Liverpool kicked off the new Premier League season with a comfortable 4-1 romp over Norwich City at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp’s men were put under pressure by a spirited Norwich side, but were also helped by a more-than-leaky Canaries defence, who shipped four goals even before half-time.
Grant Hanley diverted a Divock Origi cross into his own net, Mo Salah scored one and then put a corner on Virgil van Dijk’s head, before Origi easily headed a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross into the net, to put the Reds over the hills and far away even before the interval.
Here are some talking points from the game.
Alisson injury a worry
On a festive evening at Anfield, the mood was dampened midway through the first half, when goalkeeper Alisson Becker lost his footing while taking a goal kick, and had to be taken off the pitch, to be replaced by Adrian. Liverpool will hope the injury isn’t too serious, even as Klopp confirmed the no.1 will not be available for Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup clash against Chelsea.
Adrian did acquit himself reasonably well, doing the basics right when he was called upon and could do little to stop Teemu Pukki’s goal, but it is obvious that there will be a drop-off in quality if Alisson isn’t in the side. With the initial indications suggesting that it is a calf injury, it is likely that the Brazilian will miss at least a month. The Reds are also a little short in the goalkeeping department, with Caoimhin Kelleher just having returned from injury, Viteszlav Jaros injured and Kamil Grabara out on loan.
Dan Atherton could well make the bench for the Super Cup.
That game was Bobby Firmino in all his glory. Ben Godfrey and Grant Hanley were tired of the sight of him, he was untouchable. He moved around into spaces all over the pitch, linked up superbly with Origi and Salah, and was at the centre of most things the Reds did well on the night.
It’s important for Liverpool that Firmino stays fit throughout the season and inform – when he is at his best, there is a smoothness and flow about the Reds’ attack, as was evident last night. He was unlucky not to score in the first half, after taking down an Alexander-Arnold cross brilliantly with his chest before unleashing a left-footed volley that was well saved by Krul. He also missed a sitter in the second half, when Alexander-Arnold’s cut-back could’ve easily been left for Origi behind him to tap home into an empty net.
Divock Origi continues to score
With Sadio Mane reduced to a role on the bench owing to the lack of match fitness, Origi was chosen on the left-wing. Fresh from his European heroics last season, he produced a lively display. Origi’s cross was deflected into his own net by Norwich skipper Grant Hanley and Liverpool capitalised on the early goal to build a resounding lead going into the break. The forward also got his name on to the score-sheet as he got on the end of a brilliant delivery from Trent Alexander-Arnold, capping off a wonderful performance.
Origi will look to capitalise on his early-season momentum and make useful contributions this season, much like he did last time around, as Liverpool are involved in as many as six competitions between now and the end of the season.
Defensive solidity needed
The gay abandon with which Norwich were able to move forward and get into the Liverpool final third should be cause for some concern. As has been the case throughout pre-season, the right side of the defence showed vulnerability, as Teemu Pukki repeatedly found himself in the space between Joe Gomez and Alexander-Arnold.
It’s clear Klopp trusts Gomez as his starting centre-back, so it’s important that him and Trent get their understanding and communication sorted. Especially if Alisson is ruled out for an extended period of time, it is even more imperative that the defence can stay firm.