Premier League, Anfield – Liverpool 4 (Salah 19, Mane 45, 53, Sturridge 88) West Ham 0
Sadio Mane struck twice as Liverpool offered evidence of why they are being tipped to push for the title with a 4-0 demolition of West Ham at Anfield.
The Senegalese star tucked home his first on the stroke of half-time before all-but securing victory with a smart shot on the turn on 53 minutes from what looked like an offside position.
Klopp’s side, who had taken the lead when Mohamed Salah, who notched 44 goals in his first campaign on Merseyside, opened his account for 2018-19 by touching home Andy Robertson’s fizzing, low cross on 19 minutes.
West Ham offered little as their five debutants struggled to gel and Daniel Sturridge rubbed salt in their wounds late on when he knocked home from a corner within seconds of appearing as a substitute. It was the icing on the cake on what was close to a perfect afternoon for Klopp and Co as new boys Alisson and Naby Keita both impressed.
The comfortable victory was the Merseysiders’ 500th of the Premier League era and means they will visit Crystal Palace next Monday evening in buoyant mood. West Ham will need to regroup and continue to familiarise themselves with new faces before targeting their first win under Manuel Pellegrini when they host Bournemouth on Saturday.
Liverpool’s new boys add to an already exiting squad. Everyone knows the Reds’ front three are a sight to behold when they are in full flight – and they were at it again here. Mane, Roberto Firmino and Salah were just too good for West Ham while the sight of Sturridge returning to notch his first goal since November 2017 could potentially be a significant boost for the rest of the campaign.
As with all opening weekend matches, fans love to get a glimpse of any new signings and Keita was particularly impressive. He looks set to add a new dimension to the midfield while Alisson was solid but mostly a spectator for much of the match. Bigger tests will lie ahead for him and the Reds’ defence, but this was a fine way to start a season where expectation is high.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Naby Keita (Liverpool): The forwards did the damage in front of goal, but the Guinean produced an energetic, all-action display in the midfield that really caught the eye. It was an excellent debut and very much worthy of the number eight shirt he has been handed.