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.

Jurgen Klopp was left feeling "sad" because he felt Liverpool's attacking players did not offer enough in their penalty shoot-out defeat to Arsenal in the Community Shield.

Premier League champions Liverpool finished seven places and 43 points ahead of the Gunners last term, but Arsenal ultimately lifted the trophy.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Arsenal an early lead with a fine strike but Liverpool, who attempted to dictate proceedings, levelled 17 minutes from time through Takumi Minamino.

The game went to penalties and Aubameyang netted the decisive kick after Rhian Brewster failed to convert.

Liverpool were made to rue wastefulness in front of goal and perhaps a lack of sharpness in attack, with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all unusually subdued, and their issues in the final third did not go down well with Klopp.

He told BT Sport: "Today I was sad. When you play against a formation like this – which happened to us pretty much always, not only when we are 1-0 down, even when it's 0-0 a lot of teams play like this – then you need to be in the final third really fresh.

"You want to force it sometimes, create angles, create crosses, passing in behind, all this kind of stuff. The rhythm for that fell a little bit. 

"We couldn't create exactly the chance we wanted but we had two of them and the third one that we scored with. Against a team with the quality of Arsenal, on some days it must be enough.

"When you finish it off, it is enough. When you don't finish it off it's not enough and today it was not enough."

Klopp was adamant Arsenal hardly threatened after taking the lead, adding: "I think they had exactly two shots at goal and one situation that was similar.

"After a long diagonal ball, we left Neco [Williams] alone and Auba could come inside to finish it off. The the other moment Ali [Alisson] made a save. That was it, pretty much," he said.

"Apart from that we had to play against a low block with an incredible counter-attacking threat. In these games you need then the final touch.

"In the end we created enough moments but we should have created more. We had the ball a lot but had to play around.

"We had a few good moments, Sadio had chances, we deserved the equaliser for sure and then could have scored more.

"We didn't do that and have to take it. A penalty shoot-out can always be a bit of a lottery. We were unlucky there and congratulations to Arsenal. We respect the competition."

Liverpool begin their Premier League title defence at home to promoted Leeds United on September 12.

Goalkeeper Alisson has revealed how he feels part of the Liverpool family thanks to the club's efforts to help him settle into life on Merseyside.

The Brazil international has enjoyed two hugely successful seasons with Jurgen Klopp's Reds since his arrival from Roma in July 2018.

After lifting the Champions League trophy at the end of his debut campaign, he helped Liverpool end a 30-year wait for a league title this year, albeit injuries and a suspension restricted him to 29 top-flight appearances.

The 27-year-old cost what was then a world-record fee for a keeper - Chelsea surpassing it soon after for Kepa Arrizabalaga - but has proved his value to the newly crowned Premier League champions since.

It is not just on the pitch where Alisson feels right at home, though.

"At this moment it means everything," he told the club's website as part of their 'Champions' series.

"The biggest part of my achievements in football I achieved for this club, through this club, individual and my team-mates, so it means a lot to me and my family. 

"Since we arrived here we could feel that it's a different club, a club who treats you as a family and can give you all the support that you need to play football, to stay focused on playing football. 

"So, we are comfortable here. We love being here. We also love the warmth that we receive from the supporters, they are part of this family as well."

Alisson's primary objective is obviously to keep the ball out of the net, yet he did manage to help Liverpool in attack when registering an assist in the league.

It was his quick clearance that set free Mohamed Salah for the second goal in the closing moments of Liverpool's 2-0 win over Manchester United in January. The first team-mate to celebrate with the scorer? The keeper who had set him up, of course.

"That was a big moment. For my whole life everybody will remember that goal, that assist," Alisson said, before going on to discuss his knee-sliding celebrations as he raced to join Salah. 

"I think the run, they remember more about the run! That is something that I never did before. I always like to celebrate with myself. 

"I try to stay focused on the game and I know that was the last minute of the game. Then the game was closed with that goal.

"I just felt from inside and I couldn't hold myself any longer and then I just ran to celebrate together."

Mohamed Salah paid tribute to his close friend Dejan Lovren in a video message after the defender sealed a transfer from Liverpool to Zenit.

Lovren joined the Reds from Southampton in 2014 and helped star signing Salah settle on Merseyside three years later when he left Roma.

The duo subsequently won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup and Premier League together at Anfield, the most recent triumph finally ending the club's 30-year wait to be crowned champions of England.

However, Lovren has played a diminished role in the past two campaigns, starting just 10 league matches, and completed a move to Zenit on Monday after Liverpool's title-winning campaign concluded.

Liverpool published a message from Salah to Lovren on their social media page.

