Liverpool's challenge for the Premier League title got off to (almost) the perfect start on Friday evening as they stormed to a 4-1 win over Norwich City at Anfield.
Norwich got off to the worst possible start when defender Grant Hanley turned a Divock Origi cross into his own net after just seven minutes. Liverpool made it two soon after, with Mohamed Salah slotting home after some nice, intricate passing in the penalty area. Despite some impressive football from Norwich, Virgil van Dijk made it 3-0 with a header from a corner on the half-hour mark.
They didn't waste much time before grabbing a fourth through an Origi header, but that came after they lost goalkeeper Alisson to a concerning leg injury – the main talking point from the night's proceedings.
Jurgen Klopp's men started the second half brightly, but were powerless to prevent Teemu Pukki grabbing one back for Norwich with a cool finish shortly after the hour. However, their lead rarely came under threat as they controlled the game until the final whistle, picking up the first points of the season in the process.
Key Talking Point
Elsewhere, it was an utterly perfect night for Liverpool, but Alisson's injury certainly spoiled things. The Reds were fluid and exciting, and they really took advantage of Norwich's inexperience and youth. Their Premier League title challenge is off to the perfect start, but fans will be hoping to see Alisson back sooner rather than later.
Starting XI: Alisson (6); Alexander-Arnold (8), Gomez (6), Van Dijk (6), Robertson (7); Henderson (7), Fabinho (7), Wijnaldum (7); Salah (8*), Firmino (7), Origi (8).
Substitutes: Adrian (6), Mane (7), Milner (N/A).
STAR MAN - Mohamed Salah
Salah is not messing about. It may only be the first week of the season, but he clearly wants to make the Golden Boot award his own this season.
He absolutely terrorised Norwich at Anfield, constantly finding himself in threatening positions as a result of his movement. With or without the ball, Salah waltzed into the penalty area with ease and pulled the strings against a shell-shocked Norwich side.
MOHAMED SALAH IS A 3 SEASON WONDER PASS IT ON— Samuel (@SamueILFC) August 9, 2019
If there’s anything Salah is undeniably terrible at, it’s being a one season wonder— Rosey FC (@RoseyFC) August 9, 2019
Even with the ball at his feet, Salah was happy to pull the strings and showcase his passing abilities to try and create more goals. He just needs 37 more performances like this and the title will be his.
Key Talking Point
Now, if you simply look at the result, this looks bad for Norwich. Really bad. However, the scoreline certainly doesn't tell the whole story.
The Canaries were exciting to watch and played with the kind of confidence and swagger which we don't often see from newly promoted sides. There were plenty of similarities to Liverpool's style of play, but they simply couldn't cope defensively (even if the second half was far better for Norwich).
Might sound crazy here but Norwich haven’t looked too bad tonight, they’re going to get goals this season and Teemu Pukki will be scoring most of them.— Greg - Football Index (@ImTheGregC) August 9, 2019
STAR MAN - Teemu Pukki
Looking at the scoreline, you wouldn't think that Norwich were really in this game. Yet, at time, they certainly were, and that was largely thanks to Teemu Pukki.
His movement was fantastic, and he certainly deserved to open his Premier League account. His cool finish showed exactly what Pukki is about - movement and vision - and he was unlucky not to get even more.
A lot to like about this Norwich side tbh. Aarons, Lewis, Pukki, Buendia & Stieperman can play.— JM (@ThisMerv) August 9, 2019
Based on this performance, Pukki will score goals in the Premier League. He might not match his ludicrously high tally from the Championship last season, but he looks more than capable of leading the line this year.