Liverpool Begin Premier League Campaign With Norwich Win
Liverpool opened up their Premier League campaign with a 3-0 win away to Norwich.
Goals from Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah wrapped up the points for the Reds, continuing the good form they showed at the end of last season in a good — if not spectacular performance — performance.
Jurgen Klopp elected for an attacking lineup with the front three of Sadio Mane, Salah and Jota supported a midfield of Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, and James Milner and the away team opened the game in suitable style.
Pouring forward, Liverpool — with Kostas Tsimikas, deputizing for the injured Andrew Robertson, especially keen to venture forward — came close on two occasions in the opening twenty minutes. Firstly, Jota headed straight at Tim Krul after a Keita cross, and then Salah — from a difficult angle — volleyed a Mane cross agonizingly wide.
The newly-promoted Canaries, on the rare occasions they had the ball, weren’t shy of attacking and their best opportunity arrived when Teemu Pukki shot straight at Alisson from a tough angle. It was a rare respite for the home team and their resistance finally broke on the 26th minute.
Trent Alexander Arnold’s fizzed cross was controlled by Salah just outside the box and — whether intentionally or not — the Egyptian laid the ball off to Jota to finish low past Krul, with his trademark efficient style.
The rest of the half followed a similar pattern, but the Reds — who, truth be told, had several more gears to go up if required — couldn’t add to the Portuguese’s goal and went into the break leading 1-0.
The tempo noticeably dropped off in the second half and while Norwich huffed and puffed they couldn’t — thanks in part to the assurance and dominance of the returning Virgil van Dijk — engineer a big opening and threaten Alisson’s goal.
A double change on sixty minutes added more vigour to Liverpool’s attack with Fabinho replacing the peripheral Oxlade Chamberlain and Firmino coming in for Jota. Milner moved to the left of midfield with Fabinho anchoring the midfield. Firmino, meanwhile, slotted into the centre of the attack.
The Brazilian made an almost instantaneous impact. After forcing Norwich into turning over possession, Liverpool broke quickly and Firmino and Salah swapped passes in the box with the number 9 slotting the second into the home team’s net for a textbook counter-attacking goal.
With the result a formality, the Reds went in search for more goals, especially the hungry Salah. The number 11, after several attempts — including a mazy dribble which brought him into the box, past several Norwich players — eventually made his goal-scoring mark in the 74th minute.
A slack clearance from the Canaries after a corner found Salah and the forward sublimely curled a strike into the top left corner from just outside the box. After two assists and generally strong performance, the goal was just rewards for the Egyptian goal machine.
Klopp brought on Harvey Elliott for the impressive Keita for the closing minutes and the youngster looked enterprising and keen to be involved, adding another positive to a strong evening’s work for the visitors.
Liverpool team: Alisson; Alexander Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Milner, Keita, Oxlade Chamberlain; Salah, Jota, Mane.
Replacements: Elliott for Keita, Firmino for Jota, Fabinho for Oxlade Chamberlain.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Origi, Konate, Minamino, Gomez, Woodburn