening-day rarity.

As last season's top-flight champions launched their season in dramatic style, so others began to show what they might offer in the months ahead.

FA Cup holders Arsenal are targeting a much-improved league campaign in 2020-21, and their 3-0 win at Fulham was a promising start, with new signing Willian playing a key role.

Crystal Palace made an early breakthrough and made it count against Southampton, while Newcastle United's recent investments began to pay off as they earned a win at West Ham. We take a look at that and more thanks to Opta.

Liverpool 4-3 Leeds United: Super Salah

Egyptian striker Salah became the first Liverpool player to mark the beginning of a league season with a hat-trick since John Aldridge 32 years ago.

Aldridge's treble came at the start of a 1988-89 season that was overshadowed by the tragedy of the Hillsborough disaster. The then-Republic of Ireland star grabbed all three in a 3-0 away win over Charlton as the defending league champions made a flying start. They would go on to finish second in the First Division and win the FA Cup. It has taken Liverpool three decades to put together a team to match the peak Reds sides of that era, but there can be little doubting Jurgen Klopp's side would be a match for the best XI Kenny Dalglish could put together. Against Leeds, Salah was a titan of the Reds attack, attempting nine shots at goal, having more touches of the ball (88) than any other Liverpool player and playing more passes (44) in the Leeds half than anyone else on the home team.

Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: Willian, that was really something

New boy Willian was on fire for Arsenal, becoming the first player to have two assists on debut in the Premier League for the north London giants since Ray Parlour in 1992.

Back in west London, former Chelsea midfielder Willian showed just why Mikel Arteta wanted to bring him to Arsenal. His experience could be key this season, and his creativity has always been a danger to opponents, with the Brazilian playing a key role in second-half goals from Gabriel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Just like 'Romford Pele' Parlour all those years ago, Willian could soon establish himself as a favourite of Arsenal supporters. He hit the post too, with a 94.7 per cent passing accuracy in the Fulham half wreaking damage.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton: Ahead at the break, Palace take some stopping

When Roy Hodgson's Eagles go to the dressing room ahead at half-time, invariably they will have a good day. In the past 15 Premier League games when they have led at the break, Palace have won 13 times and drawn twice.

Wilfried Zaha – and isn't it so often him – put Palace in front against Southampton after 13 minutes, and they held on to that lead to snatch a welcome opening three points on Saturday. The last time Palace led at half-time in the Premier League and lost was in January 2019, when at Anfield they got ahead thanks to Andros Townsend but lost a helter-skelter match 4-3 to Liverpool. At home, they have won six consecutive games when armed with a half-time lead, last losing from such a position at Selhurst Park against Watford – also in January 2019.

West Ham 0-2 Newcastle United: Signed, sealed, and already delivering

Callum Wilson loves playing against West Ham. At least that's what the numbers tell us. The former Bournemouth striker has now netted eight goals in nine league appearances against the Hammers.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce might just be having an outstanding transfer window. Only time will prove that theory, but Newcastle could hardly have made a brighter start as they launched their campaign with a win courtesy of goals from new arrivals Wilson and Jeff Hendrick. Wilson has scored more goals against West Ham than he has managed against any other team in his league career, and his close-range effort on Saturday helped Newcastle end their run of slow starts. Arriving at the London Stadium, Newcastle had lost six out of their past seven league season openers, drawing the other, with their last win on the first day of a campaign having come against Tottenham in 2012. Yet of course they traditionally enjoy trips to West Ham, with their away record against the Hammers now showing 10 wins. Only against Tottenham – also 10 wins – have Newcastle won as many matches away from St James' Park in the Premier League era.

Jurgen Klopp hailed Mohamed Salah as a "very special" player after the Liverpool star scored a hat-trick in a thrilling victory over Leeds United.

Marcelo Bielsa's newly promoted side pushed defending Premier League champions Liverpool all the way at Anfield on Saturday, but Salah had the final say when he converted his second penalty of the game to seal a 4-3 win.

