Liverpool ease to Norwich victory with landmark goal among rout

Date published: Saturday 14th August 2021 7:21 - Neil Foster

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Roberto Firmino scored Liverpool’s 8,000th goal in league football as Jurgen Klopp’s side completed a routine 3-0 victory over Norwich at Carrow Road.

The Brazilian had only been on the pitch for five minutes when he notched his side’s second. Diogo Jota opened the scoring in the first half and Mohamed Salah made it 3-0.

The Canaries were hoping to make a solid start to life back in the Premier League after coming up from the Championship. They struggled in their last foray into the top flight and went straight down.

And it may well be another tough test for Daniel Farke’s men on the strength of their opening clash. The Reds title challenge hit the buffers last season after Virgil van Dijk’s injury but he was back in the starting line-up.

And the Netherlands international was celebrating a goal on 26 minutes through Diogo Jota. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross was touched on by Mohamed Salah and fell nicely for the Portugal international.

He swept it past Tim Krul to open the Merseysiders’ account for 2021-2022. Norwich started brightly but it was the visitors who had the first chance on 10 minutes.

Jota’s header was straight at Krul, however, and the Dutchman tipped it over the bar. Salah tested the East Anglians’ keeper with a shot from a tight angle on 18 minutes but Krul was equal to it.

Two minutes later Teemu Pukki forced Alisson into his first save of the season after being picked out by Todd Cantwell. Cantwell then tried an audacious shot from the touchline after a poor back pass from Kostas Tsimikas.

The 23-year-old attempted to lob the visitors’ keeper but his effort drifted just wide. Norwich held their own until half-time. They struggled at times throughout the first 45 minutes, with possession but no end product.

Roared on by the phone faithful, Norwich came out of the blocks flying after the interval and forced an early corner. But, once again, it was too easy for Alisson to collect.

And they nearly paid the price as Max Aarons was forced to block on the line from Sadio Mane’s shot two minutes later.

Livepool subs do the trick

Liverpool began to dominate as the half progressed, with Alexander-Arnold just missing with a trademark free-kick. But they could not find the second goal and Jurgen Klopp opted for a double change on the hour mark.

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Firmino and Fabinho replaced Jota and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who struggled to make any real impact. And it took just five minutes for Firmino to add a second goal and end the match as a contest.

The ball broke for Salah in the box after Mane’s initial shot was blocked by Grant Hanley. But the Egypt international chose not to shoot and picked out the Brazilian who could not miss from close range.

The other two promoted clubs – Brentford and Watford – both won their opener but a hat-tick now looked unlikely. And it became impossible as Salah added a third on 74 minutes.

It was the fifth successive Premier League opening weekend in which he had scored. The 29-year-old controlled the ball well before firing past Krul from the edge of the area.

The Canaries threatened towards the end of the match and Alisson was forced into three saves in quick succession.

But it was a comfortable night for Klopp’s charges who put down a marker that they are ready to battle Manchester City this season.

 

 

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