Liverpool got their 2018/19 Premier League campaign off to the perfect start as they sealed a 4-0 victory over West Ham at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
Liverpool 4-0 West Ham
Premier League, Anfield
August 12, 2018
Salah 19′ (assist – Robertson)
Mane 45+2′ (assist – Milner)
Mane 53′ (assist – Firmino)
Sturridge 88′ (assist – none)
Football has barely stopped for breath since the Champions League final in May, but the Reds’ return to competitive action had been much anticipated.
After an emphatic campaign under Jurgen Klopp last time out, and buoyed by the additions of Alisson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri, Sunday’s hosts will have been confident of victory.
Klopp named two of his new signings in his first starting lineup of the season, with Fabinho and Shaqiri left on the substitutes’ bench, taking on a West Ham side who underwent a summer makeover.
Under new management in Manuel Pellegrini, the Hammers presented a tough challenge, but Liverpool made light work of their first opponents.
- Klopp hands first competitive starts to Alisson and Keita
- Salah picks up where he left off with tap-in opener
- Mane equals Barnes’ record with third consecutive curtain-raiser strike
- Senegalese adds another as linesman misses clear offside
- Sturridge scores seconds after coming on to round off victory
The Reds attacked the Kop in the first half, with Anfield roaring them into action from the first whistle, and as ever they started with a high intensity.
Sadio Mane was the most dangerous player in the opening 15 minutes, and the new No. 10 saw a strong effort blocked after he weaved into the penalty area, while Felipe Anderson threatened at the other end.
A brilliant cross from James Milner eluded Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino all charging into the six-yard area, as Liverpool inched closer to scoring.
Their efforts were rewarded minutes later, as a brilliant move saw Keita play in Andy Robertson on the left flank, with his low cross turned home by none other than the Egyptian King.
Trent Alexander-Arnold drew a fine save from Lukasz Fabianski and Gini Wijnaldum went close after Keita’s mazy run, before Mane added a second on the stroke of half-time from Milner’s brilliant cutback.
With Liverpool keeping up the pressure after the break, Mane added his second on 53 minutes, benefiting from an oversight from the linesman to hammer home from an offside position.
The Reds remained on top as the second half wore on, but clear-cut opportunities grew scarce as West Ham looked to shut up shop as damage limitation set in.
Mane sent a near-post header high and wide as he chased a hat-trick, with Klopp then using his side’s lead to withdraw Firmino as Jordan Henderson took to the field, moving Keita out wide and Salah into the No. 9.
The Senegalese could not add another to his tally, as Shaqiri took his place with 10 minutes left to play on his competitive bow for the Reds.
Klopp’s final substitute, Daniel Sturridge, added the final goal of the game just seconds after coming on, turning home at the far post from a corner kick to seal an emphatic victory.
TIA Man of the Match: Naby Keita
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Milner, Keita; Salah (Sturridge 87′), Mane (Shaqiri 81′), Firmino (Henderson 69′)
Subs not used: Karius, Clyne, Fabinho, Lallana
West Ham: Fabianski; Fredericks, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Masuaku; Noble, Rice (Snodgrass 46′), Wilshere; Antonio, Anderson (Hernandez 62′), Arnautovic (Yarmolenko 67′)
Subs not used: Adrian, Diop, Zabaleta, Obiang
Next Match: Crystal Palace (A) – Premier League – August 20, 8pm (BST)