(CNN) – Liverpool is now unbeaten in its last 13 games against Norwich City as it started its English Premier League campaign with a dominant 4-1 victory over the newly-promoted side.
The reigning European champion barely broke a sweat under the Anfield lights as they ran riot against its inexperienced opposition.
In fairness, the disparity between the two clubs was clear before a ball was even kicked on Friday.
Liverpool is defending its UEFA Champions League trophy this season whilst chasing a 19th domestic title. Meanwhile, Norwich was playing in its first top flight game for three years.
An already challenging evening quickly became a lot more difficult for the underdogs as Scottish international Grant Hanley scored a calamitous own goal within the opening 10 minutes.
Article Continues After Advertisement
The experienced defender was one of only two Norwich players who had previously tasted life in the top flight but his error opened the door for an emphatic Liverpool win.
Egyptian star Mo Salah quickly doubled his side’s lead before Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi made it 4-0 at halftime.
However, Teemu Pukki — who was last season’s top scorer in British football’s second tier — gave the visiting fans something to cheer about after he swept home a consolation goal in the second half.
“It was a pretty good second half from us,” Pukki told Sky Sports after the match.
“We decided at half time it was maybe too much to get some points so we just wanted to go and try and score.”
Liverpool concerns despite win
There was an intensity about the hosts throughout the game which highlighted the cavernous gap between the two sides, and Liverpool fans will hope history continues to repeat itself.
The last time Liverpool played Norwich at home on the first day of the season, the Reds went on to win the league.
“We didn’t underestimate them at all,” Liverpool defender Joe Gomez told Sky Sports.
“We knew they’d come here to play football, the manager warned us about that, and they got behind us a few times.
“It was frustrating to concede the goal but we have to learn from it and progress.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will have concerns about his side’s defense though which occasionally looked vulnerable against Norwich’s front line.
In addition, goalkeeper Alisson Becker — who was representing Brazil in the Copa America this summer — was forced off in the first half after picking up an injury.
Alisson is one of a number of Liverpool’s top players to have had a busy off-season and Klopp has previously criticized the congested fixture list.
“With Alisson it is not good, but we will find a solution and move on,” Klopp told BBC Sport’s Match of the Day after the match.
“He felt his calf. He looked behind him because he thought something hit him.”
Sports scientist Simon Brundish previously told CNN Sport that he predicted a “catastrophic season for injuries” with top players unable to rest appropriately between games.‘I love my players’
Despite the heavy loss, Norwich can take heart from a gutsy performance which improved in the second half.
Manager Daniel Farke promised to stick to the club’s new attacking style of play and his side did create a host of chances against far superior opposition.
Admirably, four of Norwich’s starting lineup had graduated from the club’s youth academy but it will have to solidify its defense this season if it wants to avoid a record fifth relegation from the EPL.
“In general we are disappointed we lost the game,” Farke told Sky Sports. “We wanted to start with some points but of course unbelievably happy with the character of my team. We showed great character.”
He added: “We created more chances and had more shots on the goal in the second half. My feeling was in the first half we were not that bad. I love this team and I love my players.”
TM & © 2019 Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
A Warner media Company.
All Rights Reserved.