Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Premier League Picks Of The Week 3

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 3

Here are my Premier League Picks Of The Week 3:

29 goals - most by Fulham = 4
266 shots - most by Fulham = 25
93 on target - most by Fulham = 12
106 corners - most by Southampton = 10
230 fouls - most by Arsenal & Newcastle & Tottenham = 16 each
33 bookings - most by Watford = 4
4 red cards - Richarlison for Everton, Smith for Bournemouth, Hogg for Huddersfield, Højbjerg for Southampton
2 penalties - 2 scored (King for Bournemouth, Hazard for Chelsea)

What a game! Arsenal recorded their first win of the season against West Ham, coming back from behind. But it was not exactly in the most convincing fashion, thanks to Hammers debutant Issa Diop diverting the ball into his own net. It ended 3-1 at the Emirates, but the Gunners still looked very frail and their manager Unai Emery conceded that much, that his side definitely “need to improve”. Manuel Pellegrini’s side fell to the bottom of the table after their third straight defeat under their new boss despite a much better, guttier and more promising performance.
What a comeback it was by Bournemouth against Everton! The Cherries came from two goals down to grab a point at Dean Court with both sides reduced to ten men! This clash has seen the most goals of any other Premier League fixture after seven meetings between the two. Eddie Howe’s men have grabbed 25 points from losing positions since the beginning of last season, more than any other Premier League side. Comeback kings!
It was goals galore at Craven Cottage as well, end-to-end stuff, Fulham ending 4-2 winners against Burnley. 
And Monday night brought a cracker with plenty of talking points as well, read more on both cracking matches below...

What a team! I’ve said it before and I say it again, Wolves have been brill! Nuno Espírito Santo’s men just got a point against champions Manchester City at Molineux, harsh but better than naught, and as the former Portuguese keeper put it, his side have “nothing to prove”. The Championship winners have lost just two of their 28 home games under Nuno, recording 18 wins and 8 draws. The Wanderers have more than proven they have what it takes to take their game to the Premier League.
Liverpool made it three out of three recording a hard-fought win against Brighton at Anfield, more below. So did Chelsea at Newcastle, just, winning 1-2 thanks to an Eden Hazard penalty (76’) and DeAndre Yedlin's own goal (87’). Tottenham did it in style at Old Trafford, after a difficult first half, they totally smashed Manchester United with two goals in just over two minutes after the restart. Again, read more below.

What a man! Alisson is the coolest keeper on the block! The Reds will have had their hearts in their mouths but the top stopper kept another clean sheet with his cool moves and superb save to deny Pascal Groß and make it three out of three, 100% record start to the season.
Aleksandar Mitrović and André Schürrle were just on fire for Fulham, more to the firing duo and cracking match below.
Ben Foster made a couple of point-blank blocks and saves for Watford against Palace, in the end crucial to keep his side’s 100% record going as they won 2-1, a first for them after three matches in the top flight, more below.
José Mourinho has lost the plot! David de Gea's miserable form continues, having conceded 12 goals against the last 16 shots he has faced for Manchester United and Spain. Harry Kane (50’) and Lucas Moura (52’ and 84’) starred and won it for Tottenham at Old Trafford on Monday night. The Red Devils missed some sitters and were disappointing after the restart to say the least. But the Portuguese boss has made all the headlines with his post-match and press conference antiques. The clock is ticking HERE AND NOW, no matter how many titles he has won in the past!!!

