Liverpool swaggered their way into the new Premier League season with a 4-1 victory over Norwich City, which extended their unbeaten record at Anfield in the competition to 41 matches.
There were goals, goals and more goals for the European champions with Sadio Mane, a late returnee given his involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations final with Senegal, only used as a late substitute. Fellow forwards Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were sharp and persistent threats while Divock Origi reprised his habit of being decisive.
Right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s deliveries continue to draw swoons and create opportunities, with Andrew Robertson as solid as you expect on the opposite flank.
Alisson limping off on 42 minutes with a lower leg injury clouded the victory and Liverpool will be crossing fingers and all else that the goalkeeper’s injury is minor rather than major. Furthermore, the hosts were too open in a first half that saw Norwich have more total shots (seven to six) and conceded on 64 minutes due to being too passive and failing to apply pressure. Their defensive standards were definitely not up to the level the team would expect from themselves.
Manager rating (out of 10)
Jurgen Klopp, 7 — Saw his side not needing to exert themselves too much while recording a comfortable win and had his face added to the famous banner on the Kop featuring European Cup-winning managers. He’ll be sweating on Alisson’s health.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson Becker, 7 — A pass meant for Joe Gomez that was too short and intercepted by Teemu Pukki was not the best start to the evening for the Brazil international, who reverted to form and proved his class with saves, with one sharp stop denying Marco Stiepermann in particular. Injured during a goal kick and replaced before half-time, Liverpool cannot afford to be without their world-class keeper for a stretch of time.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 — Made key passes, had several interceptions and whipped in a glorious ball for Liverpool’s fourth goal that was gleefully converted by Origi.
DF Joe Gomez, 6 — Played the ball that sparked the second goal but should have reacted better in the stanza that saw Norwich get their consolation strike.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 — Powerfully headed in Liverpool’s third from Salah’s corner and led the way in terms of tackles and interceptions. Typically solid in the air and in his individual duels.
DF Andy Robertson, 6 — Most of the side’s play funnelled through the left-back, who had the most touches and passes. Played Pukki onside for Norwich’s goal.
MF Fabinho, 7 — His ability to read the game and stifle the opposition’s play is superb. Had the most tackles, most regains and won the majority of his duels.
MF Gini Wijnaldum, 5 — A quiet game from the midfielder, who struggled to have much of an influence on the game.
FW Divock Origi, 8 — Forced the early own goal with his low cross from the left, headed in Alexander-Arnold’s ball for Liverpool’s fourth and was dangerous throughout the encounter.
FW Roberto Firmino, 9 — 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. Had a volley on the turn, which Krul was equal to early on in the game, too. Got the assist for Salah’s strike and really should have been on the scoresheet himself.
FW Mohamed Salah, 8 — A goal, an assist, three key passes and a constant nightmare for Norwich’s markers. Looks super fit, stronger and shows no dwindling in determination to land another Golden Boot.
GK Adrian, 6 — Making an unexpected debut, he made two saves and will be disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet with 3-0 to the good upon his introduction.
FW Sadio Mane, NR — Entered after 74 minutes in place of Origi, he showed some flashes but was mainly working himself back into the first-team after some well-earned time off.
MF James Milner, NR — Replaced Firmino after 86 minutes.