Liverpool began their season in style on opening night with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over newly promoted Norwich at Anfield.
Liverpool 4-1 Norwich
Premier League, Anfield
August 9, 2019
Hanley OG 7′ (assist – Origi)
Salah 19′ (assist – Firmino)
Van Dijk 28′ (assist – Salah)
Origi 42′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)
Pukki 64′ (assist – Buendia)
Welcomed back to Anfield to a raucous atmosphere, the Reds got off to the perfect start, with Divock Origi—preferred to Sadio Mane after the Senegalese’s late return—saw his cross turned past Tim Krul in comical fashion by centre-back Grant Hanley.
Andy Robertson went close to adding another with a fierce angled shot from inside the box, but Norwich themselves had chances to pull it back level, with pre-season frailties at the back still evident.
But Liverpool had their second before long, with Mohamed Salah‘s persistence down the right eventually seeing him pick up a flick from Roberto Firmino on the edge of the six-yard box, cutting a brilliant finish beyond Krul for 2-0.
Virgil van Dijk joined the fun before the half-hour, with the Dutchman grabbing his first goal of the campaign with a stooping header through the crowd following Salah’s corner.
It wasn’t all good news, though, as after slipping when taking a goal kick Alisson was forced off through injury, with new signing Adrian coming on for an unexpected debut.
His first touch came after Liverpool’s fourth goal, and it came through a sublime pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold, drifting a perfect cross in for the ghosting Origi to head into the back of the net for 4-0 at half-time.
- Klopp retains Origi on left, with Mane named on substitutes’ bench
- Origi’s cross turned beyond Krul by hapless Hanley own goal
- Salah twists and finishes for 2-0, then assists Van Dijk for third
- Alisson injury forces Adrian debut; Origi adds fourth goal before half-time
- Pukki grabs one back in quieter second half, but Reds start with win
The second half started in very much the same fashion, with Krul tipping Jordan Henderson‘s effort onto the bar before Firmino scuffed a back-post shot wide, as Liverpool pushed for an early fifth.
But after losing their first-choice goalkeeper the Reds then relinquished their clean sheet, as a shaky offside trap was thwarted by Teemu Pukki as he latched onto Emi Buendia’s pass to fire past Adrian.
On came Mane soon after, with the No. 10 playing his first game back just three weeks after his appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations final.
Alexander-Arnold tested a busy Krul with a fierce free-kick, with the second half decidedly quieter than the first as Liverpool appeared to settle ahead of the trip to Istanbul in midweek.
Klopp now faces a nervous wait as the club doctors preside over Alisson‘s injury, but for now the focus should be on his side winning convincingly.
TIA Man of the Match: Roberto Firmino
Referee: Michael Oliver
Liverpool: Alisson (Adrian 39′); Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Origi (Mane 74′), Firmino (Milner 85′)
Subs not used: Matip, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri
Norwich: Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Godfrey, Lewis; Trybull (Hernandez 70′), McLean; Buendia, Stiepermann (Leitner 58′), Cantwell; Pukki (Drmic 83′)
Subs not used: Fahrmann, Byram, Roberts, Vrancic
Next Match: Chelsea (N) – UEFA Super Cup – Wednesday, August 14, 8pm (BST)