The forward said: "I don't know how to say, my friend. You don't know my feeling right now. We're really going to miss you a lot - especially me.

"You've been an unbelievable player and a great friend for me. We're going to miss you a lot. I miss you a lot, I love you so much. You've been fantastic outside the field and inside the field.

"So, thank you for everything you did for the club, thank you for everything you did for me. I wish you all the best in the future and I wish you to have a great career as well, enjoying the new club with your family.

"Thank you very much and see you soon."

Lovren, described by Jurgen Klopp as a "Liverpool legend", has signed a three-year deal at Zenit, who reportedly paid around €12million for the 31-year-old.

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has become the Premier League's oldest Golden Boot winner at the age of 33 after finishing the 2019-20 season with 23 goals.

Vardy fired a blank in Leicester's 2-0 loss against Manchester United on Sunday - a result that saw the Foxes miss out on a top-four finish - to make it three games without a goal to see out the season.

However, the ex-England international still finished a goal clear of Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Danny Ings of Southampton at the top of the scoring charts.

He overtakes Didier Drogba, who netted 29 goals for Chelsea in 2009-10 at the age of 32, as the oldest recipient of the award.

Aubameyang shared the accolade with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah last season, though the Liverpool pair finished this campaign with 18 and 19 goals respectively. 

 

Dwight Gayle scored after just 25 seconds for Newcastle United against Liverpool on Sunday, making Premier League history.

A much-changed Liverpool side were caught dozing as Gayle ran onto Jonjo Shelvey's quick free-kick and squeezed a finish past Alisson for a goal that was awarded following a lengthy VAR review.

The swift strike was the earliest Liverpool have ever conceded in the Premier League.

And Gayle's effort - his fifth league goal against the Reds - also marked the fastest goal on the final day of any Premier League season.

Champions Liverpool started with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all on the bench, making this only the second time since the former's 2017 arrival they have all been missing from a Jurgen Klopp league XI.

The Premier League season concludes on Sunday, with Liverpool completing their victory lap at Newcastle United.

A dominant campaign from Jurgen Klopp's men means the destination of the big prize has long been decided, although there are still the matters of Champions League qualification and relegation to address.

The remaining top-four berths will go to two of Chelsea, Leicester City and Manchester United – with the latter two playing each other at the King Power Stadium in Sunday's standout clash.

At the other end of the table, two of Aston Villa, Watford and Bournemouth will be joining Norwich City in the Championship next season.

However, as we examine below, there are individual awards and achievements still up for grabs.

 

Vardy leads the way in Golden Boot race

A goal from Jamie Vardy against United could represent a huge step towards Europe's elite competition for Leicester City, while it will almost certainly mean the Golden Boot for the former England striker.

Vardy is on 23 goals, in a landmark campaign that saw him being up 100 in the Premier League. Of the 29 players to have reached a century in the competition, only Ian Wright (28 years, 286 days) made his debut at an older age than Vardy (27 years, 232).

The main competition comes from Danny Ings, whose 21 goal makes him the third Southampton player to score 20 or more in a Premier League season, following Matt Le Tissier (25) in 1993-94 and James Beattie (23) in 2002-03.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is next in line on 20. The Gabon international has also enjoyed a landmark campaign, becoming the sixth fastest player to 50 Premier League goals in history as he did so on his 79th top-flight outing for Arsenal.

Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling are the outsiders on 19 apiece. If Sterling nets against Norwich, he will become the first Englishman to score 20 times in a top-division season for Manchester City since Brian Kidd – now a member of Pep Guardiola's backroom staff – did so in 1976-77.

 

De Bryune hunting Henry's assist record

One man in particular will be keen on Sterling adding to his haul – provided it comes from one of his passes!

Kevin De Bruyne has 19 assists in the Premier League this season, placing him one shy of Thierry Henry's competition record.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil also assisted 19 times during 2015-16.

De Bruyne has been directly involved in 30 league goals this term, scoring 11 alongside his creative exploits. This is the most for a central midfield since Frank Lampard scored 22 and supplied 14 assists for Chelsea in 2009-10.

The efforts of Sterling and De Bruyne have gone a long way to placing City close to an impressive collective feat. If Guardiola's side score three times against Norwich, they will reach 100 goals for a third consecutive Premier League season.

 

Ederson and Pope battle it out for Golden Glove

Another City player looking after number one on Sunday is their number one. Ederson is on 15 clean sheets, putting him level in the Golden Glove standings with Burnley's Nick Pope.

The Clarets end another excellent season at home to Brighton and Hove Albion and if Ederson and Pope cannot be separated at full-time the award will be shared.