Salah had opened the scoring from the spot early on after Robin Koch's handball, though Jack Harrison switfly equalised.

A frantic start continued as Virgil van Dijk swung the game back in Liverpool's favour, only to then gift Patrick Bamford an equaliser prior to a stunning strike from Salah restoring the Reds' lead, which was then cancelled out once more by Mateusz Klich.

It was Salah who settled matters from 12 yards with two minutes remaining and Klopp believes the Egypt forward's all-round display showed the true quality of Liverpool's talisman.

"First and foremost congratulations to him because he's a very special player very, very special player," said the Reds boss.

"The numbers tell the story a little bit, all the rest you probably don't know. But today's a very good example as he put three more goals on his score list, but the performance all-round was absolutely exceptional in a game like this.

"So he deserved the goals, 100 per cent, yes two were penalties, one was a sensational finish, but he deserved these goals because he was constantly present, causing the opponent massive problems.

"He was top in one-on-one situations, played football. With all the good performances he's had for us, obviously this was for sure one of the better ones and so he should be proud of that because it's very special to have these kinds of numbers. Long may it continue."

While Salah spearheaded Liverpool's fearsome attack, the Reds looked unusually ordinary at the back, with Van Dijk in particular struggling to find his rhythm.

Klopp, however, is not concerned, and suggested the fact all of his starting defenders had been away on international duty could have impacted their performance.

"I didn't really see us struggling defensively, it's just the way they play you cannot defend it 100 per cent all the time," Klopp said.

"The first goal both full-backs were deeper than the centre-halves, that should never have happened. The second goal I think was a misunderstanding between Virgil and Alisson, it was one of the things that can happen. It should not, but it can happen. I don't think we will see these situations very often.

"So that's defending, but it's not an excuse, it was just an explanation. And maybe I don't have to give explanations, but the last line played for England, Holland, and Scotland, four days ago or whatever.

"So, all top teams but different ways of defending and it can happen and if the things are not really settled, which we are in the early stages of the season.

"I know people say they played 500 games together, but defending is not like riding a bike. You have to work on it constantly. So space for improvement, all good."

Jurgen Klopp claimed he was simply thrilled to be along for the ride as Liverpool and Leeds United produced an opening-day classic in the Premier League.

The champions of English football's first and second tiers were paired together to launch their campaigns on Saturday and Mohamed Salah's fourth-minute penalty suggested Liverpool could be on course for a straightforward win.

But Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds equalised three times over the course of a compelling contest before Salah broke their hearts with a second penalty to complete his hat-trick and snatch a 4-3 victory two minutes from time.

Reds boss Klopp was keen not to dwell for too long upon his own team's unusually slack defending.

"What a game, what an opponent, what a performance from both teams. A proper spectacle, I loved that," he told Sky Sports.

"It is pretty rare you see that many goals in a game, we have left space for improvement in our defending but that is not unusual for a first game. Our players have played a few days ago for their countries so it is possible [to improve].

"The opponent forced us to make mistakes, we can do better, we will do better but I loved a lot about the game against a well-organised, passionate side like Leeds.

"We used our skills to cause them problems, we could have scored more and in the end we used set-pieces which is fine by me.

"It is not like riding a bike, you can lose something in pre-season and it takes time to all come together again. I am really positive about this game."

Leeds are playing in the top flight for the first time since 2004 and Klopp feels they will be a success if they can maintain the levels they showed on Merseyside.

"Leeds will have a good season if they can keep up that intensity and they did it in the Championship with more games so why not?" he added.

Mohamed Salah drew on the experience of netting a penalty in the Champions League final to hold his nerve and seal a 4-3 win for Liverpool over Leeds United in a riotous opening Premier League encounter.

Salah struck from the spot early on at Anfield on Saturday, as he did in the Reds' 2-0 showpiece triumph over Tottenham in Madrid last year – a contest that proceeded fairly uneventfully from that point.

