Liverpool defeated West Ham by 4-0 at Anfield in their season opener this afternoon, with Sadio Mane grabbing a brace as well as Mo Salah and Daniel Sturridge also getting on the scoresheet.
The Reds looked comfortable in what could have been a tricky tie against Pellegrini’s West Ham who never really looked like threatening the debuting Alisson in the Liverpool goal.
Let’s take a look at five things we learned from Liverpool’s 4-0 victory
1) Liverpool Are Manchester City’s Nearest Challengers
Not including champions City who begin their season at Arsenal this afternoon, Liverpool looked by far the most dominant side following the first round of Premier League fixtures.
Just like last season, their attacking trio were fluid and clinical putting four past a West Ham defence that simply could not cope with the speed and movement that Liverpool showed.
Crucially, however, Liverpool looked almost as comfortable in every aspect of the field, their midfield dominating with the energetic and aggressive Naby Keita impressing on his debut.
It is only the first game and Liverpool will certainly face more worthy foes than West Ham this season, but Klopp’s side have laid down a marker with this victory as they look to be the ones to dethrone Pep’s Manchester City
2) Naby Keita Will Be Crucial To Any Liverpool Success This Season
If Liverpool do achieve some form of success this season, it’s already very clear that new midfielder Naby Keita will have a huge part to play in it.
As assured a Premier League debut as you are likely to see, Keita dominated the middle of the park and did not allow the West Ham midfielders to impose their game on this strong Liverpool side.
His passing was sharp and accurate and with Milner and Wijnaldum alongside him Keita had the freedom to control the game.
With Oxlade-Chamberlain out and Emre Can at Juventus, Keita looks like he could be just the midfielder that Klopp was looking for.
3) Declan Rice Was Taught A Lesson In The First Half
Still only young, Declan Rice was given the unenviable task of sitting in front of the West Ham defence to try and stop the expected attacking onslaught from Liverpool.
Unfortunately for the Irish international when the onslaught inevitable came, Rice could do very little to stop it.
The fact that despite a host of new additions, Pellegrini gave Rice a start should be a great boost for the young man, but at Anfield, he sadly looked out of his depth and often found himself out of position as Liverpool strolled forward.
Rice was taken off at half-time for Snodgrass in an attempt to quell the Reds’ attack. The 19-year-old still remains a player with massive potential however and should not lose heart.
Liverpool’s marauding side will likely trouble far more experienced players than Rice this season.
4) West Ham’s Lack Of Chances Will Be A Huge Worry For Pellegrini
As well as their opponents performed, new West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini will be hugely disappointed by the lack of creativity his team showed.
Despite the addition of Felipe Anderson and the introductions of the likes of Robert Snodgrass, Javier Hernandez and Andriy Yarmolenko, the Hammers only managed two shots on target in the whole game, none of which threatened Alisson in the Liverpool goal.
Pellegrini will be hoping that despite a plethora of new attacking additions, chance creation and goal scoring won’t be a problem that plagues his side this campaign
5) Maybe Mo Salah Won’t Be A One Season Wonder After All?
Let’s be honest. Did anyone really think Mo Salah wouldn’t start the season with a goal? It’s obviously far too early to tell but the signs are that Salah may just be as dangerous as he was last season.
The Egyptian took his goal comfortably after cleverly finding space in the West Ham box. Salah looked lively and threatening throughout as he looked to bounce back from an injury-stricken World Cup campaign.
It would be foolish this early in the season to suggest that he’ll grab 30+ league goals again, but the early signs will have Liverpool fans hugely optimistic about the campaign ahead.