By Max Chaytor
Liverpool started the 2019/2020 season just the way they left 2018/2019, securing a 4-1 win over
Norwich at Anfield. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Reds, with the newly promoted
Canaries providing a challenge for the Liverpool defence at times. It didn’t take long for Liverpool to
open their account for the season, after Divock Origi twisted and turned young fullback Max Aarons
inside and out, before firing a cross into the box, which spinned off Grant Hanley’s shin and crept in
the back of the net. Despite being an own goal, it showed the when called upon, Origi causes
problems to defences. Whether it be on the wing like in this game, or through the middle in games
like Barcelona, he can cause problems. Mohamed Salah then scored his first of the season as he goes
in search for his 3 rd Golden Boot in 3 years, and Virgil van Dijk then powered in a trademark header
for Liverpool’s third. But before Liverpool’s fourth, Golden Glove holder Alisson slipped when taking
a goal kick and looked to be in some pain, and after the Brazilian limped off, new signing Adrian
replaced him, and looked to be solid throughout the rest of the game. Origi then added a fourth
before half-time after another Trent Alexander-Arnold assist.
Norwich got a goal back through Teemu Pukki after some sloppy defending from Liverpool, after
trying to play the Finnish forward offside but Andy Robertson played him onside. It wasn’t the first
time in the game that the Reds looked unusually shaky at the back, strange considering Liverpool
had the best defence in the league last year. But heads were turned from the start as Joe Gomez was
in for Joel Matip. The big Cameroonian had a superb season last year alongside VVD after Gomez
picked up an injury half-way through, and the former Schalke man even got Liverpool’s goal in the
Community Shield final, so it LFC fans were left a little puzzled as to why he was left out. But perhaps
Klopp is trying to start this season as he started last; when van Dijk and Gomez formed an immense
partnership at the start of last season, before Gomez’ injury in December.
I’m sure the Liverpool camp were aware of the Manchester United – Chelsea result from Sunday,
where Frank Lampard’s team were thrashed 4-1 after some sloppy defending. At first, it looks like
that if the Reds played the way they did on Friday evening, and Chelsea play the way they did on
Sunday afternoon, Jurgen Klopp’s second Liverpool (and European) trophy could be returning to
Anfield. However, there is more to it than this. Liverpool will most likely change the team slightly.
Joel Matip could return alongside Virgil van Dijk, and, at least this Tuesday, it looked like Naby Keita
could be in contention for an LFC return. However, he was spotted limping out of training in the
early afternoon, so Gini Wijnaldum could keep his spot alongside Jordan Henderson and Fabinho. A
final change from the Reds’ opening day victory is the re-introduction of Sadio Mane, who now looks
match fit after a short but well-earned break. This will change Liverpool’s style of play slightly
compared to the Norwich game; different (and better, no offence to the Canaries) opposition will
always do that, but Origi is a different player to Mane, and one hopes that Matip coming back into
the side could sure-up the defence.
As for our opposition in Turkey, Chelsea are also likely to make changes. Midfielder N’golo Kante was
one of the players looking to start after being left out against Manchester United at the weekend,
but Lampard since confirmed that he picked up an injury and is unlikely to play any part in the game
at Istanbul Park. Youngsters Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount started against Man Utd, but
Lampard may look to more experienced players this time around such as Willian and Olivier Giroud,
the latter being ladt years’ Europa League top scorer. This also changes Chelsea’s style; Giroud is not
as direct as Abraham, but makes up for his loss in pace in aerial presence and strength in holding up
the ball, something Abraham clearly did not have up against Harry Maguire. But up against a
similarly strong defender in VVD, Lampard will surely turn to his French talisman.
Liverpool (and Chelsea) will obviously take this game very seriously; not only is it a perfect way to
start a campaign with some silverware, but it is a good early test to see how both teams can cope
against each other, especially considering they will meet again at least twice more this season. Lets
hope the Reds can bring home their fourth UEFA Super Cup.