The opening game of their title defence cut a sharp contrast, with newly promoted Leeds playing in a fearless manner and equalising three times before Salah completed his hat-trick with a second conversion from 12 yards in the 88th minute.

Asked about how he handled that moment mentally by Sky Sports, the Egypt star replied: "I scored a penalty in a Champions League final, so that was a little bit easier! Especially with no fans.

"It was important for me to focus and score the goal to get three points."

Jack Harrison and Mateusz Klich scored excellent goals either side of Patrick Bamford capitalising upon a dreadful error from Virgil van Dijk, who headed Liverpool's second of a frantic clash, and Salah was full of admiration for Marcelo Bielsa's Championship winners.

"Leeds are a tough team, they press high as well, so the game intensity was really high as well," he said.

"They had a great game, they play away and react really well. They scored three goals against us, that's huge

"I'm happy about the result and we have to keep on improving. It's important for me to stay focused. We had a good game."

The Premier League and Championship titleholders produced a classic for the ages to launch the 2020-21 top-flight season in England.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp promised Leeds United a ferocious baptism in the Premier League and a procession looked to be on the cards at Anfield when Mohamed Salah scored an early penalty.

But Marcelo Bielsa's team dazzled as they have since the coaching visionary arrived in West Yorkshire, with Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford and Mateusz Klich all on target.

Each Leeds goal was an equaliser but Salah had the final word when he netted his second penalty of the contest to secure the points in the 88th minute.

Here, we look back at how a trilling encounter unfolded on Merseyside.

3:58 – LIVERPOOL 1-0 LEEDS
The anticipated frenetic start was quickly realised and surpassed, with Liverpool seeking to stamp their authority over ambitious foes. Robin Koch looked unfortunate to be penalised when Salah's shot spun up off the defender's boot and into his arm, but referee Michael Oliver and his video assistant agreed a spot-kick should be given and Salah slammed home his 50th Premier League goal at Anfield in his 63rd appearance. Only Alan Shearer (47) has reached that landmark faster.

11:13 – LIVERPOOL 1-1 LEEDS
Leeds were not cowed and Helder Costa had a goal ruled out for offside before Manchester City loanee Harrison darted in from the left flank, beyond Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez, to drill into the bottom left corner. On the week of his England debut, Kalvin Phillips created the goal with a raking pass from his own half – the midfielder's first assist in 19 league games.

19:38 – LIVERPOOL 2-1 LEEDS
Debutant Koch could not blame the officials when he switched off and allowed Van Dijk to head home Andrew Robertson's corner. It was the Dutchman's 10th Premier League goal for Liverpool, with no other centre-back scoring more since his Reds debut in January 2018. Robertson's assist was his 29th since his own Liverpool bow. Only Kevin De Bruyne (38) has more over that period of time.

29:10 – LIVERPOOL 2-2 LEEDS
Joy became despair for Liverpool's defensive lynchpin, with an uncharacteristic misjudgement allowing Bamford to nip in and clip a finish into Alisson's goal. Well, we say uncharacteristic… Van Dijk has now made two errors leading directly to a goal in his past four Premier League games, double the one he made in his first 154 in the competition.

32:14 – LIVERPOOL 3-2 LEEDS
Salah had already equalled Teddy Sheringham's record of scoring on four consecutive Premier League opening days when he put Liverpool ahead for a third time. Robertson's free-kick was partially cleared and the Egypt superstar thundered a magnificent left-footed strike into the top right corner.

45:00+3 – HALF-TIME
And breathe. This Anfield thriller became only the second game played in the opening weekend of Premier League fixtures to yield five goals before half-time. The other was Manchester United's 5-1 win over Fulham in August 2006, where the Red Devils were 4-1 up at the interval.

65:47 – LIVERPOOL 3-3 LEEDS
Don't let any Liverpool players take your dog for a walk this week. Midway through the second half they let another lead slip from their grasp. Helder Costa found Klich in the Liverpool box, where the midfielder's wonderful first touch was matched by an unerring volley. Poland international Klich has six goal involvements in his past six away games, with three goals and as many assists.

