Liverpool kicked off the new Premier League season with a convincing 3-0 victory over newly-promoted Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday evening.
The Canaries started strongly, and Teemu Pukki forced Alisson Becker into a decent save at his front post. But the Reds’ nerves were calmed on 26 minutes, when Diogo Jota’s weak shot dribbled past Tim Krul to give the visitors the lead against the run of play.
Liverpool had the chance to double the advantage straight after half-time, but Sadio Mane’s shot was well blocked by Max Aarons. Norwich dared to believe in a comeback, but their hopes were dashed on 65 minutes when Mohamed Salah squared for substitute Roberto Firmino, and he finished with ease.
Salah got in on the act himself 10 minutes later, picking up a loose ball on the edge of the box and rifling home a ruthless strike to add some gloss to the scoreline. The scoring finished there, meaning Jurgen Klopp’s side travelled home with three goals, three points and a clean sheet.
Let’s check out the player ratings.
Tim Krul (GK) – 4/10 – Somehow allowed Jota’s central shot to sneak through his body and dribble over the line. An awful blow when Norwich were truly on top. Beaten twice more.
Max Aarons (RB) – 6/10 – Impressive in the opening half an hour, always looking forward with the ball and driving. Didn’t give Mane an easy ride. Deserved better.
Grant Hanley (CB) – 6/10 – Used his physical presence to dominate Jota early on, but risked being spun from time to time. Flummoxed by Salah’s touch which sent the ball rolling between the two centre-backs. Tough second half.
Ben Gibson (CB) – 5/10 – Denied a certain goal by clearing from under his own bar. Brave. Wrong-footed by Salah for the opener. Performance went downhill from then on.
Dimitris Giannoulis (LB) – 5/10 – Bombed forward to add an extra body to the attack and to give Alexander-Arnold something else to think about. Couldn’t live with Salah’s movement in the second half.
Lukas Rupp (CM) – 5/10 – Not the most convincing of first halves for Rupp, who wasn’t quite at the races, unlike his teammates in the centre of the pitch. Never picked up.
Billy Gilmour (CM) – 7/10 – A good showing. Did his best to protect the backline, retained possession at every opportunity and offered a class beyond his years.
Pierre Lees-Melou (CM) – 6/10 – Blocked expertly on the line to deny Matip from stroking home into an empty net. Not at the races, though.
Todd Cantwell (RW) – 7/10 – Tenacious, technically gifted and a top talent. Worked hard for his team, held up possession and added a sparkle in the final third. He’s ready for the Premier League.
Teemu Pukki (ST) – 6/10 – Darted in behind the defence to fizz a shot into the front post, but Alisson was up to the task. Felt he was fouled in the buildup to Liverpool’s opening goal – optimistic pleas.
Milot Rashica (LW) – 6/10 – Exploited the space behind Alexander-Arnold to run at Matip. Drifted out of the game following an explosive opening 20 minutes.
Adam Idah (ST) – 6/10
Josh Sargent (ST) – 6/10
Kieran Dowell (CM) – N/A
Alisson Becker (GK) – 8/10 – Alert to block Pukki’s effort at the front post. Little else to do in the first half as Liverpool recovered from their rocky start. Brilliant double save late on.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – 7/10 – Didn’t seem fussed by runners charging in behind him, but escaped unscathed on more than one occasion. Typically dangerous in the Norwich half with the ball.
Joel Matip (CB) – 7/10 – Almost doubled Liverpool’s lead, but saw his effort blocked on the line. Looking like the solid partner Van Dijk dreams of next to him.
Virgil van Dijk (CB) – 7/10 – Allowed Pukki to peel off him and get a shot away on 20 minutes. A let off. Grew into the game as he added minutes to his legs. Good to see him back out there.
Kostas Tsimikas (LB) – 6/10 – Exciting, erratic and extremely shaky. Lost possession with loose passes on a couple of occasions and struggled to beat his man in attack. Fast and unpredictable, though.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (CM) – 6/10 – Fairly quiet and struggled to get into the game. Benefitted from the Reds taking the lead, as Norwich’s confidence shrank. Subbed.
Naby Keita (CM) – 6/10 – A lot of sideways and backwards passes without ever really threatening to penetrate the lines. Completely overrun by the Canaries until Jota’s opener.
James Milner (CM) – 7/10 – Couple of stray passes in the middle, but covered well for the marauding Tsimikas on that left flank. Booked for a heavy challenge on Pukki.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – 9/10 – Tried to control the ball for himself, inadvertently pushing it into the path of Jota. He did the rest. Laid another goal on a plate for Firmino to finish. Hammered home the third. What a performance.
Diogo Jota (ST) – 7/10 – Forced a fine save from Krul with a neat header. On hand to break the deadlock, although his goal was smeared with a stroke of luck.
Sadio Mane (LW) – 6/10 – The quietest of the front three in the first half, but he could never be left unattended. Saw a low shot blocked just in front of the line.
Roberto Firmino (ST) – 7/10 – Came on and closed out the game with a simple finish when unmarked in the area. Welcome back, Bobby.
Fabinho (CM) – 7/10
Harvey Elliott (CM) – N/A