Liverpool opened their Premier League account with a comfortable 4-1 win over new boys at Anfield Norwich, with a number of Reds impressing – particularly in the first half.
Liverpool 4-1 Norwich City
Premier League, Anfield
August 9, 2019
Goals: Hanley (OG) 8′, Salah 19′, Van Dijk 28′, Origi 42′; Pukki 64′
Alisson – 6 (out of 10)
A sloppy pass early on, but he would go on to settle into proceedings with good effect as Norwich posed some questions in the initial stages of the first half.
Whilst the play was deemed offside, he made a brilliant save with a strong right hand before safely parrying away Marco Stiepperman’s shot.
However, his night was brought to an abrupt end through injury to leave everyone holding their breath and hoping for the best.
Initial reports suggest a calf injury that certainly sees him out of Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup.
It was a difficult pre-season for Trent defensively and he again initially found it tough going as Norwich found space in behind as they funnelled the majority of their attacks down his flank.
It failed to rattle him and he grew into the game, where his pinpoint delivery to Origi saw him claim yet another stunning assist to his name as he continued to show his threat in the final third.
But he will need to show better defensive discipline and awareness as greater tests are on the horizon.
Joe Gomez – 6
Preferred over Joel Matip, the England international made his first league start since he fractured his leg last December and it was a bit of a rusty display.
Liverpool seemed – and seem – to be playing a higher line, which probably explains why Gomez is in the team for his pace.
But collectively it seems the defence need some work and Gomez was caught napping which allowed Norwich to find space, most-notably between himself and Trent – which allowed Teemu Pukki to get on the scoresheet.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
It was a less than impressive night for the defenders who have yet to find their stride as a unit and Van Dijk showed he is slightly human as he was not quite at his best.
However, the Dutchman used his aerial prowess to find himself on the scoresheet in what is a positive sign for the future as he looks to continue having a game-changing influence at both ends of the field.
Andy Robertson – 7
An industrious performance as we have come to expect from the Scot, but like his fellow defenders was culpable of offering the Canaries a way through to goal.
He was tireless throughout, made numerous positive runs down the left-flank and paired up nicely with Origi – and was also able to get a good shot away.
Fabinho – 8
Not that there way any doubt, but the Brazilian again showcased why he is one of the first names on the teamsheet after yet another dominant display in the middle of the park.
His counter-pressing was brilliant throughout as he disrupted countless Norwich attacks whilst also setting the Reds on their way forward.
A player that can go under the radar such is the quiet nature of his work, but his ability to intercept the ball and lay on the perfect tackle was spot on at Anfield.
Jordan Henderson – 8
The skipper, as seen in the latter stages of last season, was deployed in a more advanced role at Anfield and proved to be key in setting and driving the high intensity.
It would be hard to dispute that he didn’t cover every blade of grass as he was seen dropping in at right-back, making late runs into the box and ensuring the Reds won back possession high up the field.
Gini Wijnaldum – 7
Arguably the quietest of the midfield trio as he struggled to have an influence in either direction.
He is capable of more but he needs to show it quickly.
Mohamed Salah – 9
The Egyptian didn’t need long to remind Premier League teams up and down the country of the threat he possesses after notching a goal and an assist.
Oozing confidence, Salah was razor-sharp from the off and a trademark finish low across the ‘keeper set an early marker for his evening.
After scoring with great effect from set-pieces last term, Salah kept the trend going after steering the ball Van Dijk’s way and his link-up play with Firmino throughout looked ominous.
He’s now scored in the last three opening games of the season for Liverpool.
Divock Origi – 7
In his 100th appearance for the club, he picked up from where he left off last season.
A low cross into the danger area led to the opener before he showed good positional awareness to work himself perfectly in-between Norwich’s backline to open his account for 2019/20.
Looked to charge at the opposition at every opportunity and was a good outlet, but his control, final ball and link up play needs work to see him take his game up another level.
Roberto Firmino – 9 (Man of the Match)
New season, same brilliant Bobby.
It was menacing display full of energy which simply left Norwich scratching their heads as he was simply unplayable, both on and off the ball.
Despite a late return this summer, he was a cut above the rest and was integral to much of Liverpool’s exquisite work, which was not just limited to the final third.
A brilliant deft lay-off to set up Salah, his stunning control, turn and volley was deserving of a goal and his overall play was deserving of the standing ovation from the Anfield faithful as he made his way off the field late in the piece.
An unexpected debut and he handled the occasion as well as you would like, could do little for Norwich’s goal but he will be now be handed a big responsibility in Alisson‘s likely absence.
Mane (on for Origi, 74′) – 7
A bright cameo appearance which saw him show a similar level of sharpness as his fellow forwards, promising signs for the weeks and months ahead.
Milner (on for Firmino, 85′) – N/A
Had little time to make an impact.
Subs not used: Matip, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita, Shaqiri
Jurgen Klopp – 8
A quiet summer in the transfer window led to widespread debate, which will no doubt rear its end at some point throughout the season, but Klopp and his side silenced any early doubts in emphatic fashion.
There will still be slight concerns over the ease in which Norwich were able to pick through the defence, however, not to mention the likely need to navigate the injury to Liverpool’s No.1.
There will be little to worry about upfront on the other hand as Salah and Firmino were brilliant throughout, while Mane’s brief appearance was nothing but positive.
Overall, a positive start to the season and one which provides the perfect foundation to build off.