87:28 – LIVERPOOL 3-4 LEEDS
Leeds became the first promoted side to score three goals away to the reigning Premier League champions since Hull City in a 4-3 defeat at Manchester United in November 2008. Unfortunately for Bielsa's men they went down to the same scoreline. New signing Rodrigo Moreno clumsily fouled Fabinho and Salah sent Illan Meslier the wrong way to claim the matchball. Liverpool have now won each of the last 35 games in which Salah has scored, bettering the competition record of 34 set by Wayne Rooney in February 2011.

Hat-trick hero Mohamed Salah saved the day for Liverpool after promoted Leeds gave the champions a huge scare in a 4-3 thriller on the opening day of the Premier League season.

The Reds striker struck a decisive 88th-minute penalty, his second spot-kick of the game at Anfield, to ensure last season's all-conquering side started the new campaign on a positive note.

In a battle between last season's Premier League and Championship winners, Salah's first two goals and one from Virgil van Dijk were countered by Leeds' replies from Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford and Mateusz Klich.

A sub-plot to this Merseyside showdown was the tactical battle between managers Jurgen Klopp and Marcelo Bielsa, and the latter looked like coming away with a point until Rodrigo fouled Fabinho, allowing Salah to slot home and win the game.

Liverpool were awarded a penalty in the third minute when Salah's shot struck the outstretched right arm of Leeds debutant Robin Koch, via the unlucky defender's knee. Salah took responsibility from 12 yards and lashed his penalty high into the net, down the middle.

A sublime leveller from Leeds arrived in the 12th minute after new England cap Kalvin Phillips fed Harrison on the left. Harrison skipped infield, fending off Trent Alexander-Arnold, before drilling past Alisson from the edge of the penalty area.

The hosts restored their lead in the 20th minute when Van Dijk sprinted away from Koch and headed in Andy Robertson's corner from the left.

Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier made a fine save to spare Pascal Struijk the embarrassment of an own goal, tipping over after the defender deflected Robertson's cross, and the visitors briefly drew level for a second time when Bamford seized on sloppiness from Van Dijk to slot in.

Salah fired Liverpool 3-2 in front in the 33rd minute of a wild first half. With Robertson's free-kick into the heart of the penalty area only half-cleared, Liverpool's Egyptian striker had space and time to pick his spot and blaze a shot high into the right corner.

Those first-half strikes made Salah the first Liverpool player to score on the opening day of four consecutive Premier League seasons, and only the second player from any club to achieve the feat, after Teddy Sheringham's run from 1992-93 to 1995-96.

Leeds brought on record signing Rodrigo for his debut with half an hour remaining, and he would be involved later, but it was Klich who struck their third equaliser of the game in the 66th minute.

He took on a clever pass into the penalty area from Helder Costa on the right and smashed a shot into the left corner as the ball sat up perfectly. Leeds looked poised to hold on, only to be stung so late, an early warning of the challenges that lie ahead for them.

Mohamed Salah brought up another goalscoring landmark as Liverpool's Premier League title defence got started in a frantic fashion against Leeds United.

Salah won a fifth-minute penalty when Robin Koch handled his goal-bound shot, and the former Roma forward duly thumped home from 12 yards to score his 50th Anfield goal in England's top flight.

The Egypt star's half century has taken 63 matches, with only England great Alan Shearer (47) doing so in fewer appearances.

Salah is also the second player in Premier League history to score on the opening day of four consecutive seasons, following Shearer's old England strike partner Teddy Sheringham from 1992-93 to 1995-96.

Liverpool's early opener was swiftly cancelled out by a brilliant Jack Harrison strike.

Virgil van Dijk headed the hosts back ahead in the 20th minute but was uncharacteristically culpable with a horrible error that let in Patrick Bamford for Leeds' second equaliser.