Both men have a similar save percentage, with Pope stopping 70.7 per cent of efforts sent his way compared to Ederson's 69.6, but the Englishman has been far busier.

Pope has made 118 saves from 164 shots faced, compared to Ederson's 64 from 92.

Although impressive, neither man has been flawless, with Ederson committing three errors leading to goals and Pope culpable for two.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has been named the Football Writers' Association's (FWA) Footballer of the Year.

The Reds won the Premier League title with seven games to spare, ending a 30-year wait for their 19th top-flight championship.

Playing arguably the best football of his career, England midfielder Henderson was influential in leading the side in a dominant campaign.

The FWA revealed Henderson, who has been out with a knee injury since early July, secured more than a quarter of the votes.

Team-mates Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane were in contention, along with Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and Manchester United's Marcus Rashford. Liverpool pair Alisson and Trent Alexander-Arnold also had votes cast in their favour.

Henderson said: "I'd like to say how appreciative I am of the support of those who voted for me and the Football Writers' Association in general.

"You only have to look at the past winners of it - a number of whom I've been blessed to play with here at Liverpool, like Stevie [Gerrard], Luis [Suarez] and Mo [Salah] - to know how prestigious it is.

"But as grateful as I am, I don't feel like I can accept this on my own. I don't feel like anything I've achieved this season or in fact during my whole career has been done on my own.

"I owe a lot to so many different people – but none more so than my current team-mates, who have just been incredible and deserve this every bit as much as I do.

"We've only achieved what we've achieved because every single member of our squad has been brilliant."

The 30-year-old, who joined Liverpool in a £20million move from boyhood club Sunderland in 2011, has scored four goals in 30 league appearances this season.

As well as the domestic title, Henderson helped the Reds to lift the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup, building on the success of their 2018-19 Champions League triumph.

Off the pitch, Henderson was also a key figure in the formation of the #PlayersTogether initiative, a fund for Premier League players to raise money for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has been named the Football Writers' Association's (FWA) Footballer of the Year.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are good enough to play for Real Madrid in Nicolas Anelka's eyes, though the Frenchman has advised the pair to remain with Liverpool.

Attacking pair Salah and Mane have been instrumental this season for a Reds side that cantered to a first English title in 30 years.

Salah has scored 19 times in the Premier League and supplied nine assists, while Mane has two fewer goals and assists, the duo proving productive when flanking centre-forward Roberto Firmino.

Such statistics are sure to have piqued the interest of Real Madrid, yet Anelka, who spent one underwhelming campaign with Los Blancos in 1999-00 after impressing in the Premier League with Arsenal, feels Liverpool is the best place for both Salah and Mane.

"It's an amazing front three," Anelka told the Liverpool Echo.

"I love them all, especially Roberto Firmino because he is the key for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane's success.

"Salah and Mane are ranking in the top five best players in the world right now. They have the quality to play for Real Madrid.

"But today Liverpool can compete with Real Madrid so they don't need to move. Liverpool is very much the place to be."

Anelka returned to England in 2001, joining Liverpool on a short-term loan deal from Paris Saint-Germain.

The Reds finished second in the campaign he spent at Anfield and the Frenchman expects them to be perennial contenders under Jurgen Klopp.

"Jurgen Klopp is a genius," Anelka added.

"I love his work, the way he is with his players and the players he has signed. They're top-class players.

"They'll be competitive for many years. Klopp has brought the club back to where it deserves."

Jurgen Klopp saluted Mohamed Salah ahead of a Liverpool milestone, but acknowledged he did not expect the Egyptian and his fellow forwards to be as effective as they have become.

Salah joined the Reds from Roma three years ago in a deal that reportedly cost an initial £34million.

In 105 Premier League matches, Salah – who is generally deployed from the right – has scored 73 goals, including a record-setting 32 in 2017-18.

The Egypt star has helped turned Liverpool into European and domestic champions, his understanding with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in attack making them a deadly trio that has scored 250 times under Klopp.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's trip to Arsenal, in which Salah is expected to make his 150th appearance, Klopp said: "First and foremost, that means he played 50 games a year, each season, 50 games, and still counting. Unbelievable. That's a big number.

"Obviously he was lucky and we were lucky that he could play all these games, because he was not injured, which is good.

"I was very positive in the moment when it was clear that we signed him. I remember our talk, when we first met face to face, when we spoke.

"'What's your favourite position?' 'It would be right wing, but Sadio Mane is playing there and he played a pretty good season.' 'Yes, he does, but he can play the other wing as well.'

"That was pretty much the start. The idea was clear how we want to play with the boys up front, but it worked out in a manner which we couldn't have expected. They scored now 250 goals since they [joined the club], that's an incredible number.

