Liverpool 4-0 West Ham United: Key observations from the Reds' opening day win
Jürgen Klopp's high-powered Liverpool side put forward a performance worthy of their reputation as they put Manuel Pellegrini's new-look Hammers side to the sword in a stunning 4-0 display. Mo Salah opened the scoring in the 19th minute with Sadio Mané adding two more and Daniel Sturridge capping off the win.
The victory marked Liverpool's 500th ever in the Premier League and proves to be the ideal start in what can be a massive season ahead for Jürgen Klopp's men.
Here are five key observations from the Reds' opening day victory.
Naby Këita and the midfield impress
Naby Këita stood out in his first game in a Liverpool shirt — by Liverpool FC
One of the points of emphasis in Jürgen Klopp's spending spree was to add a creative force in the middle of the park. With the departure of Philippe Coutinho last season, many looked at Naby Këita to fill the creative void whilst also adding more steel in the Liverpool engine room.
Partnered with Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner in the midfield three, Këita showed why he was so sought after, producing a fabulous display that included excellent ball retention, relentless energy and creative potency.
Not to be outdone Wijnaldum looked steady as the number six, shielding the back line well and keeping possession whilst James Milner continues his renaissance in Liverpool's midfield. Offering a solid attacking outlet and on the ball intelligence whilst picking up an assist to Mané's first goal.
While there'll be tougher tests ahead, the Liverpool midfield passed their first one as they hope to continue to impress this campaign.
Mané back amongst the goals
Sadio Mané scored a brace and was heavily involved versus West Ham — by Liverpool FC
Somewhat lost in the shuffle of Mo Salah's brilliance last season was Sadio Mané who, despite scoring a solid 20 goals in all competitions last season, had patches of inconsistent form.
Despite all this, his form took a turn for the better towards the end of the year and he even scored in the Champions league final. This season marks one in which the Senegalese obviously has a point to prove and he couldn't have asked for a better start.
Two shots, two goals and a constant menace on the left flank, it was another electrifying performance from Liverpool's new number ten.
It's only the first game of the season but Mané already looks to be in midseason form.
Joe Gomez with a solid outing
Injuries to Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan thrust the young Englishman Gomez into his preferred role of centre back and he looked strong and composed throughout.
Partnering with Virgil Van Dijk can do this to you as we have seen with Lovren but considering Gomez having patches on injuries and missing time with the squad, he looked like he'd owned the position for years.
Given the tough task of looking after West Ham hitman Marko Arnautovic, Gomez kept the Austrian largely quiet throughout the game. Bar a small lapse of concentration following a ball over the top, Gomez worked well with Van Dijk in making it a largely comfortable outing for Liverpool in defence.
As with Këita in midfield, tougher tests await Gomez in defence however he's off to a rather decent start.
Daniel Sturridge continues his good form
Daniel Sturridge netted his first goal in ten months only mere seconds of coming on as a substitute — by Liverpool FC
Following a bright preseason it was good to see Jürgen Klopp retain Daniel Sturridge and keep him as an option off the bench. Despite the Englishman's reputation of being notoriously injury prone, few Liverpool fans can doubt his quality when he's fit and firing.
Needless to say his impact today was nothing short of instantaneous.
Brought off the bench for Mo Salah to see out the game, Sturridge scored off of a great corner delivery from James Milner, poking home at the far post and celebrating with his trademark dance.
He remains a potentially deadly option for Klopp to bring in off the bench and only time will tell if he can remain fit enough throughout the season.
Good start, now on to the next
A 4-0 victory on opening day ensures Liverpool go top of the table on goal difference. While this season is certainly in the embryonic stages at the very least, Jürgen Klopp could not have asked for a better start.
A tough test awaits next fixture as they face Crystal palace at Selhurst park, a venue which Liverpool supporters do not have the fondest of memories.
However the Reds have done all that they can for today, ensuring the three points and in emphatic fashion. Supporters will want more of the same week in and week out as what will prove to be a big season ahead.
This article was originally published on @mindofcarl