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The evidence of the first game of the new season is that Jurgen Klopp’s Reds will be serious challengers to Manchester City
The shirts are new, some of the faces too. The press room has had a lick of paint and there’s a fresh motto plastered around the stadium.
“We are Liverpool,” it reads. “This Means More.”
Welcome to the new-look Liverpool. Much the same as the old one actually, only better.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane picked up where they left off last season; 64 goals between them last term, three already for the new campaign. Their touch, energy, sharpness, speed and clinical finishing, supplemented by the phenomenal work of Roberto Firmino, makes them a terrifying prospect. Defences far better than West Ham’s will be undone by the Reds’ deadly trio.
Salah needed just 19 minutes to open his account, finishing off the most flowing of moves. Liverpool’s composure, the crispness of their passing and the fluidity of their movement was simply too much for the Hammers. Dynamism was the order of the day last season, but the addition of Naby Keita looks like it will take the Reds’ midfield to a new level. The Guinean, making his debut, had the crowd purring from the word go.
Mane finished last season in excellent form, and he looked as if he’d barely missed a beat here. Elusive and strong, he doubled Liverpool’s advantage before half-time and finished West Ham off after the break (albeit from an offside position). He and Salah provide the kind of cutting edge managers dream about. Firmino didn’t score himself, but if there’s a more complete, tactically-astute centre-forward in the league then he’s yet to make himself known. The Brazilian, the focal point of the side, deserved his ovation when replaced 20 minutes from time.