Starting off the season with an impressive 4-1 victory at home is the hope of every team, especially one that has title contention in mind like Liverpool. And while the victory should be celebrated, plenty of cracks were also evident.
Had Liverpool not been playing newly promoted Norwich City, it’s fair to speculate that the outcome may have been different. It was disheartening to see how often the Canaries slid through Liverpool’s defense, even if the resulting shots went sailing over the net more often than not. This is troubling for several reasons, but the main one is that Liverpool had the best defense in the league last season - maybe even all of Europe. The same players made up their back line on Friday, save for Joe Gomez, who missed half the season through injury, yet they looked shaky.
Of course, it was the first game of the season, if you discount the Community Shield, so hand wringing isn’t quite called for yet.
After the match, captain Jordan Henderson made some observations about things that would need improving for the future — though he was quick to deflect blame from the defenders.
“It was the start of the Premier League, we wanted to go out and start really well, which we managed to do,” he told the official site.
”We scored some brilliant goals and played well in the first half. In the second half we created some chances, but could have controlled the game a little bit better.
”There’s still improvement [to be made] but overall we’re delighted with the result and performance.
”It wasn’t so much defensively, we gave the ball away sloppy at times and we didn’t control the game with the ball, so in the transition we weren’t in great positions. That’s one thing we can improve on.
”But it’s the first game of the season – there’s going to be things that we need to improve on, look back on and work on. That’s only a positive for us. We’ll learn from tonight and want to improve in the next one.”
A victory is a reason to celebrate, and complaining overly-much after crushing a team 4-1 on opening day makes one look like a Debbie Downer. But every team should strive for improvement. In the case of the Reds, they should do it before a more competent group of players than Norwich City comes along to take advantage of their weaknesses. So yay winning! And let’s move forward in the weeks to come.