Liverpool got their 2019/2020 Premier League campaign off to the ideal start with a 4-1 victory over Norwich City at Anfield on Friday.
Goals from Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi, as well as a Grant Hanley own goal sufficed for the efficient, if not always electric hosts.
As happy as the Reds will surely be with their season opening three points, they will wait nervously on the medical news surrounding Alisson. The keeper was replaced by Adrian in the first half after he appeared to injure his calf when taking a goal kick.
After a brilliant, 97 point yielding campaign last season Jurgen Klopp’s European Champions would have been confident of victory against the newly promoted Canaries.
For all the talk of Liverpool’s inactivity in the transfer market, the Reds’ bench was star stubbed as Klopp opted to pick the same team that was defeated on penalties by Manchester City in last Sunday’s Community Shield. Among Liverpool’s replacements included Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri.
Liverpool attacked the Anfield Road end in the first half and they started the game with the intent of a team who were so cruelly pipped to the Premier League title last season.
Origi, looking visibly confident throughout, was the Reds most active attacking outlet early, with the Belgian’s directness troubling Norwich right back Max Aarons.
And it was through the Champions final scorer that Liverpool took the lead after six minutes. Driving at the visitors back-line, Origi’s low, left footed cross was horribly deflected off Grant Hanley and passed Tim Krul.
It wasn’t long before Liverpool doubled their lead with Salah the benefactor of a lengthy, passing move. The goal has it’s genesis in a wonderful, line breaking pass from Joe Gomez. Gomez found Alexander Arnold whose pass was deflected to Salah. The Egyptians pass was similarly ricocheted to Firmino, with the Brazilian making no mistake by acutely sliding the ball to Salah to caress home a finish into the bottom left corner.
Buoyed by their early two goal advantage, the European Champions — with the front three particularly impressive — began to up the tempo in search of a third goal, which arrived in the 27th minute from van Dijk. The Dutchman powerfully headed home Salah’s corner after emerging dominant from a ruck of players in the middle of the box.
The aerial route would prove profitable for Liverpool once again as Origi notched a deserved fourth goal. Alexander Arnold’s beautifully weighted cross bisected the Norwich centre halve’s and the Belgian headed low and past the onrushing Krul into the bottom corner.
Norwich, to their credit, were steadfast in their commitment to attacking and caused Liverpool issues, particularly down the right hand side in the first half, despite going into the half time break four goals in arrears.
Liverpool started the second period sharply and Krul denied the hosts a fifth as he pushed a Jordan Henderson shot onto the bar after an Origi pull back.
The story of the half, however, was Norwich whose attacking intent and creativity crafted a richly deserved consolation with Temu Pukki the benefactor. The Finland international, who scored 29 times last season, slotted calmly past Adrian after collecting Emi Buendia’s through ball.
With the result a formality, Klopp gave a run out to Sadio Mane to allow the Senegal international his first appearance since returning to pre-season training after the African Cup of Nations meant he missed the club’s pre-season.