Liverpool started off the 2018/19 season in spectacular fashion as goals from Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane (x2) and Daniel Sturridge helped the Reds secure a convincing 4-0 victory over a new-look West Ham United side on Sunday afternoon at Anfield.
The build up to the game (pre season and all) has been the most positive I can ever remember. There’s been no drama, no wantaway players, no failed transfer pursuits (Fekir doesn’t count, he did an interview for goodness sake!), perfect squad harmony, good signings. It all seemed a bit too good to be true.
It all still seems a bit too good to be true but I’m loving it.
Thankfully Joe Gomez was passed fit to start the game alongside Virgil van Dijk at the back with Nat Phillips likely having been the only other option if he was still injured. Fabinho wasn’t risked as he started from the bench with a midfield of Naby Keita, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum starting. Otherwise the lineup was as you would expect.
It really was clear from the off that this Liverpool team were on a different level both quality and cohesion-wise as they constantly cut through the West Ham defence, helped by the extremely high line that Mauricio Pellegrini has obviously instructed his team to hold (equivalent to suicide against our attack!).
The inevitable breakthrough came in the 19th minute when the exceptional Keita played Andy Robertson through down the left and the Scotsman fired in a brilliant low cross to the waiting feet of Salah who only needed to prod the ball home. The Egyptian’s first goal of the season, picking up right where he left off last time out.
No-longer record goalkeeper signing Allison barely had anything to do in his Premier League debut, there was even one point he seemed to lose concentration and fluff a clearance but it came to nothing, luckily.
His opposite number Lukazs Fabianski on the other hand had plenty to keep his mind on the task at hand. He was beaten again however right on the stroke of half time as Robertson lifted a great cross to Milner at the back post who’s sliding cutback found Mane who managed to reach back and divert the ball into an empty net.
The Senegalese winger didn’t need too long after the break to grab his second as a ball through from Roberto Firmino allowed Mane to take the ball, turn and rifle a shot in to the bottom left corner. Might be worth mentioning the atrocious refereeing that actually allowed the goal to be given with Mane being a couple yards offside, VAR would have disallowed the goal.
From then on it was partially put on cruise control as Jurgen Klopp took advantage of the depth on the bench as he brought in Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge and debutant Xherdan Shaqiri. Sturridge, who had a brilliant pre season, continued the good form in to this game as he scored with literally his first touch of the ball. A swinging corner found the striker at the back post where he finished well. It’s his first competitive goal of the year and hopefully the start of his comeback season after a failed loan spell at West Brom last season. He has the quality, no one doubts that, he just needs to stay fit.
This was the Liverpool we had expected to see today but it is still very reassuring to see that our optimism hasn’t been misplaced. This week and a bit wait before the Crystal Palace game is going to be something akin to torture, that can only be a good thing however. Onwards Redmen!