What a goal! Willy Boly’s handball off João Moutinho's cross was obvious, but somehow the goal stood and it was not more than Wolves deserved! City pulled one back thanks to Aymeric Laporte’s header, the 1,500th goal scored by a Frenchman, so, you could say the champions got more than they deserved despite decisions going against them! Well, that would be harsh too after Sergio Agüero hit the woodwork and Rui Patrício’s athleticism denied Raheem Sterling onto the bar, Pep Guardiola will have been wondering just as much how more points were dropped than won!
Mohamed Salah’s winner for Liverpool was a clinical strike to make it 1-0 with his 29th goal in 29 games at Anfield and the 45th Premier League goal the great Egyptian has been directly involved in (34 goals, 11 assists) since the start of last season, 12 more than any other player! 
Ryan Bertrand’s opener for the Saints was a rocket! But it all counted for nothing in the end, more on that defeat against Leicester below.
Jean Michael Seri’s smacker opened the Ivorian's account and kick-started the match for Fulham against Burnley. Mitrović was in the right place at the right time to beat Joe Hart a couple of times to make it 3-1 at half-time. Oh no, sorry, 3-2!!! Mad! The Serbian striker should have had a hat-trick but Schürrle netted the rebound coolest of the cool - touch, move, boom 4-2!
Both Watford goals were impressive and stunning, Roberto Pereyra’s curling opener (53’) and José Holebas from distance (71’). Joel Ward was sooooo close to level for Palace in the last minute after Wilfried Zaha pulled one back (78’), but it was not to be.

What the hell?! As mentioned above, it was a mad encounter at Dean Court, Richarlison head-butting (41’) and Adam Smith pulling (61’) their ways off the pitch to reduce both teams to 10 v 10 after just over an hour. Everton were 0-2 up thanks to Theo Walcott (56’) and Michael Keane (66’), but Bournemouth completed their comeback through Joshua King from the spot (75’) and a Nathan Aké tap in (79’).
Again, Wolves' winner was a blatant handball!!! Maradona-esque!!! Much in contrast to that, the ref did well at Southampton, not falling for any diving dramas, rightly sending off the drama queen Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, a second yellow for his diving antiques, not exactly helping the Saints as they crumbled 1-2 against Leicester at St Marys. The officials worked well together to deal with the bust-up at Huddersfield as well which saw Jonathan Hogg sent off after clashing with Cardiff’s Harry Arter. Mark Hughes and David Wagner felt hard done by with both decisions respectively, but both calls were maybe a bit harsh but not wrong in my eyes!
All goals at St James Park had an OMG factor, from harsh penalty that was nearly stopped, to boom in-your-face equaliser after an elbow on Olivier Giroud, and an own goal decided the match and win for Chelsea in the end. Fair result??? Don't think Rafael Benítez thinks so...

My Predictions - Actual Results 
Wolves 1:4 Man City - 1:1
Arsenal 2:2 West Ham - 3:1
Bournemouth 1:1 Everton - 2:2
Huddersfield 1:0 Cardiff - 0:0
Southampton 2:1 Leicester - 1:2
Liverpool 3:0 Brighton - 1:0
Watford 1:1 Crystal Palace - 2:1
Fulham 1:2 Burnley - 4:2
Newcastle 1:3 Chelsea - 1:2
Man United 2:3 Tottenham - 0:3

Click here for last week’s Premier League Picks.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match reports, MOTD, Sky Sports and SFR app and match coverage and Twitter.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Premier League Picks Of The Week 2

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 2

Here are my Premier League Picks Of The Week 2:

35 goals - most by Man City = 6
259 shots - most by Man City = 32
102 on target - most by Man City = 14
87 corners - most by Man City = 10
223 fouls - most by Southampton = 20
32 bookings - most by West Ham = 6
3 red cards - Hayden for Newcastle, Vardy for Leicester, Wan-Bissaka for Palace
3 penalties - 2 scored (Arnautovic for West Ham, Milner for Liverpool)

What a game! It was a mad first half at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening! It could have been 2-5 at halftime, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan missed some sitters for Arsenal. Chelsea ran them over and took the lead thanks to Pedro (9') and Álvaro Morata (20'). The Gunners did come back with two goals in four minutes by Mkhitaryan (37') and Alex Iwobi (41'), but they just weren’t good enough. The second half was less crazy, Marcos Alonso sneaking in a cheeky late winner under Petr Čech (81'), who had made a couple of good stops to keep his side in the match. It was the first time since 1992 Arsenal lost their opening two fixtures of the season. So far so not so encouraging nor inspiring for new boss Unai Emery, much in contrast to new Blues manager Maurizio Sarri's 100% start with two wins out of two.

