The Premier League season kicked off at Anfield on Friday when Liverpool hosted newly promoted Norwich City. The European champions picked back up right where they left off and made quick work of their opposition, cruising to a comfortable 4-1 victory.
Things could hardly have started off better for Liverpool and worse for Norwich. In the 7th minute, Norwich captain Grant Hanley scuffed his clearance of a tame Divock Origi cross and redirected the ball into the back of his own net. By that point, the match was already over. Liverpool went on to put Norwich to the sword, smashing in 4 goals by the time the referee’s whistle blew for halftime.
Mohammed Salah scored the second when he got on the end of a perfectly weighted through ball from Roberto Firmino and slotted the ball past an onrushing Tim Krul. Virgil van Dijk kept the party rolling by nodding home a Mo Salah corner in the 28th minute and Divock Origi, after setting up the first goal, got one of his own when he flicked in a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold on the stroke of halftime.
Although they were absolutely ruthless going forward, Liverpool’s back line looked slightly shaky and afforded Norwich far too many chances than they should’ve. After a series of good attempts, Finnish striker Teemu Pukki pulled one back for The Canaries in the 64th minute.
Club captain Jordan Henderson was pleased with the way the match transpired and saw a lot of positives for his side to build on but likewise knows there is still a lot of room for improvement.
“There’s still improvement [to be made] but overall we’re delighted with the result and performance. It wasn’t so much defensively, we gave the ball away sloppy at times and we didn’t control the game with the ball, so in the transition we weren’t in great positions. That’s one thing we can improve on. We’ll learn from tonight and want to improve in the next one”.
Unfortunately for Liverpool, things didn’t all go to plan on Friday and their victory was deflated after goalkeeper Alisson went down with a calf injury in the first half and had to be subbed out. Manager Jurgen Klopp was happy with the way his side started the new campaign but still lamented the injury to his star keeper.
“I think the first 60 minutes were pretty impressive. We could have scored more, especially after half-time and that would maybe then impress the opponent a bit more. We are early in the season and some mistakes happen that will not happen during the season. If somebody would have told me before the game we would win 4-1, I would have taken it easily. There’s actually nothing bad to say about the game apart from Ali’s injury”.
Last season, the margin between first and second place was razor-thin, so Liverpool will have to be at their best in every single match they play if they are to triumph over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Their professional and ruthless performance against Norwich is proof they have the mentality to do so but an extended period of absence for Alisson could spell the end of Liverpool’s title ambitions already.