Reds “remain a force” as attacking excellence pays off – Media on Liverpool 4-1 Norwich

10 August 2019

The media thought Liverpool’s consistent lineup was key to the 4-1 opening day win over Norwich, and were impressed with how the attack found form so quickly.


An electric first-half attacking display ensured the Reds opened the new campaign in style with a convincing win at Anfield.

Grant Hanley’s early own-goal was followed by strikes from Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi who effectively wrapped up victory before half-time.

Teemu Pukki grabbed a consolation for the visitors but Liverpool strolled to a first three points of the season in the first game back at Anfield with the European champions tag.

It’s a good start from Jurgen Klopp’s side and here is how the media assessed the opening-day success.

 

The media were impressed by Liverpool’s electric start and business-like approach to the new campaign…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, August 9, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring the third goal during the opening FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The BBC’s Neil Johnston assessed there were no signs “Liverpool might be suffering a hangover” from last season’s title disappointment:

Any fears Liverpool might be suffering a hangover after missing out to Manchester City by one point in the race for last season’s title were quickly dispelled as the Reds started their quest to win a first top-flight title in 30 years in style.

The Mail’s Ian Ladyman insisted that Liverpool have already laid down a marker to Man City for the season ahead:

Liverpool’s season is up and running impressively. They will feel with some justification that a marker has been laid down before champions Manchester City.

Goal.com’s Neil Jones thought concerns over the lack of signings to freshen the squad were dismissed as Klopp’s unchanged unit showed they remain “hungry” and “a force to be reckoned with”:

No big signings, but they remain a force to be reckoned with. And judging by this, they remain as hungry as ever – even if there are aspects of their performance that Klopp will hope to improve.

The Telegraph’s Sam Wallace felt the unchanged, consistent lineup allowed Liverpool to instantly find rhythm by “playing from memory”:

There are no easy ways to repeat a season when the whole of Europe was conquered and there were nights and games that will be remembered forever, but this was one of those occasions when Liverpool just had to play from memory to keep scoring goals.

 

Reporters were hugely impressed by the way Liverpool’s attack have immediately found form…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, August 9, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah is all smiles as a naked streaker runs onto the pitch during the opening FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Independent’s Mark Critchley was impressed by the attack’s hunger for goals and feels the firepower the Reds boast will outweigh any early defensive issues:

The drop-off in performance and defensive jitters should not be ignored by Klopp, but you sense his side will almost always have the firepower to overcome any minor frailties at the back. After the first, they predictably pressed for more.

The Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe said Klopp’s men gave a reminder of why they are so difficult to play against:

It will be quite the dilemma for those clubs below the top six. Show ambition and you get hammered. Sit back and you’re inviting similar punishment.

Standard Sport’s David Lynch feels that Origi’s form last season and his immediate impact in the opener shows the Belgian is the extra top attacker Liverpool need:

Origi’s Champions League heroics last term showed that he can play a major role, even if it is not quite at the level of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

And he proved that again here, forcing the own-goal opener and then netting himself courtesy of a well-taken header. If the Reds are to do well on all fronts this season, Klopp’s back-ups need to both be given and take their chances to shine. This was a good start in that regard.

On a similar note, the Mail’s Joe Bernstein thinks Origi’s complete performance should provide full confidence that the Reds do have the attacking depth required to win the title:

Origi’s goal and assist, and general all-round play, justified the decision and his presence didn’t weaken Liverpool at all. It should give renewed optimism to Liverpool fans – and Klopp – that this season they have the strength in depth to win the Premier League.

Origi is still only 24. The natural pace, movement and energy are still there in abundance, but it’s allied to a better tactical understanding of his role in the Liverpool team and how to affect a game.

Meanwhile, the Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst thought the main positive was Salah getting on the score-sheet so quickly:

So it was heartening for the Liverpool faithful to see their main goal threat in such sparkling form early on. Much more is expected from the former Roma man and the signs are that he will be ready to deliver once again.

 

The watching journalists also saw some early teething problems…

Writing for ESPN, Melissa Reddy assessed Liverpool’s defensive standards were “not up to the level” usually expected:

Their defensive standards were definitely not up to the level the team would expect from themselves.

The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle thought the Reds, worryingly, looked more like the 2017/18 version than that of last season, given the blistering attacking play but “dangerously open” defence:

This was largely the Reds of 2017-18, free-flowing, risk-taking and at times dangerously open, rather than the more cute, mature, considered iteration that gradually steamrollered almost everybody in their path last term.

Wallace thought the Reds lacked fluency in their play but was in no doubt that it will come as the season gets into its stride:

But the fluency that this Liverpool team demonstrated in beating the very best in Europe last season will take a little longer to come.

Lynch reflected on Alisson’s unwelcome injury and thinks the Reds’ hopes for a strong start to the season could suffer if the No.1 is out for any sustained duration of time:

While the Spaniard acquitted himself well on debut he, like most other goalkeepers in the world, cannot match Alisson in terms of quality.

If further tests show that the Reds’ No.1 is out for any length of time, that could be a major dent to his team’s hopes of making a strong start to the season.

 

Reporters offered thoughts on individual performances and the evolution of certain Reds…

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 4, 2019: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lynch thought the benefits of a fully bedded-in Fabinho were evidenced, assessing that the Brazilian will undoubtedly be one of the first names on the team-sheet this season:

And he started what Klopp will hope is a first full season playing at that level for the Reds in encouraging fashion on Friday evening.

Up against a lively Norwich midfield, the Brazilian was everywhere, constantly breaking up play and thrashing the ball into the hosts’ forwards to spark counterattacks. Now fully aware of what is expected of him at Anfield, Fabinho is likely to be one of the first names on the teamsheet this season.

The Mirror’s Mark Jones tipped Jordan Henderson to produce a “special season” now the captain will primarily feature in his strongest box-to-box role:

For the first time since Steven Gerrard left Liverpool, Jordan Henderson is starting a Reds season in absolutely no doubt that he is going to be used in his most effective position.

[…]

That leaves Henderson to go and enjoy himself. If he can rediscover a knack for goalscoring that has gone from his game, this could be a standout campaign for the captain.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, August 9, 2019: Liverpool's goalkeeper Adrián San Miguel del Castillo applauds the supporters after the opening FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wallace saw indications that Adrian will be a good fit for Alisson, highlighting the Spaniard’s tidy distribution and ability to play from the back:

Adrian’s first touch was a pass clipped out to Andy Robertson on the left side which showed that he might be able to adapt.

Lynch saw signs that Liverpool’s full-backs will be just as influential this season as last:

Alexander-Arnold set up his first goal of the season in laying on Origi’s header, while Robertson was a constant menace down the left flank with his powerful running.

Perhaps others will fare better in trying to stop the Reds’ full-backs, but they look primed for another influential campaign.

Finally, Reddy thought Roberto Firmino was man-of-the-match, labelling the Brazilian “unplayable”:

Unplayable. Unselfish. Showed his quick feet and was sharp in his decision-making, too. Made an array of backheels, executed some superb pressing and did just about everything Klopp could have asked for.

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