What a team! Newly promoted Wolves have been playing brill but things have just not gone their way, recording just one point from the opening two games. Ten-man Leicester were lucky winners thanks to Matt Doherty's own goal (29') and James Maddison's fine finish (45'), even Claude Puel conceded that much after the tough encounter at the King Power Stadium. Jamie Vardy’s recklessness may cost his side in the upcoming fixtures after his straight red card (66') made the rest of the match very difficult for the 2016 champions and will see him suspended for the next three games. Nuno Espírito Santo was rightly proud of his side, but of course unhappy about the result.
The two Manchester rivals could not have had a more contrasting weekend! The champions thrashed Huddersfield 6-1, including Sergio Agüero's 13th City hat-trick which took him into the top ten of all-time Premier League scorers, whilst United fell apart 3-2 at Brighton, Paul Pogba left pointing out and underlining his side's failures and problems and confirming boss José Mourinho's fears and flaws.

What a man! Kenedy had a shocker for Newcastle in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday, not just because of the missed penalty in injury time! The whole match was shambles! Sub Isaac Hayden didn’t help the home side with his tackle from behind which saw him sent off after just over twenty minutes from coming on (66'). The spot kick in the final seconds was stopped easily by Cardiff City keeper Neil Etheridge, Kenedy left distraught, but Neil Warnock pointed out correctly the Brazilian was lucky to stay on the pitch after kicking out at Victor Camarasa in the first half. Referee Craig Pawson didn’t cover himself in glory with everything he gave and missed...
Everton stopper Jordan Pickford made a couple of crucial stops, one making up for his own failure of catching the ball, denying Danny Ings, who eventually pulled one back for Southampton to make it 2-1 (54'). Did the keeper foul the striker though??? Either way, new boss Marco Silva seems to have livened up the Toffees, much better and livelier football, with Theo Walcott (15') and Richarlison (31') on the scoreboard to bank the three points.

What a goal! Lucas Moura scored his first goal for Tottenham in the London derby on Saturday (43'), a lovely finish, curling the ball in from distance. Aleksandar Mitrović levelled the score for Fulham, heading in their first goal back in the Premier League, to make it 1-1 (52'). Kieran Trippier’s free kick into the top corner made it 2-1 before Harry Kane scored his first goal in August after going 1,000 minutes without one in the Premier League (77'), a low finish into the right corner, set up by a powerful run from sub Érik Lamela, finishing the game off 3-1 at Wembley.
Callum Wilson’s equaliser for Bournemouth at West Ham was brilliant! A wonderful goal, with a beautiful run and take, the Hammers left reeling after they were leading thanks to Marko Arnautović’s first-half penalty. And six minutes later Steve Cook’s header turned the game around, making it 1-2 and three points for the Cherries, heaping more misery on Manuel Pellegrini's men making it two defeats out of two.

What the hell?! It was Burnley‘s sixth game of the season already, in just 25 days thanks to their Europa League qualifiers. It ended up being an easy win for Watford with some quality goals, a first on the road since January for the London club. But did Sean Dyche complain like Moaninho?! Nope, he conceded his side gave the match away.
The refs generally didn’t impress this weekend though, as mentioned above. Roy Hodgson questioned Michael Oliver’s decisions as well after Crystal Palace’s hard-fought 0-2 defeat against Liverpool at Selhurst Park, especially the penalty and sending off - but replays of both incidents showed both decisions were soft but justified. Believe me when I say my heart was in my mouth for most of the match, it was so tense! Not an easy win, but all three points went to the Reds. Click here for my LFC match notes.

My Predictions - Actual Results
Cardiff 2:2 Newcastle - 0:0
Everton 1:1 Southampton - 2:1
Leicester 2:1 Wolves - 2:0
Tottenham 2:1 Fulham - 3:1
West Ham 3:3 Bournemouth - 1:2
Chelsea 2:0 Arsenal - 3:2
Burnley 2:1 Watford - 1:3
Man City 3:1 Huddersfield - 6:1
Brighton 1:2 Man United - 3:2
Crystal Palace 1:2 Liverpool - 0:2 or my match notes.

