Premier League News: Four-star Liverpool Make Perfect Start

If Liverpool do not mount a sustained challenge for the title in the Premier League this season, questions will be asked.

Yet after the opening 90 minutes of the 2018/19 campaign, the Premier League 2018 odds which make them second favourites for the silverware seem pretty accurate.

True, West Ham were poor and contributed to their own downfall but Liverpool played with a poise and a panache which suggests they are ready to be contenders.

Highlights of the game

Will Daniel Sturridge have a complete Premier League season after great first game for Liverpool?

Daniel Sturridge reacts after getting past Lukas Fabianski in his Liverpool’s win over West Ham

From the moment Mohamed Salah – after his 44 goal debut season at Anfield – fired Liverpool in front inside 19 minutes, the outcome was never in doubt.

The Egyptian tapped in Andy Robertson’s cross for the opener as he aims to prove wrong any doubters – not that there’s many among us followers – who think he may be a one-season wonder.

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was the busiest player on the park as the home attacking continued and West Ham would probably have been relieved to go in at the break just one goal behind only for them to make life much harder for themselves on the stroke of half-time.

James Milner cut the ball back and Sadio Mane was unmarked and given the freedom of the Kop end to double the Liverpool advantage.

Two soon became three after the restart as Mane drilled home from Roberto Firmino’s pass, even though the Senegalese international was in an offside position – there is no VAR in the Premier League.

It was left to substitute Daniel Sturridge, with his first touch 24 seconds after entering the fray, to round off the scoring and seal Liverpool’s 500th Premier League victory.

For well-beaten West Ham, who have been fairly bigspenders themselves, there remains cautious optimism.

Manuel Pellegrini will certainly be targeting a top 10 finish after last season’s relegation battle and he has moved to add some exciting additions, including Fabianski, Jack Wilshere, Felipe Anderson.

The £35 million outlay for the Lazio midfielder was a particularly eye-catching piece of business.

They started here along with two of the other new recruits, Ryan Fredericks and Fabian Balbuena, whose header was only one of two efforts on target to test debut goalkeeper, Alisson.

In fairness to the east Londoners, who have lost 12 opening Premier League games (more than any other side), this was not a day to show their own credentials.

Yet the simplicity in which they were undone suggests Pellegrini has quite a task on his hands as he will be expected to implement a more expansive and attacking style of play.

Pellegrini has the calibre and credentials to build on the initial ground work of Slaven Bilic (before it turned awry) and the ‘steadying the ship’ job carried out by David Moyes.

For Liverpool a perfect start to show why they’re expected to feature prominently in Premier League 2018 news over the next nine months.

The squad coach Jurgen Klopp has built looks well equipped to end the club’s trophy drought and his main challenge, after a big summer of spending, will now be to deliver silverware and make the Merseyside club a real force.

Key statistics

This was Liverpool’s biggest opening win of the season since 1994 when they won 6-1 at Crystal Palace.

This is the second season in a row West Ham have lost their opening Premier League fixture 4-0 (they went down by the same scoreline at Old Trafford 12 months ago).

Jurgen Klopp has spent more money this summer than during the whole of his seven year spell in charge of Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

West Ham have won only once at Anfield in their last 46 top flight visits (a 3-0 success in August 2015).

This was the fourth time in a row that Liverpool have scored four goals against the Hammers.

Salah has now scored 20 league goals in 20 Premier League games at Anfield.

Only Andy Cole (Newcastle) and Alan Shearer (Blackburn), both 41 goals, have scored more in their first 50 Premier League matches than Salah (35).

What’s next?

West Ham's newest player Jack Wilshere face his former team, Arsenal, next after losing to Liverpool

Jack Wilshere at a loss after his new team West Ham was beaten 4-0 by Liverpool

Liverpool travel to Crystal Palace a week tomorrow (August 20) and then welcome Brighton who they despatched emphatically on the final day of last season to seal Champions League qualification.

For West Ham, attention turns to the first match of the season at the London Stadium, where the atmosphere was far too negative last season and where they have largely struggled since their move from Upton Park in 2016. Bournemouth are the first visitors of the new campaign.

West Ham then travel to London rivals Arsenal.

 

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