Key observations as Liverpool set the marker in season opener
It has been a few weeks since Liverpool last played a competitive game, in Kiev, a game Liverpool fans would not be looking back kindly. Hence most fans could not wait to get the season started for more reasons than one. And what a start that was.
The key takeaways from the match:
New Season, same attacking verve
The game did not feel like the season opener, with Liverpool showing the same attacking verve and fluency right from where they left off last season. The movement was rapid and fluent as the attackers constantly kept switching positions. Liverpool played 9 pre-season matches, contributing immensely to the rhythm of the team.
Sadio Mané took over the coveted ’10’ jersey this season succeeding Coutinho, and the attacker made a great start to the season with a brace. This is the 3rd season in a row where Mané has scored in the opening game of the season. Sadio was involved in almost every move Liverpool made and was a constant menace to the opposition. He is coming off a great season which was overshadowed by the exploits of Salah. Is this the season where he obliterates the opposition?
Barnstorming debut from Keita
It has been one long wait to see Keita playing for the Reds, with his deal being agreed to in the previous year. The hype only increased after he took over the #8 jersey (No pressure!). What we can now say though is, the hype is real (albeit over 90 minutes only for now). The ease in which he controlled and linked up play was mesmerizing to watch. It almost felt that he has been part of this team structure for years now. Always moving, always keeping options open for a pass, we also saw flashes of what he could do in the box. There will certainly have been whispers of this performance reminding the fans of their previous #8.
Gomez – VVD partnership the future?
Liverpool were on tenterhooks in trying to find a fit-centre back to play alongside Van Dijk on the opening weekend (Not a scenario you would want). Thankfully Gomez was passed fit, and he had a good game, albeit against an attack as sharp as a blunt pencil. He made one mistake though, almost letting in Arnautovic, and this is something he needs to work on; the ability to judge aerial deliveries and the frequent lapses of concentration if he intends to make this position his in the longer term.
The wave is back!
It is so good to see Sturridge back in a Liverpool shirt. In his last year of the contract, he is clearly enjoying being back at Anfield (maybe what 6 months at WBA does to you) and is clearly enjoying being the senior figure in the team. He is happy to contribute in whatever way possible and goal of his first touch is surely the best way to start off!
Things are normal.