Click here for last week’s Premier League Picks.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match reports, MOTD, Sky Sports coverage and Twitter.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Fighting Palace Fall 0-2 At Selhurst Park

Sports - Football - Premier League - PAL 0:2 LIV

Liverpool ended up 0-2 winners at Selhurst Park, thanks to a James Milner penalty (44') and injury-time goal from Sadio Mané (93'), but Crystal Palace certainly did not go down without a fight on Monday night.

Roy Hodgson was left fuming with some of the referee Michael Oliver’s decisions, including the Reds’ spot kick (44’) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s straight red card (75’). 

Jürgen Klopp was a very relieved and the much happier boss watching his side scrape and scratch out a win on the road.

Gulp, believe me when I say my heart was in my mouth for most of the match, it was so tense! Not an easy win, but all three points went to the Reds.

Here are my live match notes as it happened last night:

Both sides name unchanged sides from their wins on the season opening weekend, click here to read my Picks Of The Week 1, see the full line ups at the bottom of this blog.

It’s Liverpool’s 73rd Premier League game on a Monday, the most of any side.

15’ Action Areas: PAL 24%-68%-8% LIV, the Reds dominating, but not getting much from it.

25’ All LFC, till Keita giveaway, after Salah missed a couple of clear chances, Townsend's high powerful shot rises and dips over Alisson from outside the box, to come off the crossbar, first corner to the home side. CLOSE ONE!

28’ Hennessey saves Keita attempt on his near post, first Liverpool corner.

31’ Schlupp chance wide, for all the Red possession, Palace had the better, closer chances. Very important tackle by Gomez against Zaha on another counter!

34’ Possession: PAL 35%-65% LIV

35’ Robertson sends a chance high into the sky from just inside the box.

42’ first booking goes to van Aanholt for his scissor tackle on Milner who got away with a very physical challenge unnoticed shortly before.

44’ PENALTY! Salah down against Sakho, tangle and tackle, grabbing the shirt, kicking out more than once, clumsy challenge, theatrical fall but Michael Oliver had a perfect view.

45’ Milner takes AND SCORES! Hennessey dived the other way, the ball hits the back of the net!

One minute added on, home fans and team furious, boos all round, HT 0-1, better and closer chances for the hosts, however the dominating but wasteful visitors are leading from the spot.

Milner’s last 9 goals have all come from the spot, totalling 49 career PL goals and the Red skipper has not been on the losing side in any of the previous 47 PL games in which he has scored.

49’ Salah overruns, Keita puts it wide, a couple of chances wasted. The Egyptian king is not at his best so far, could and should have netted a couple at least.

52’ Alexander-Arnold booked for bringing down Zaha, failing against the forward’s fine run and trickery.

53’ Alisson saves Milivojevic’s top free kick, curling up and around the wall, punched away to the keeper’s left with both gloves.

55’ Palace corner, Selhurst Park getting louder, the home side have their tails up, Benteke with a high leap and powerful header, Alisson gets down to save it, the ref has whistled anyway. The Reds are under pressure, two attempts on target for the home side this half!

59’ 2nd half possession PAL 65%-35% LIV, Hodgson said something right at the break, the hosts are much more in the game since the restart!!!

67’ Henderson replaces Milner, Liverpool pushing and bossing a bit more again, but the skipper looked more and more frustrated, giving away a couple of reckless fouls. Benteke wasted a good chance high and wide earlier.

70’ Salah slips in the box, offside anyway.

71’ Sorloth replaces Benteke, that change was long overdue, it has not been a good game for the former Liverpool forward.

73’ Alisson collects Zaha's low shot, could’ve been fooled and beaten there by his own defender, but wasn’t.

