Transfer fears eased as Jurgen Klopp's Reds make empathic Premier League start
Liverpool verdict - Transfer fears eased as Jurgen Klopp's Reds make empathic Premier League start
Paul Gorst watches Liverpool swat aside newcomers Norwich with goals from Mohamed Salah, Divock Origi, Virgil van Dijk and an own-goal
The European champions are home - and on this evidence, it's going to be another memorable ride.
Liverpool sailed to the top of the Premier League table with an emphatic opening night performance that has already laid down a marker to their title rivals.
After a string of ordinary performances across the summer were played out in front of the backdrop of a divided fanbase over their club's lack of transfer activity, the Reds made a superb start to their attempts to go one better than last time out at Anfield on Friday night to wash away any lingering worries. For now, at least.
There may be no shiny new signings to get overly excited about this campaign, but - and it need not be whispered quietly - Liverpool can still play. There's no danger there.
Just ask Norwich, whose Premier League return was not anything at all like they had hoped when the fixture list was confirmed back in June.
The Canaries strolled to the Championship title last term under their own progressive German coach in Daniel Farke, but they found out the hard way that the Premier League is a whole 'nother ball game.
The East Anglians are used to having Luis Suarez routinely terrorise them on Anfield visits, but it was the whole Liverpool team who put the fear into them this time as top-flight football returned to Merseyside with a bang.
Here, Liverpool displayed a lot of what made them such a feared attacking outfit en route to their 97 points last term, fizzing with menacing intent from very early on.
It took less than 10 seconds for the Kop to give the 'champions of Europe' anthem its first outing since 2005 and the players responded immediately.
Divock Origi seized his chance in the absence of Sadio Mane, who was given a watching brief for the majority after only returning to training on Monday.
The Belgian buzzed down the left-hand side in place of Mane and had a huge hand in the opener by causing havoc in the Norwich penalty area.
His direct run and low cross was turned in by Grant Hanley to give the home side the perfect start to their new campaign.
Mo Salah picked up where he left off in the Community Shield on Sunday, looking bright early on before Roberto Firmino's classy touch left it on a plate for the Egyptian King to double the Reds' lead.
If Liverpool are to bring league title No.19 home this season then much will rest on the shoulders of the Reds' superstar
His 44-goal season-from-another-world in 2017/18 was followed up by him netting 27 times last term and he will once more have to dig deep to produce similar numbers.
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.
Virgil van Dijk got his own campaign off to a goalscoring start by nodding home Salah's delivery as the Egyptian made the away fans pay for their curious booing of him as he prepared to flight over the corner.
At 3-0, Liverpool had their tails up and Origi made it 4-0 by stealing a yard in between the two Norwich centre-backs to head home from close range after an excellent delivery from Trent Alexander-Arnold.
On a night where the Reds showcased their awesome firepower to blast their visitors away however, there were some areas of mild concern for Klopp.
Norwich spent the first half trying to play the home side at their home game and could - and perhaps should - have scored a couple through Marco Stiepermann who somehow managed to scoop two presentable opportunities into the Kop early on.
The Reds looked sloppy at times at the back with the Canaries carving open one or two decent openings in the first period before their hosts took it up several gears.
If the good news for Klopp was the seemingly effortless return to goal-laden form up top, the bad was the sight of seeing Golden Glove holder Alisson Becker being helped off the pitch shortly before the end of the first period with a calf injury.
The Brazilian goalkeeper kicked the floor as he tried to take a goal kick and was immediately withdrawn for summer signing Adrian.
A penny for Simon Mignolet's thoughts? The Belgian left the Reds in search of first-team football only to see his replacement given a run-out inside the first half of the very next game.
Virtually everything that was great about Liverpool last season was here in droves at Anfield. A raking Van Dijk pass and Alexander-Arnold rampage early in the second half encapsulating that in one particular passage of play that almost brought a goal.
Fabinho and Salah both went close as the home side searched for a fifth before Robertson flashed one just wide from outside the penalty area.
The blot on the copy book was the sight of Teemu Pukki wheeling away after slamming one past Adrian, but that will be a minor gripe for the Reds boss.
Both Mane and Origi were afforded a standing ovation as Klopp made the change inside the final 20 minutes and last season's 26-goal hero looked like he'd never been away, producing a lively cameo on the left.
The elusive fifth never arrived, but any fears that a sluggish summer might see last term's runners-up start slowly were swiftly curtailed at Anfield.
Straight to top of charts the Reds go, and they will take some shifting, already.
Strap yourselves in, Liverpool have gone again.
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