"It was a good day for Liverpool [when Salah signed] and a very good day as well for Mo because it fits really well and that's very important in life. You cannot change the world alone, but together, with the right people around you, you have a better chance to do it."

Salah's future seems certain to lie at Anfield, and Dejan Lovren appears likely to stay put for the time being as well.

The 31-year-old has been a fringe player this season, but Klopp insists he still appreciates what the Croatian offers.

Although the German would not comment specifically on reports the Reds are to trigger a one-year extension option to keep Lovren until 2022, it seems a departure is unlikely.

"Dejan played outstanding games for us, is a very important part of the squad, absolutely no problem," Klopp said.

"It's always like this – we have four centre-halves and we play usually with two of them, but we needed all four always, so a very, very important role. He played the Champions League final for us, played a lot of big games, and was always a very reliable player.

"Dejan was always either in the team or close to the team, or not available. There was nothing else, we never had problems. It's all good, but [I've] nothing to say about the contract situation because it's nothing to discuss in public. It's just how it is.

"The situation is absolutely clear – Dejan is a player of Liverpool and we need him. In this moment again, with Joel [Matip] injured we have again only three centre-halves.

"You need the quality we have on the centre-half position to be successful, and that's why there's nothing really to discuss."

Jurgen Klopp championed Jordan Henderson as an "inspiration" to future Liverpool captains after taking over the armband following Reds great Steven Gerrard's departure and leading the club to an historic Premier League title.

When Brendan Rodgers appointed Henderson as his skipper in 2015, it appeared a daunting task for the former Sunderland midfielder because of who he was replacing.

Gerrard had been club captain for 12 years and became a homegrown hero having joined the Reds' academy as a nine-year-old, but he opted to spend the final year of his career in MLS with LA Galaxy.

Many felt it was a significant step down for Liverpool, with Henderson a player who has often polarised opinion in terms of his abilities.

But he remained an important player even following Rodgers' departure, which came shortly after handing Henderson the armband, with Klopp retaining him as the team's leader.

Although a knee injury will prevent Henderson from seeing out the final weeks of the 2019-20 season, he has still led the club to a maiden Premier League title and first top-flight crown in 30 years, and Klopp feels it highlights he has been a success in replacing Gerrard.

When asked if the Premier League triumph makes Henderson one of the club's all-time great captains, Klopp said: "He is, absolutely, but you know all the other captains of this football club.

"So, he's the only captain I've had here, so I'm overly happy this decision was made before I came in, so it's cool.

"How it always is in life, you have to grow in new roles, he had to do that. It was the most difficult job you can have, to enhance, because honestly, in whatever manner, the person doing the job after Steven was always going to be difficult, but he grew into the role and now I think he's an inspiration for the next generation of Liverpool skippers.

"And it's nice to be part of this development as well, because he became a man age-wise and then a real, proper captain and that's how it should be, and on top of that he improved as a player.

"He was always a good player but he made big steps in his game as well, and that's why you are massively under pressure from outside, expectations and stuff like this, it's a pretty interesting achievement I have to say, it's not easy to do, and he did it, so he should - after his career, when he looks back – have lots of reasons to be proud."

With Liverpool already champions, there is little left for the Reds to play for as a collective, but some players are still in with a chance of claiming individual prizes.

Alisson is in the hunt for the Golden Glove, while Mohamed Salah – and, to a lesser extent, Sadio Mane – are outside bets for the Golden Boots.

While Klopp would not want too much emphasis to be put on such accolades, he does acknowledge their importance and he feels they would reflect the success of the team.

Liverpool face Burnley at Anfield on Saturday.

"If Ali wins the Golden Glove, that means we have obviously - I don't know how many games - have a [lot of] clean sheets, which would really help us," Klopp said. "And if we provide the winner of the Golden Boot, it means we have a lot of goals, and that helps, absolutely.

"I'm not in doubt of that. My players don't need individual targets to be highly motivated, but they [the awards] don't disturb, they're absolutely helpful rather than anything else, but in the end it's all about winning a football match, that's what the boys really want.

"If it was different, I would tell them it's not okay. Personal accolades are important, really important, but it's always first and foremost about winning matches, not about the other stuff, but it's nice when you can win both."

Jurgen Klopp is overjoyed with the consistency Mohamed Salah has shown since joining Liverpool, though he does not believe his team-mates are deliberately trying to set the Egyptian up to help his Golden Boot chances. 

Salah, 28, arrived at Anfield from Roma in 2017 for a reported initial fee of £37million, and he has since made that figure look like a real steal, such has been his impact. 