75’ Salah breaks, runs solo, youngster Wan-Bissaka, who has had a brill match, takes the Egyptian down from behind, he was the last man. Michael Oliver doesn’t hesitate. STRAIGHT RED, Palace down to ten men for the last quarter of an hour.

77’ The free kick is right on the edge of the box, Salah takes, it comes off the wall and goes out for a corner, Hennessey was beaten there, but punches the corner clear and catches the rebound.

79’ Hodgson takes Townsend off, who has had the best chances, Ward replaces him.

80’ Sakho cooly chests the ball to his keeper Hennessey, Liverpool in command.

81’ Low shot by Mané off Salah in the box, Hennessey blocks and collects kneeling down.

82’ Penalty shout for Palace against Wijnaldum, did he get the ball cleanly? Yep, good tackle on McArthur actually.

83’ Meyer comes on for Schlupp, last change by Hodgson.

84’ Hennessey punches over Salah’s attempt, collects the resulting corner, keeping the home side’s glimmer of hope alive.

85’ Zaha pass across the box, finds no one... Gulp...

87’ Lallana comes on for Keita after an impressive performance.

90’ Firmino goes down in the box against a fine tackle by Tomkins, but he is outside the box, so, play continues, ten against ten.

FOUR minutes added on.

Free kick to Palace on the right, Lallana brought down Ward... Tense last seconds... Corner to the home side... Liverpool counter! Salah run, pass to Mané who keeps balance and composure to stay up and going past defender and keeper and scores! 0-2 and relief for the Reds!

Firmino is replaced by Sturridge in the final seconds.

Palace win another corner but it ends 0-2!!! Not top but strong and stubborn performance by the Reds, especially new signings Alisson and Keita impressed, and of course MOTM van Dijk! Another clean sheet and it's the first time under Klopp the Reds have won the first two opening games of the season! BOOM!

Liverpool Goals: Milner pen 45’ & Mané 93’. 

HT Stats: PAL 0-1 LIV
Possession: 32.2%-67.8%
Shots: 3-7
On target: 0-2
Offside: 1-1
Corners: 1-1
Fouls: 4-7
Bookings: 1-0

FT Stats: PAL 0-2 LIV
Possession: 36.9%-63.1%
Shots: 8-16
On target: 2-6
Offside: 2-2
Corners: 6-7
Fouls: 6-13
Bookings: 1-1
Red cards: 1-0

Crystal Palace Team: 13 Hennessey; 29 Wan-Bissaka (sent off 75’), 5 Tomkins, 12 Sakho, 3 van Aanholt (booked 42’); 15 Schlupp (7 Meyer 83’), 18 McArthur, 4 Milivojevic (c), 10 Townsend (2 Ward 72’); 11 Zaha, 17 Benteke (9 Sørloth 71’). 4-4-2
Subs not used: 31 Guaita, 8 Kouyaté, 14 Ayew, 34 Kelly.

Liverpool Team: 13 Alisson; 66 Alexander-Arnold (booked 52’), 4 Van Dijk, 12 Gomez, 26 Robertson; 8 Keita (20 Lallana 87’), 5 Wijnaldum, 7 Milner (c) (14 Henderson 67’); 11 Salah, 9 Firmino (15 Sturridge 94’), 10 Mané. 4-3-3
Subs not used: 22 Mignolet, 18 Moreno, 23 Shaqiri, 32 Matip.

Referee: Michael Oliver
Man of the match: Virgil van Dijk
Ground: Selhurst Park
Attendance: 25,750

Click here for my last LFC match report.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match report, Twitter and Sky Sports app and coverage.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Premier League Picks Of The Week 1

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 1

The first week of the Premier League 2018-19 season saw:

25 goals - most by Liverpool = 4
244 shots - most by Watford = 19
87 on target - most by Palace = 10
95 corners - most by Man City = 9
207 fouls - most by Brighton = 16
28 bookings - most by MUN, NEW, TOT, CPL, HUD, WAT, BHA, WHU, ARS, MCI = 2 each
1 red card - Jagielka for Everton
3 penalties - 2 scored (Pogba for United, Jorginho for Chelsea)

