If Liverpool play like this all season they may or may not win the Premier League. If Norwich play like this all season they will most certainly go down.
Liverpool’s season is up and running impressively. They will feel with some justification that a marker has been laid down before champions Manchester City. They scored four in the first half and could and should have scored at least two or three more after that. Liverpool were busy and purposeful and, importantly, looked fresh.
Norwich, though, were so compliant as to be almost deliberately complicit. So open were Daniel Farke’s team on their return to the top division that they invited every single piece of the catastrophic trouble that came their way.
Liverpool kicked off their Premier League campaign with a very comfortable win over newly promoted side Norwich City
It was a nightmare start for newly promoted Norwich as Grant Hanley sliced the ball into his own net within 10 minutes
Liverpool were celebrating for the majority of the evening, scoring four goals before half time to put the game beyond doubt
There were concerns for Liverpool after goalkeeper Alisson Becker limped off in the first half complaining of a leg injury
Liverpool 4-3-3: Alisson (Adrian 39), Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino (Milner 86), Origi (Mane 74)
Subs not used: Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Matip
Goals: Hanley (7, OG), Salah (19), Van Dijk (28), Origi (42)
Coach: Jurgen Klopp
Norwich 4-2-3-1: Krul; Lewis, Godfrey, Hanley, Aarons; Trybull (Hernandez 70), McLean, Cantwell, Stiepermann (Leitner 58), Buendia; Pukki (Drmic 83)
Subs not used: Byram, Roberts, Vrancic, Fahrmann
Goals: Pukki (64)
Yellows: Leitner, Buendia
Coach: Daniel Farke
Referee: Michael Oliver
At the end, they will have been desperately relieved that the margin of defeat was only three. With minutes left, a streaker appeared from the Norwich end and ran towards the Kop. He fell flat on his face and it felt appropriate.
An early own goal from Norwich captain Grant Hanley, two full-backs who were so advanced they were almost in Stanley Park and some marking so negligent it was borderline embarrassing. That was the story of Norwich’s night.
Goals arrived comfortably and predictably for Liverpool from Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk and then the impressive Divock Origi. Norwich created chances too — especially early on — and they may seek to take comfort from that. But they really shouldn’t.
Those early forays were long forgotten by the end of the night, even if they did manage a consolation from Teemu Pukki in a second half that Liverpool dominated almost completely.
With No 1 goalkeeper Alisson taken off with what looked like a muscle injury with the score at 3-0, this was not a perfect night for Jurgen Klopp and his team. Klopp will await the medical bulletin anxiously.
It didn’t take long for the celebrations to begin at Anfield, and they dominated the first half, putting the game beyond doubt
Norwich forward – and top scorer in the Championship last season – Teemu Pukki had a good chance saved by Alisson
Liverpool were simply too much for Norwich throughout the first half, as three goals went in before 30 minutes had passed
But for Norwich, hard lessons were learned. The promoted team was brave, ambitious and progressive early on but also far too open. In trying to play the European champions on their own terms, Norwich came with a game plan that simply could not work.
The home team were without Sadio Mane, not yet fully fit, but in his place was a confident Origi, a young player who is beginning to look as though he belongs.
Here he was involved in the first goal and it was calamitous for Norwich. Two minutes earlier, Marco Stiepermann had missed a good chance and was to have another before long which again flew over.
But in between came the bad news. Origi’s low cross arrived at the feet of Hanley in the seventh minute and he somehow managed to slice it backwards, across goalkeeper Tim Krul and in to the far corner of the net.
Pukki almost wriggled clear in the 15th minute and it needed a sharp tackle from Joe Gomez to block him. Then Gomez, fit again but a little hesitant after knee trouble, played Trent Alexander-Arnold clear inside left back Jamal Lewis who had advanced too far and when three Norwich defenders couldn’t clear, Roberto Firmino slid in Salah who slipped his first goal of the season beneath Krul and in to the net.
Mohamed Salah managed to put the ball past Norwich keeper Tim Krul after the ball broke to him in the penalty area
Liverpool players celebrate with glee after Grant Hanley gifted them their first goal of the season at Anfield
Virgil Van Dijk is able to get his head on the ball ahead of anyone else in order to score another Liverpool goal
Alisson had made a number of important stops for Liverpool in the first half before being helped off the field
Liverpool fans will be hoping their star goalkeeper won’t be out of action for too long after his injury
With 75 minutes still to go, this was a game that looked over. Still Norwich kept playing their football and only once the third goal came in the 28th minute did the spirit really leave them.
A Salah corner from the left was a routine affair but Lewis failed to apply any pressure on Van Dijk and the central defender headed in without even having to get off the ground.
Krul, at least, was doing his bit, saving well from a Firmino volley and a Jordan Henderson cross-shot. But the keeper was helpless again three minutes before half-time when Origi was allowed to drift in between Max Aarons and Hanley to head in another straight forward delivery, this time from Alexander-Arnold from deep on the right side.
Alisson’s injury was worrying as it initially looked innocuous, but newly-signed reserve keeper Adrian could not have wished to make his debut in kinder circumstances.
Divock Origi nods in to score Liverpool’s fourth goal of the first half, finishing off a long ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold
Teemu Pukki has a muted celebration with his team-mates after scoring Norwich City’s consolation goal in the second half
Sadio Mane, who only returned to training this week after competing at the Africa Cup of Nations, got a short run out
Even though Liverpool scored plenty of goals, manager Jurgen Klopp was still barking plenty of orders at his players
He was beaten out of the blue just after the hour when Pukki ran clear to shoot across him and that was a timely reminder for Liverpool that their defending had not been all it should be at times.
Nevertheless, the direction of traffic had been all one way for the final hour of this game and Liverpool should have increased their lead several times.
As Norwich went down, they did so with their principles intact. And that is not meant as a compliment.