Liverpool began their English Premier League campaign with an impressive 4-0 victory against West Ham United at Anfield.
Ahead of the season, much of the attention were on the Merseyside club as their summer spending put on pressure on them to perform well in their opening game of the new season.
Jurgen Klopp brought in new Naby Keita, Fabihno, Alisson and Xherdan Shaqiri to Anfield in hopes to help them catch other top teams in the Premier League like Chelsea and current champions Manchester City.
Keita and Alisson started the game and performed extremely well, while Shaqiri made his debut as substitute, but Liverpool’s overall performance showed just how good this team is looking to be.
Mohamed Salah scored the game’s first goal before Sadio Mane netted a brace to give the Reds a 3-0 victory.
Daniel Sturridge came in as a substitute to score in only his first touch of the game to seal the deal and bring the Reds atop the table after the first game week.
Here are a few takeaways from the thrilling contest at Anfield.
LIVERPOOL DISPLAYED DOMINANCE ON THE MIDFIELD
Fabinho was widely expected to make his debut in the Reds’ first league game but many were surprised that he was left out as a substitute.
However, Klopp’s tactics worked out as Keita was partnered with Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner as they dominated the Hammers throughout 90 minutes.
The trio were dynamic throughout the contest as they changed formations all through the match to stifle West Ham and keep things unpredictable.
Keita was effective as he was all over the midfield, making big runs that threatened the West Ham defence for most of the night.
Lastly, Milner started off as a central midfielder but barely played that position as he was constantly on either wings that resulted in Mane and Salah being able to press towards the final third of the pitch to try and score. Outside of helping in attack, Milner was his usual tireless self as he was still able to help the defence whenever needed.
LIVERPOOL ATTACKING TRIO CONTINUES TO THRIVE
With the type of performances Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino displayed last year, many were left to wonder if they were a one-season wonder or not.
Despite not playing their best football, the Liverpool attack still displayed brilliance as they constantly beat the West Ham defence.
Salah opened the scoring inside the first 20 minutes of the game to signal he’s still the Egyptian King while Mane had a brace with a perfect mixture of skill and luck.
Firmino failed to get on the score sheet but provided an assist and was constantly present during their offensive runs to keep their opponents guessing.
Their energy was contagious that Sturridge also found himself scoring a goal in his first touch after coming in as a substitute for Salah.
They were not without faults but it was to be expected given that it is still the first game of the Premier League but Liverpool’s attack will continue to make headlines at Anfield.
THIS MAY BE A SIGN FOR THE SEASON
Based on last year’s performance and their player movement throughout the summer, many have considered Liverpool as the closest possible challenger to defending champions City.
Pep Guardiola’s men are known for excellent football and squad depth that few can challenge – but it appears that Klopp has finally completed a group of players that can stand up to the champions.
Looking at this performance, the Reds may have so much more to offer than what has been seen. In the first half, they displayed total dominance and hunger for the ball. In the second, they simply coasted to victory and ensured a clean sheet in the process.
If Klopp’s men can produce their brand of football for 90 minutes every game, their label as title contender may be fully justified.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 12, 2018
Fabinho was an unusued subsitute, while Jordan Henderson only came on late in the game and the Reds still have players set to return from injury.
The club is deep with talent and has a manager who seemingly has a vision to lead them to the top. If things continue the way they started then Liverpool fans are in for a treat.