Liverpool recorded a 4-1 win over Norwich City on Friday night in the opening game of the Premier League season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side cruised to victory over a spirited, adventurous Norwich team, who had a cruel introduction to life in the top-flight. However, there is also room for improvement for Liverpool, who were lapse at the back and allowed several attempts on goal.
It didn’t take long for the home side to open the scoring. After just seven minutes, Andy Robertson found Divock Origi outside the Norwich penalty area with a pass. The Belgian forward ran at Max Aarons, stepped over the ball and fired a cross towards Roberto Firmino, only to see the ball turned into the net by Grant Hanley.
Norwich were behind but continued to play some lovely football. On a couple of occasions, Daniel Farke’s side got behind Liverpool’s defence and create some promising openings. Their build-up play was impressive and their bravery commendable, but they lacked a finishing touch and were cut apart by Liverpool in the opening 30-minutes.
Klopp’s team did not get out of third gear but never needed to. Liverpool doubled their lead after 18-minutes. The ball fell to Mohamed Salah outside the Norwich penalty area and then ricocheted to Firmino, who played Salah in on goal. For the third season in succession, the Egyptian scored on the opening day of the season. 10-minutes later, Virgil van Dijk made it 3-0, hammering home a header in the Norwich penalty area after Salah’s pinpoint delivery from a corner.
The only mark on Liverpool’s first half was an injury to Alisson Becker, which meant Adrian, signed earlier this week on a free transfer, made his debut a lot sooner than he would have expected. However, Alisson’s exit had no impact on the pattern of the game in the first half. Liverpool continued to carve Norwich open. The Canaries’ intent was admirable, but their tactic of playing out from the back against one of the most accomplished pressing sides in Europe was proving harmful.
Origi got his second three minutes before half-time, and Liverpool looked set to add more to their tally after the break. Salah went close with an effort that drifted past Tim Krul’s post. But Liverpool continued to be flaky at the back. Moritz Leitner struck the crossbar with a powerful shot, minutes before the home side conceded. Teemu Pukki, who scored 29 goals in the Championship last season, controlled an excellent through ball from Emi Buendía and buried a brilliant finish past Adrian into the bottom corner.
The game petered out from that point. Norwich saved face after a damaging first half by winning the second period. They will cause Premier League teams problems this season, but proved several levels below their opponents on Friday night.
However, despite the scoreline, Klopp won’t be overly pleased with his side’s display. At times, Liverpool were needlessly sloppy at the back, failed to put pressure on Norwich to prevent their goal, losing a clean sheet, and conceded 11 shots on target.
Yet, such is the gap between the teams at the top and bottom of the Premier League, neither side will read too much into this game.