Tue | Jun 22, 2021

Liverpool hammer Norwich in EPL opener

Published:Saturday | August 10, 2019 | 12:13 AM

LIVERPOOL, England (AP):

Liverpool opened their bid to end a 30-year English title drought by beating Norwich 4-1 yesterday, with four goals in the first half against the Premier League newcomers.

Grant Hanley’s own goal was followed by Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, and Divock Origi netting for Liverpool, which were beaten to the trophy in May by Manchester City by one point but went on to win the Champions League.

Promoted as League Championship winners, Norwich had an uncomfortable return to the Premier League after a three-year absence.

Liverpool were gifted an opener seven minutes into the season when Hanley deflected Origi’s cross into his own net.

Salah steered in the second goal in the 19th minute after Roberto Firmino slid the ball behind the Norwich defence. Salah turned provider in the 28th, swinging in a corner that Van Dijk headed past goalkeeper Tim Krul.

Liverpool were forced to change their goalkeeper. Adrian replaced Alisson, who came off with a calf injury in his first game since a month’s break following Brazil’s victorious Copa América final. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the injury will rule Alisson out of the UEFA Super Cup match against Europa League winner Chelsea on Wednesday in Istanbul.

Krul conceded again before half-time when Origi slipped his marker to meet Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross.

On the video-assistant referee system’s Premier League debut, there was a delay to the start of the second half when a problem with the audio feed to assistant referee Simon Bennett led to his headset being replaced.

VAR’s only task on the night was to run unobtrusive checks after each goal, with no stoppage to play and no need for referee Michael Oliver to consult his monitor.

Norwich stemmed the flow of goals in the second half and scored one of their own. Emi Buendia slid the ball through the Liverpool defence, and Teemu Pukki controlled before shooting past Adrian in the 64th.

“We were a bit naïve in the first half, but that will happen with a young team. I’m proud of the way they reacted,” Krul said. “I feel we walk off the pitch thinking if we believe in what we are doing, we will get some results this season.”