What a game! Everton’s summer signing Richarlison scored twice (17' & 67') on his debut in an entertaining draw at PL newbies Wolves. But it was only enough for a point, Rúben Neves stealing the show with a stunning free kick (44') from the foul that saw Phil Jagielka sent off (40') and Raúl Jiménez's header from the Portuguese midfielder’s cross (80') grabbing a point for Nuno Espírito Santo’s fighting side. Since the start of last season, Neves has scored more goals from outside the box than any other player in the top four tiers of English league football (seven).
There was a goalless game at the weekend (believe it or not) between Southampton and Burnley thanks to both keepers’ top performances. Hats off to Alex McCarthy with crucial stops for the Saints and former England stopper Joe Hart after his impressive debut for Sean Dyche’s side. Southampton don’t like Sundays, having never won an opening PL fixture when playing on a Sunday, drawing three and losing three of their six matches.

What a team! Liverpool recorded their biggest opening home league win since 1932 thrashing West Ham 4-0 at Anfield on Sunday, click here for my full match report. Their Egyptian king Mohamed Salah opened the scoring and their Senegalese star Sadio Mané's brace made him the first LFC player to score in three consecutive opening top-flight fixtures since John Barnes between 1989-92. New signing Nabi Keita impressed with a driving performance, contributing to the first goal. Substitute Daniel Sturridge added to the party scoring with his first touch, 24 seconds after coming on, making it 4-0 and sealing Liverpool’s 500th Premier League win. New Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini saw his side being well beaten and not giving the new Red club-record keeper Alisson Becker much to do. And it could have been more, leaving Jürgen Klopp all smiles and full of compliments, but also warning his side there are certainly bigger and harder challenges ahead..

What a man! United skipper Paul Pogba stole all the headlines after he helped his side beat Leicester 2-1 in their season opener at Old Trafford on Friday night - but, rift or no rift, will he stay or will he go? (Just google the name and you'll see what I mean...) The World Cup winner was a surprise starter just four days after his return to training. The Frenchman’s goal from the spot beating Kasper Schmeichel inside three minutes was the Red Devil’s fastest goal scored in a Premier League season opener - the previous fastest was Dwight Yorke after seven minutes against Everton in 1999-2000. Boss José Mourinho is unbeaten in all 18 of his opening league matches (W11 D7), winning nine of his 10 in the Premier League (D1). The Portuguese’s misery, moans and riddled messages throughout the pre-season didn’t halt his side, but didn’t impress anyone either. Only time will tell how much longer they will stick together and bring results. I know what my money is on...

What a goal! Tottenham were helped by goalline technology in their win at Newcastle. Man of the match Jan Vertonghen’s header after eight minutes was confirmed to have crossed the line, just. 149 seconds later an unmarked Joselu headed in Matt Ritchie’s top quality cross. But Dele Alli put the London side back in the lead with a textbook header of his own in the 18th minute. Three goals in seven minutes, that was all, despite plenty of fight back by Rafael Benítez’s men after the break, hitting the woodwork a couple of times, Spurs ended up on top and bagging all three points. No signings? No problem.
Roberto Pereyra’s lovely brace, a sweet volley and an unstoppable curl, helped Watford to a comfortable 2-0 win against Brighton, Chris Hughton left wondering what happened with his side, recording not even a single shot on target.

What the hell?! After all the big cries for change, it was same old for Arsenal after losing their season opener 0-2 against Manchester City at the Emirates on Sunday. The Gunners were playing their first match without Arsène Wenger since 1996, but failed to impress or make much impact against the Citizens. Raheem Sterling netted his 50th PL goal and Bernardo Silva doubled the lead and sealed the win for the champions. New boss Unai Emery was not happy, having failed to beat Pep Guardiola in their first 10 meetings in La Liga and Europe, and unable to end that run here becoming the first of Arsenal’s last six bosses to lose their first league game in charge. The London side have been making more news off the pitch with Stan Kroenke looking to take full control of the club, leaving the fans worried, very worried about lack of control and balance at the club... Hm... After moaning for years about the lack of change and investment?! Early days, but it shows once again, be careful what you wish for!

