Liverpool 4 - 1 Norwich City
Reds: Hanley (OG) 7’, Salah 19’, Van Dijk 28’, Origi 42’
Canaries: Pukki 64’
It all starts here, folks. The line-up is largely as expected, although Joe Gomez gets the nod over Joel Matip, a strong indication that, all things being equal, the young defender is the top pick to pair with Virgil van Dijk. The other notable absence, Sadio Mane, starts on the bench with Barca-killer Divock Origi getting the nod. Mane just came back to training on Monday, so this is hardly a surprise. The Champions of Europe will expect to get all three points tonight, and hopefully make a statement in the process.
Side note: Kloppo looks amazing on the newly refurbished Soviet-style banner, alongside Rafa, Shanks, et al.
The first shot of the league season belongs to...Norwich? A sloppy giveaway from a poor Alisson pass leads to a bit of trouble, but thankfully the first time shot goes well over the bar.
GOAL! Welcome back to the Premier League, Norwich. Robertson picks out Origi streaking down the wing. The Belgian works his way into the box before sending in a weak cross toward Roberto Firmino. The defender should have done better. MUCH better. But instead deflected the pass into his own net. Well, they all count.
Norwich respond well, hitting Liverpool with a dangerous counterattack, but yet again fail to hit the target. The threat from the visitors continues moments later, as they’ve already managed to beat our offside trap several times, creating some dangerous situations and last-ditch tackles.
GOAL!! It took Mohamed Salah a whole nineteen minutes to put his name atop the Premier League scorers chart (alongside Own Goal). It initially looked as if Mo lost his chance, but a poor defensive clearance fell to Bobby, who deftly slotted it into the path of the two-time Golden Boot winner. Mo took a touch onto his favored left foot, and slotted home into the far bottom corner.
Norwich seem content to play this match end-to-end. It’s brave, and it has created some scary moments for the hosts, but so far it’s a losing proposition.
GOAL!!! Robertson wins a corner when his attempted cross is deflected out of play. Salah steps up to the corner flag and whips in a dangerous ball. Van Dijk doesn’t even have to leap, nodding in the corner despite some aggressive defending.
Firmino is unlucky not to make it four after a spectacular chested take down and volley from a TAA cross. Are you not entertained?
Oh fuck. Scary moments as it looks like Alisson injured himself taking a goal kick. And now he’s coming out. Well, um. Welcome to Liverpool, Adrian.
GOAL! Divock Origi makes it four! Trent picks out Divock’s run into the box, and puts it on a plate for the Belgian striker to nod home. Well, still worried about Alisson, but that settles the nerves of the Anfield faithful a bit.
Well. That was eventful. And it was almost more eventful as Fabinho and Henderson run into each other, each trying to head a ball just before the halftime whistle blows. Thankfully, they both seem OK. Anyway, everything is awesome other than the injury to our Manbearbrazilian of a goalkeeper, Alisson. Which, you know, is not awesome unless we’re planning on scoring four every half this season.
The second half begins with some technical difficulties, as the officiating crew clearly forgot to replace the batteries in their headsets during the offseason. It happens.
In actual football, Liverpool go and nearly make it five, first with a saved Henderson effort, and then Bobby somehow did not score after being teed up (again!) by Trent. Firmino managed to get both in Origi’s way and his own as he failed to sort his feet, unmarked, at the back post. Bobby has had a great match so far. But he’ll want that one back.
Goal. Adrian is tested for his first time in his Liverpool career. And. Well. Finnish striker Pukki puts it past him after doing well to beat the (rather poorly constructed) offside trap.
In the seventy fourth minute, Klopp brings on Sadio Mane for Origi. Divock acquitted himself well today, continuing his eye for goal from last season...but he’s no Mane.
Bobby, who has looked increasingly gassed as the half progressed, does well to earn a free kick in a very dangerous position. Alexander-Arnold steps up and puts the ensuing free kick on frame, but cannot beat the keeper who was alert to the danger. It was Firmino’s last involvement, as Klopp brought midfielder and good luck charm James Milner on to help see out the affair.
It’s a performance that Luis Suarez would admire. Plus or minus more embarrassed and/or bitten defenders. For Norwich City, It was a return to the Premier League and another hefty defeat to Liverpool. Few Liverpool supporters can have a problem with the final scoreline, however the injury to Alisson will likely (and deservedly) be the story until we learn more about the nature of the knock. Fowler willing the substitution will be merely precautionary, or at least not too serious.