Salah then continued an electrifying start by smashing in his 51st Premier League goal in the 33rd minute.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson returns to action as the Premier League champions begin their title defence against promoted Leeds United.

Henderson missed the closing four games of last season after suffering a knee injury, and also sat out the Community Shield at the end of August.

But he was passed fit to face Leeds in midfield alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and Naby Keita, as James Milner and Fabinho drop to the bench.

Trent Alexander-Arnold also returns at right-back to replace Neco Williams, with Liverpool's attack having a familiar look as Jurgen Klopp selects Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool won the Premier League by a staggering 18 points last season, while Leeds came up after topping the Championship.

The Yorkshire side earned themselves top-flight football for the first time since the 2003-04 season, with head coach Marcelo Bielsa masterminding the team's rejuvenation.

Bielsa hands a debut to Robin Koch, the Germany defender acquired from Freiburg, but striker Rodrigo is only a substitute for the Anfield clash following his big-money arrival from Valencia.

 

Jurgen Klopp insists he did not phone Alex Ferguson in the middle of the night to furnish him with details of Liverpool's Premier League title triumph.

The Reds will step out to start a new campaign as champions for the first time in 30 years when they entertain Leeds United at a behind-closed-doors Anfield on Saturday.

Klopp masterminded a glorious conclusion to the Reds' long wait for a 19th English title, as they deposed Manchester City with seven games remaining.

In the revelry afterwards, Ferguson and Klopp were in touch, with the former Manchester United boss saying, "I'll forgive you for waking me up at 3:30 am to tell me you have won the league" when the German was presented with his League Managers' Association (LMA) Manager of the Year Award.

Speaking ahead of the Leeds game, Klopp - at least in part - sought to set the record straight.

"I didn't call him, I have to clarify that. I sent him a message," the Reds' boss said, before explaining the volume of messages he had to get through and the prolonged nature of Liverpool's party meant he was not able to tap out his thanks to Ferguson until the small hours.

While respectful of the managerial great and delighted to have received his seal of approval, Klopp also acknowledges the status of their respective clubs means prolonged phone conversations regarding moments of Anfield glory are unlikely to ever be too high up Ferguson's agenda, even in retirement.

"I don't think he wants to talk to me too much about the success of Liverpool," Klopp chuckled.

"He respects it, but it's not that it's his favourite thing to watch on television."

Another celebrated tactician is Klopp's next opponent, with Marcelo Bielsa's Premier League bow keenly anticipated.

A formative influence upon the likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Pep Guardiola and countless others, Klopp knows Bielsa's intense tactical approach presents a particular challenge.

"Unfortunately, the players only came back from international duty yesterday but we used that session 100 per cent. We tried to make clear for the boys which special aspects we have to consider for this game," he explained.

"Usually the boys respond quite well to this kind of information. We are as ready as possible."

Despite anticipation Leeds are ready to upset some of the Premier League's big hitters, Klopp warned Bielsa that - even without the backing of their fans - Liverpool present the type of formidable prospect they have not faced before.

"I respect a lot what they do, but now is another important point: I know Marcelo Bielsa said Anfield is not Anfield without supporters and he is right, in one way," he said. "But it is still Anfield, by the way. It's our home and we are Liverpool.

"It should not sound like a threat but they did not play us very often before and it should feel different for them. I'm sure Bielsa sees it like this as well.

"It's not decided before the game - good, that's football, that's how it always is. If we are willing to work hard we can make it more uncomfortable than any team last year could do against them.

"If we are not, we will suffer and that's a thing we have to know."

Klopp added: "It's the first game of the season and it sounds like it will be a big advantage for Leeds because they waited so long for the Premier League and everything is exciting. We are champions, will we lean back a little bit?

"We were not like this and as long as I'm here we will not be like this. That's what we have to make sure of in this game. It must be the most intense game Leeds ever have, otherwise we will have more problems than I want to have."

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