Liverpool vs West Ham United. Premier League.
Report and highlights as Manuel Pellegrini suffers opening defeat
Monday 13 August 2018 00:16, UK
Liverpool started the season in style on Super Sunday as they condemned West Ham to a 4-0 defeat in Manuel Pellegrini's first game in charge.
Mohamed Salah (19) and Sadio Mane (45+2) scored open goals after ruthless attacking moves during a rampant first half at Anfield and the home side added a third eight minutes after half-time when Mane stroked home, controversially from an offside position.
Daniel Sturridge came off the bench to score with his first touch of the game (88) to complete a miserable afternoon for Pellegrini, who started five new signings but had goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to thank for ensuring the scoreline was not even more comprehensive.
Liverpool dominated both the chances and the possession as they overwhelmed West Ham in the first half and took a deserved lead through Salah on 19 minutes.
Liverpool: Alisson (7), Alexander-Arnold (8), Van Dijk (7), Gomez (7), Robertson (8), Keita (9), Milner (9), Wijnaldum (7), Mane (8), Salah (8), Firmino (8)
Subs: Henderson (6), Shaqiri (6), Sturridge (7)
West Ham: Fabianski (7), Fredericks (6), Balbuena (6), Rice (5), Ogbonna (6), Masuaku (6), Noble (5), Wilshere (6), Anderson (7), Arnautovic (7), Antonio (6)
Subs: Snodgrass (6), Hernandez (6), Yarmolenko (6)
Man of the match: James Milner
Impressive debutant Naby Keita carried the ball into the final third and slipped in Andrew Robertson to cross low for Salah to tap in to an empty net.
The Egyptian, who finished last season with 44 goals, was denied three times by Fabianski before Liverpool's second arrived. West Ham's goalkeeper held a header, then brilliantly denied Salah inside the six-yard box before rushing off a line to prevent another chance.
But West Ham's high defensive line was punished again in first-half injury time when Robertson's cross was volleyed back into the middle by James Milner and Mane hooked in to an unguarded goal to double Liverpool's lead.
New goalkeeper Alisson and midfielder Naby Keita started for Liverpool while Fabinho was on the bench. West Ham included five debutants: Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks, Fabian Balbuena, Jack Wilshere and Felipe Anderson.
Roberto Firmino was the architect of Liverpool's third in the 53rd minute, cleverly feeding the ball through to Mane just inside the area to control and shoot low past Fabianski - though replays showed he was a yard offside.
So comfortable was the victory, Jurgen Klopp was able to withdraw all three of his forwards - Firmino, Mane and Salah - during the second half and the final substitution immediately led to Liverpool's fourth.
Sturridge, on his return to Anfield after spending time on loan at West Brom, met Milner's corner at the back post and turned the ball in to complete a dream start for last season's Champions League finalists and enhance expectations of a title push this time around.
"Liverpool were fabulous. It's what I expected. They just blew West Ham away, too much quality, too much energy, the mischief they cause in the final third... they were just far too good for West Ham. West Ham got caught in a revolving door and couldn't get out of it."
Andy Hinchcliffe (Sky Sports): "You can talk so much about the attacking play of Mane, Salah and Firmino, but in any successful side you need an incredible amount of work-rate and unselfishness. He has the ability to pop up in a variety of different positions to bring the best out of players around him. He played a part in the first goal and the fourth goal and he has been absolutely superb."
The England manager was at Anfield and must surely be tempted to try and convince the brilliant Milner, who started ahead of Jordan Henderson, to step out of international retirement. Trent Alexander-Arnold's delivery was excellent all afternoon and Fabianski did well to keep out his goal-bound free-kick in the first half, while Joe Gomez looked assured on his return to first-team football. Jack Wilshere, like his fellow midfielders, was overwhelmed by Liverpool's combative midfield trio and Michail Antonio was constantly frustrated in his preferred attacking role.
Liverpool's third goal should not have stood, as replays quickly showed Mane and Salah were both offside when Firmino fed the ball through and VAR would surely have ruled it out. Naby Keita appealed for a late penalty when he was tripped by Fabian Balbuena, but while replays showed there was contact, it looked to be outside the area.
Liverpool travel to Crystal Palace on August 20 for the first Monday Night Football of the new season, while West Ham host Bournemouth at the London Stadium next Saturday afternoon.