My Predictions - Actual Results
Man United 1:1 Leicester - 2:1
Newcastle 2:2 Tottenham - 1:2
Bournemouth 2:1 Cardiff - 2:0
Fulham 2:2 Crystal Palace - 0:2
Huddersfield 1:2 Chelsea - 0:3
Watford 1:1 Brighton - 2:0
Wolves 1:0 Everton - 2:2
Liverpool 3:1 West Ham - 4:0 or click here for my full match report
Southampton 2:1 Burnley - 0:0
Arsenal 1:1 Man City - 0:2

Click here for my previous Premier League Picks.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match reports, Sky Sports coverage and Twitter.

Reds Bash Hammers 4-0

Sports - Football - Premier League - LFC 4:0 WHU

Liverpool recorded their 500th Premier League win in convincing fashion, beating West Ham comfortably 4-0 in their season opener at Anfield on Sunday early afternoon.

The home side impressed and dominated possession and play from kick-off with their front trio constantly threatening, Egyptian king Mohamed Salah taking only 19 minutes to tap in the opener from Andy Robertson’s precise cross.

An unmarked Sadio Mané doubled the lead from close range just before the break, becoming the first LFC player to score in three consecutive opening top-flight fixtures since John Barnes between 1989-92.

The Senegalese forward looked offside when he drilled in his second off Roberto Firmino’s pass to make it 3-0 to the Reds after the interval, but the flag stayed down, replays showing some oh-so-slight deflection off a Hammer.

New signing Naby Keita impressed with a driving performance as well, with some slick moves and plenty of tempo, also contributing to the first goal.

Meanwhile skipper James Milner bossed the pitch from start to finish (rugby-style with a headband wrapped around the stitches on his forehead), and Virgil van Dijk’s presence was heard, felt and seen at the back for the Reds.

Substitute Daniel Sturridge added to the party scoring with his first touch, 24 seconds after coming on in the 87th minute, making it 4-0 and sealing Liverpool’s biggest opening home league win since 1932. 

New Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini watched his side being well beaten and not giving the new Red record-signing keeper Alisson Becker much to do, easily catching Fabián Balbuena's header, one of just the two attempts on target for the visitors.

And the defeat could have been heavier with chance after chance for the home side, leaving Jürgen Klopp all smiles and full of praise, the German could not have asked for a better start to the new season, but also warning of the bigger and harder challenges ahead.

Liverpool Goals: Salah 19’, Mané 47’ & 53’ & Sturridge 88’.

Match Stats: LFC 4-0 WHU
Possession: 64.8%-35.2%
Shots: 18-5
On target: 8-2
Corners: 5-4
Offsides: 5-3
Fouls: 14-9
Bookings: 1-2

Liverpool Team: 13 Alisson; 26 Robertson, 4 van Dijk, 12 Gomez, 66 Alexander-Arnold (booked 21’); 9 Keita, 5 Wijnaldum, 7 Milner (c); 10 Mané (23 Shaqiri 82’), 9 Firmino (14 Henderson 69’), 11 Salah (15 Sturridge 87’). 4-3-3
Subs not used: 1 Karius, 2 Clyne, 3 Fabinho, 20 Lallana.

West Ham Team: 1 Fabianski; 26 Masuaku, 21 Ogbonna, 4 Balbuena (booked 55’), 24 Fredericks; 41 Rice (11 Snodgrass 45’), 16 Noble (c); 8 Anderson (17 Hernández 62’), 19 Wilshere, 30 Antonio (booked 52’); 7 Arnautovic.
Subs not used: 5 Zabaleta, 13 Adrián, 14 Obiang, 20 Yarmolenko, 23 Diop.

Referee: Anthony Taylor
Ground: Anfield
Attendance: 53,235
Man of the match: Sadio Mané

Click here for my last LFC match report.

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match report, Sky Sports coverage and app and Twitter.