Liverpool kick-started their 2018-19 season in emphatic fashion as they romped to a 4-0 win over West Ham United at Anfield on Sunday.
The Reds were in total control from start to finish as they treated the Anfield faithful to some sumptuous football. When Mohamed Salah finally opened the scoring in the 19th minute, it was a well deserved goal for the Liverpool talisman, who tapped in from Andrew Robertson’s low cross.
The hosts continued dominating thereafter, with West Ham failing to trouble Alisson on the other end. And, at the stroke of half-time, the lead was doubled when James Milner’s lunge towards Robertson’s cross threaded the ball towards Sadio Mane, who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net.
In the second half, Liverpool got into top gear, with Mane doubling his tally as Roberto Firmino slipped him through, although the Senegalese should have been pulled back for being offside. The win was finally rounded off when Daniel Sturridge scored with his first touch of the ball.
Four goals and three points. Picking up from where we left off at Anfield last season. 🙌
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 12, 2018
The 4-0 win means Liverpool end Gameweek 1 of the Premier League on top of the table, something the fans will likely be delighted by. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men after a stunning start to their season.
Couldn’t have asked for an easier Liverpool debut. All game long, Alisson was a mere spectator, who had more work to do with his feet than with his gloves. The Brazilian’s distribution was superb for the most part, bar one poor clearance that could have cost dearly. Tougher tests await for the stopper.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7.5/10
Alexander-Arnold was a surprise selection ahead of Nathaniel Clyne, considering he only returned to training earlier in the week. And, the rustiness in his game was visible. The teenager’s crossing was far from its best, although that too, can be chalked down to him not being in the best of shape.
🔴 Trent Alexander-Arnold (19) vs West Ham United:
6/10 long balls
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) August 12, 2018
Nevertheless, he posed a lot of threat throughout the game, particularly with his marauding runs down the right flank. Could have had a goal to show for his efforts as well, but his curling free-kick was saved brilliantly by Lukasz Fabianski. Sure to be a big factor on set-pieces going forward.
Joe Gomez: 7/10
Starting in his preferred role at the heart of the Liverpool defence, Gomez showed just why there was no need for Liverpool to buy another centre-back this summer despite an injury crisis. Had one bad moment in the game when he allowed Marko Arnautovic a sniff at goal. But, the young defender was solid otherwise while also showing a lot of quality on the ball.
Virgil van Dijk: 7/10
Liverpool’s leader at the back continued from where he had left off last season, organising the defence superbly while looking to advance forward at every given opportunity. The Reds’ staggering record of not conceding a single Premier League goal at Anfield in a game that van Dijk has featured in just keeps on extending.
Andrew Robertson: 8.5/10
For large parts of last season, Robertson went under the radar. But, that is unlikely to continue this term, especially if he continues performing like he did on Sunday. The Scot was the most dangerous outlet for Liverpool in the wide areas, not just due to his pacy runs, but more so for his pinpoint delivery.
Robertson had provided the assist for Salah’s goal with a powerful cross, and it was his searching long ball that opened up play for his side’s second. A highly important player for the Reds this season.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
Neither Wijnaldum, nor Fabinho were fit enough to start. Wijnaldum was thus, handed the responsibility of playing the no. 6 role. It was a position that he had revelled in the few opportunities that he got last season, and it was more of the same on Sunday. Upon Henderson’s introduction, the Dutchman also impressed while moving forward. A fine utility player.
James Milner: 9/10
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) August 12, 2018
Salah and Mane may have scored the goals. But, the true man of the match for Liverpool on Sunday was James Milner. The veteran Englishman ran the show from midfield, and his work-rate is downright ridiculous. Ridiculously good though, for a 32-year-old whose peak should be behind him, although that does not seem to be the case.
The Liverpool skipper on the day got the assist for the second goal while also supplying the corner that led to the fourth goal. The creative hub of Liverpool could turn his attention towards grabbing the assists award in the Premier League this season after conquering Europe last term.
Naby Keita: 8/10
The second of Liverpool’s summer arrivals on display from the get-go on Sunday. Naby Keita was solid for the most part, bar one or two average moments. The Guinean was heavily involved in the build-up to Salah’s goal, displaying similar intelligence later on in the game. He even played in a wide role in the final moments of the game, a showcase of his versatility.
Mohamed Salah: 8/10
The Liverpool talisman just cannot do any wrong for the Reds. The Egyptian scored one of his easiest goals in a Liverpool shirt, and could have easily had a hat-trick if not for the brilliant Fabianski. It will be hard to bet against Salah for the Golden Boot this season, although a certain Harry Kane and one of his own teammates may just have a say in it.
Roberto Firmino: 7.5/10
Firmino was clearly not at his best on Sunday, and understandably so, having not trained enough ahead of the game. But, his fantastic link-up abilities meant that the Brazilian was always a major threat, while his incredible work-rate just continues capturing the imagination. Also recorded an assist to show for his hard work.
Sadio Mane: 9/10
Retracing back to Salah’s tilt for the Golden Boot this season, Sadio Mane could be one of his biggest challengers this season. The Senegalese was far from his best in the first half. But, he kept on slogging and hustling before being duly rewarded with a goal at the stroke of half-time.
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 12, 2018
That goal made him the first-ever Liverpool player to score in three successive season opening Premier League games. But, Mane wasn’t done just yet as he scored his second – he now has 13 goals in his last 17 games – although it should have been disallowed for being an offside. The Salah-Mane combo, supported by Firmino could be deadlier than ever before.
Jordan Henderson: 6/10
With West Ham already dead and buried by then, the Liverpool captain got some crucial minutes to continue building up his fitness after returning to training earlier in the week. A bundle of energy in his short cameo, Henderson pressed at every opportunity.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 6/10
Shaqiri got his Anfield bow as well on Sunday, albeit in a cameo. Despite a short stint on the pitch though, the Swiss star was a lively customer, although he did not have enough time to make much of an impact.
Daniel Sturridge: 7/10
Not even on the pitch for 20 seconds, Sturridge scored from his first touch of the ball in what was a typical poacher’s goal. Could have added another in added time, and looks happier than ever under Klopp. Might be an underrated weapon for the Liverpool boss with this frame of mind.