In 104 Premier League matches for Liverpool, Salah has scored 73 times, with 32 of those coming in 2017-18 as he set a new record for the most goals in a single 38-match campaign. 

While his haul of 19 this campaign may not be on the same level, he is the champions' top-scorer and remains in the hunt for the Premier League's Golden Boot, with only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (20) and Jamie Vardy (22) netting more frequently than him. 

But, given Salah often plays off the flank, his record is an impressive one and that is not lost on Klopp. 

"It's incredible," Klopp told reporters on Friday ahead of Saturday's visit of Burnley. "We wouldn't be where we are if these boys [Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino] didn't perform at such a consistently high level. 

"And Mo, of course, his numbers are crazy. I don't know his exact numbers since he's been here, but they're just outstanding numbers, world class numbers. 

"No one should be surprised anymore because, the boys show that week in, week out for a while already, we know it's special but there's a lot of work in it, and we can only score if you're invested in each game, if you're in the right positions, do the right things. 

"If the boys are ready to do what they have to do, it will continue, and long may it continue." 

Salah's most recent goals – two of them – came in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, but his record has not protected him from criticism. 

Graeme Souness, a former Red who is now a television pundit, called Salah "super selfish" after the Brighton game for attempting eight shots, while some suggested other Liverpool players are passing up scoring opportunities of their own in attempt to help the former Chelsea forward.

But Klopp doubts his players have that approach, convinced the front three want to score all the time. 

"I hope the boys were not in that mood," Klopp said when asked about whether he felt Firmino passed on a chance just so Salah could boost his Golden Boot bid. 

"When I saw the situation back it was just because of Bobby's [Firmino] football intelligence, he wasn't in the best position. 

"If he'd shot it would be a completely different finish, Mo came around was in a much better place - it's just Bobby. 

"I don't think he left the ball because he thinks Mo should win the Golden Boot or whatever. You cannot have this mindset, football is too quick for you to do that. 

"We all help each other. Mane is another contender [for the Golden Boot], with 16 it's not too close but it's not impossible, so they all want to score goals. Bobby wants to score goals, they all want that. 

"That's the mindset they need, that they want to be decisive, they want to decide football games and that's the mindset a striker needs." 

Mohamed Salah is motivated to win the Premier League Golden Boot again, according to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Salah netted a brace as Liverpool beat Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 on Wednesday, moving the champions onto 92 points this season.

The forward has won the past two Premier League Golden Boots, sharing last season's with Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Klopp said the prize was again a motivation for the Egypt international, who has 19 league goals this season, trailing Leicester City star Jamie Vardy (22) and Arsenal forward Aubameyang (20).

"He's a striker, how can it not be a motivation for him? That's clear," he told a news conference.

"In the last two years he won the golden boot, last year he shared it with Sadio and with Auba. That's always important, it's important for Sadio and all that stuff is normal.

"In the end you can only score goals when you perform well and he did that so that was really good and apart from that it's all fine.

"If you are too focused on goals, not that they are, but if you are too focused on goals you don't move enough that you can be in the right situations but the goals he scored were really good and he had a lot to move and score the goals. That's nice, could have scored more, that's true, but that's pretty much all."

Salah became just the fourth Liverpool player to reach 100 goal involvements in the Premier League, with 73 goals and 27 assists in 104 appearances.

He has 94 goals for Liverpool, and alongside Mane (79) and Roberto Firmino (77) the trio have delivered 250 for the club in all competitions.

Klopp said: "Two hundred and fifth goals by the way is exceptional. Imagine where I would be if these boys would not play for me. Wow.

"The situation minus 250 goals!"

Liverpool's next outing is at home to Burnley on Saturday.

Mohamed Salah joined a trio of Liverpool legends in a prestigious club as he played a starring role in a 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Egypt international scored twice as the Premier League champions recorded their first away triumph since February 15, moving on to 92 points with four games remaining.

Salah steered the visitors in front in the sixth minute and then assisted Jordan Henderson's goal that arrived just 127 seconds later, laying the ball off for the Liverpool captain to curl a shot beyond Mat Ryan.

Leandro Trossard halved the deficit before the break, but Salah made sure of victory when he headed in Andy Robertson's corner, taking his tally in the league this season to 19 goals.

He has also now reached 100 goal involvements for Liverpool in the Premier League, tallying 73 goals and 27 assists to achieve the feat in only 104 appearances.

Only three players have reached the milestone previously for the Reds. Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler achieved the century in 148 and 158 games respectively, while Steven Gerrard's landmark came up in his 212th outing.

Jurgen Klopp's side also created history at Brighton by winning for the 30th time in their 34th Premier League fixture this season. No other side has reached that tally as quickly in the history of the English Football League.

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