Mohamed Salah scores, a comprehensive win at Anfield, and goals and assists from their defenders - new Premier League season, same old Liverpool.
The European Champions opened the 2019/20 campaign with a 4-1 mauling of newly promoted Norwich City in front of their home fans.
A near perfect ten months last season wasn’t enough to snatch the title from Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp’s side showed no signs of feeling sorry for themselves and sent a fierce message to rivals in this entertaining curtain raiser.
Mohamed Salah added to an early Grant Hanley own goal, Virgil Van Djik headed in a third and Champions League hero Divok Origi nodded in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross to put the game well beyond doubt before the half-time whistle.
A technical issue to VAR delayed the start of the second period, but when the game eventually restarted Teemu Pukki’s strike for the visitors was mere consolation as the Reds marched to a comprehensive win.
It was precisely performances and results like this that catapulted Liverpool to a staggering 97 points last season, a record for a team finishing as runners-up, and the home supporters didn’t have to wait long to see the first goal of 2019/20.
Seven minutes in Divok Origi found space on the left and his low cross was inexplicably slashed into his own net by Canaries defender Grant Hanley. The Scotsman’s head was in his hands, and things would only get worse for his team.
After some pinball around the edge of the Norwich City penalty area, Salah linked up well with Brazilian Roberto Firmino to calmly slot in and open his account for the season and double Liverpool’s lead.
Another key figure in European domination last season got on the scoresheet, imperious defender Virgil Van Djik outmuscling his marker to head home Salah’s outswinging corner just before the half hour mark.
There were concerns for Klopp and the Kop faithful shortly after their third however, as Golden Glove winner Alisson Becker limped off after his left leg appeared to give way as he prepared to take a goal kick.
Adrian came on to make a premature debut for Liverpool following his release from West Ham, but the home defence continued to shine.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, so often a supplier of goals last season, was playing provider once more as his driven cross was turned in by Origi.
Adrian was denied a clean sheet on his debut however when Teemu Pukki beat the offside trap to latch onto a through ball and finish smartly low into the far corner.
8 - Teemu Pukki has scored with his first shot on target in each of the last eight league seasons (across Schalke 04, Celtic, Brøndby IF & Norwich City careers); a record stretching back to the start of 2012-13. Finnish. pic.twitter.com/CnCtWoM23X— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 9, 2019
Norwich showed no signs of staging a fightback beyond that Pukki strike, and Liverpool’s dominance at Anfield continues - that’s now 41 consecutive games unbeaten at home in the Premier League.
It wasn’t perfect and they weren’t at their sizzling best but an impressive start to the season nonetheless for the Reds - over to Manchester City et al.
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