Liverpool 4-0 West Ham
Premier League, Anfield
August 12, 2018
Goals: Salah 19′, Mane 45+2′, 53′, Sturridge 88′
Alisson – 6.5 (out of 10)
It was a proud day for the Brazilian, who was given his official Liverpool debut, with enormous expectations on his shoulders.
He was afforded the luxury of being a spectator for much of proceedings, although his quality on the ball was always on show, barring one suspect late clearance.
Alexander-Arnold was preferred to Nathaniel Clyne at right-back, despite still looking for full match fitness after returning late in pre-season.
The youngster’s crossing was never at its best, with a number over-hit, but he offered so much pace down the right flank and tested Lukasz Fabianski with a superb free-kick.
Joe Gomez – 7
Used in the centre-back role he craves moving forward, Gomez enjoyed a good day the office, albeit without being tested much.
He switched off once—concentration remains his Achilles’ heel—with Marko Arnautovic almost profiting, but he did well on the whole.
Liverpool played a noticeably higher line with Gomez alongside Virgil van Dijk.
Virgil van Dijk – 7.5
Liverpool’s record signing is going to be such a key man this season and he exuded class all afternoon at Anfield.
Considering West Ham were lifeless going forward it is hard to give Van Dijk too much credit, but it’s hard to think of a more assured, dominant centre-back in European football right now.
Completely bossed it.
Andy Robertson – 7
The Scot didn’t enjoy the most spectacular of pre-seasons, but he returned to domestic football back to his very best on Sunday.
Gini Wijnaldum – 7.5
He was excellent throughout, full of energy, strength and a simple but effective use of the ball. He looks a good option there moving forward.
Curled wide in the first half and fired over late in the day.
James Milner – 7.5
What a revelation Milner has been in 2018 and he took his eye-catching form from last season with him into 2018/19.
The veteran was a hub of energy in the midfield, combining industry with quality, and he earned an assist for Mane’s first goal, typically battling to keep the ball in.
Naby Keita – 7
Another man handed his debut by Jurgen Klopp, Keita looks a signing of unbelievable promise, even if he wasn’t at his world-class best.
The Guinean added a creative dimension to Liverpool’s midfield that was lacking during the second half of last season and looked dangerous every time he had the ball.
He is only going to get better.
Mohamed Salah – 7
A new season, the same old Salah!
It didn’t take long for Liverpool’s star man to register his first goal of the season—a typical poacher’s effort in front of the Kop.
Salah has played better, and will play better in the future, but he was still a menace with his pace and movement.
Sadio Mane – 8 (Man of the Match)
Mane made a flying start to the new campaign, scoring twice and torturing West Ham‘s defence with his unpredictability.
He did well to re-adjust his body for his first of the day, before firing home emphatically in the second half, albeit in an offside position.
It feels like this could be a huge season for the Senegalese speedster.
Roberto Firmino – 7.5
It was clear that Firmino wasn’t at his very sharpest, but unlike mere mortals, the Brazilian was still a key figure regardless.
His work rate was relentless, he fed his team-mates with inch-perfect passes and a richly deserved ovation came his way when he was replaced after the break.
Jordan Henderson (on for Firmino, 69′) – 6.5 – The captain did a solid job but the game was effectively over by the time he came on.
Xherdan Shaqiri (on for Mane, 81′) – N/A – No time to make an impact.
Daniel Sturridge (on for Keita, 87′) – 7 – Scored with his first touch—could be a real weapon from the bench this season.
Subs not used: Karius, Clyne, Fabinho, Lallana
Jurgen Klopp – 8
The perfect start to the season for Klopp, who coaxed a dominant performance out of his side.
The football on show was glorious at times, but there was also a continued focus defensively that has improved so much as his tenure has progressed.
Klopp will know that his team have other gears to find, but this was an ideal way to begin what is hopefully a genuine title challenge.
Player ratings definitions: 10 = Faultless | 9 = Excellent | 8 = Very Good | 7 = Good | 6 = Average | 5 = Below Par | 4 = Bad | 3 = Very Bad | 2 Awful | 1 = Surely Not