Liverpool v Leeds player ratings: Rare ‘stinker’ for van Dijk, Salah saves champions

Jo Harrison

Two Mo Salah penalties started and ended the scoring at Anfield, as Liverpool beat Leeds 4-3 in an early contender for game of the season.

Salah converted from the spot after just four minutes following an unfortunate handball from Leeds debutant Robin Koch. The Whites responded with a superb goal through Jack Harrison, but fell behind again when Virgil van Dijk powered a header past Illan Meslier.

Leeds again equalised through Patrick Bamford after a van Dijk defensive mishap. Salah made it 3-2 after just 33 minutes with a venomous volley and that’s how the score stayed until 66 minutes, when Leeds levelled for a third time through Mateusz Klich.

It was heartbreak in the end though for the visitors. Liverpool were awarded a second penalty in the 88th minute when Rodrigo clumsily fouled Fabinho. Salah sealed his hat-trick and the three points, sending Meslier the wrong way.

Here, we rate and slate the players from an entertaining first game of the Premier League season for both sides.



Alisson: Beaten by all three of Leeds’ shots on target. 5/10

Trent Alexander-Arnold: Didn’t get as many chances to attack as he would’ve wanted. Had his hands full monitoring Jack Harrison. 6

Joe Gomez: Solid performance at the back despite being put under a lot of pressure from Leeds’ front line. 6

Virgil van Dijk: Headed Liverpool back in front on 20 minutes but a rare mistake allowed Bamford to equalise 10 minutes later. Graeme Souness described van Dijk’s first half performance as a ‘stinker’, while Jamie Carragher criticised the Dutchman for being ‘arrogant’. 4

Andy Robertson: Claimed his first of what will be many assists for van Dijk’s header. Threatened going forwards as always. 7

Naby Keita: Started the game brightly but didn’t really continue at the same level. Subbed on 58 minutes. 6

Jordan Henderson: A typical hard-working performance from Liverpool’s captain but he didn’t really affect the game. Leeds won the midfield battle. 6

Gini Wijnaldum: Was the most threatening going forward out of Liverpool’s midfield three. Denied by a smart save by Meslier early in the second half. 6

Mo Salah – The sharpest player on the pitch and the match winner. Looked like scoring just about every time he touched the ball. Undoubtedly the Man of the Match. 10

Roberto Firmino: The quietest of the front three, fluffed two clear chances. 5

Sadio Mane – Also looked sharp but was overshadowed by Salah’s performance on the opposite flank. 8



Fabinho (for Keita, 58′): Won the decisive penalty. 6

Curtis Jones (for Henderson, 66′): N/A

Joel Matip (for Alexander-Arnold, 89′): N/A



Illan Meslier: Nothing the Frenchman could do about any of the goals. His best save was probably from his own man, as he reacted sharply to flick Struijk’s wayward clearance over the bar in the first half. Did the basics very well. 8

Luke Ayling: Had his work cut out defending against Mane, therefore had limited chances to get forward. 6

Robin Koch: Was very unlucky to be penalised for handball four minutes in. That didn’t help a nervy start from the German. He did get better as the game went on but far from a dream debut. 5

Pascal Struijk: All eyes were on the youngster as he stepped in for captain Liam Cooper. Struijk defended well throughout and can be proud of his Premier League debut. 7

Stuart Dallas: Not many would’ve been able to cope against Salah today. The Egyptian was truly at his unplayable best. 5

Kalvin Phillips: A superb assist for Harrison’s goal and a strong performance in midfield. Anyone who doubted his ability to step up to the Premier League has already been proved wrong. 8

Helder Costa: Looked dangerous throughout and tried to get at Liverpool every time he got the ball. Grabbed a beautiful assist for Klich’s goal. 8

Mateusz Klich: Busy in midfield as always, took his goal beautifully. 7

Pablo Hernandez: A few nice touches in he first half but no telling contribution from the Spaniard. 6

Jack Harrison: Scorer of a superb goal that put Leeds back on level terms on 12 minutes. Also did his defensive duties well. 8

Patrick Bamford: Will be delighted to have silenced his critics with a goal on the opening day of the Premier League. Worked hard as Leeds typically pressed high up the pitch. 7



Rodrigo (for Bamford, 62): At fault for the winning goal and struggled to hold the ball up when Leeds needed him to help relieve pressure. Not the debut Leeds fans or Rodrigo will have dreamt of. 3

Tyler Roberts (for Hernandez, 62): N/A

Jamie Shackleton (for Klich, 81): N/A