Mohamed Salah scores, Sadio Mane bags brace as Liverpool put four past West Ham
Premier League, Anfield - Liverpool 4 (Salah 19, Mane 45, 53, Sturridge 88) West Ham 0
Sadio Mane struck twice as Liverpool offered evidence of why they are being tipped to push for the title with a 4-0 demolition of West Ham at Anfield.
The Senegalese star tucked home his first on the stroke of half-time before all-but securing victory with a smart shot on the turn on 53 minutes from what looked like an offside position.
It capped a superb attacking display from Jurgen Klopp's side, who had taken the lead when Mohamed Salah, who notched 44 goals in his first campaign on Merseyside, opened his account for 2018-19 by touching home Andy Robertson's fizzing, low cross on 19 minutes.
West Ham offered little as their five debutants struggled to gel and Daniel Sturridge rubbed salt in their wounds late on when he knocked home from a corner within seconds of appearing as a substitute. It was the icing on the cake on what was close to a perfect afternoon for Klopp and Co as new boys Alisson and Naby Keita both impressed.
The comfortable victory was the Merseysiders' 500th of the Premier League era and means they will visit Crystal Palace next Monday evening in buoyant mood. West Ham will need to regroup and continue to familiarise themselves with new faces before targeting their first win under Manuel Pellegrini when they host Bournemouth on Saturday.
Sadio Mane of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team's third goalGetty Images
Liverpool's new boys add to an already exciting squad. Everyone knows the Reds' front three are a sight to behold when they are in full flight - and they were at it again here. Mane, Roberto Firmino and Salah were just too good for West Ham while the sight of Sturridge returning to notch his first Liverpool goal since November 2017 could potentially be a significant boost for the rest of the campaign. As with all opening weekend matches, fans love to get a glimpse of any new signings and Keita was particularly impressive. He looks set to add a new dimension to the midfield while Alisson was solid but mostly a spectator for much of the match. Bigger tests will lie ahead for him and the Reds' defence, but this was a fine way to start a season where expectation is high.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Naby Keita (Liverpool): The forwards did the damage in front of goal, but the Guinean produced an energetic, all-action display in the midfield that really caught the eye. It was an excellent debut and very much worthy of the number eight shirt he has been handed.
Naby KeitaGetty Images
Liverpool: Alisson 7, Alexander-Arnold 7, Van Dijk 7, Gomez 7, Robertson 8, Keita 8, Milner 8, Wijnaldum 7, Mane 8, Salah 7, Firmino 7. Subs: Henderson 6, Shaqiri n/a, Sturridge n/a.
West Ham: Fabianski 7, Fredericks 6, Balbuena 6, Rice 5, Ogbonna 6, Masuaku 6, Noble 6, Wilshere 6, Anderson 6, Arnautovic 6, Antonio 6. Subs: Snodgrass 6, Hernandez 5, Yarmolenko 5.
19' - GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 West Ham. Another fast-paced Liverpool attack sees Keita feed Robertson on the left. The full back wastes little time in fizzing a low ball into the six-yard box for Salah to tap home.
38' - LIVERPOOL CHANCE. Liverpool carve West Ham open again. Mane twists and turns and picks out Firmino on the right of the box. The Brazilian drives towards the byline and pulls it across for Salah who sees his close-range effort brilliantly kept out by Fabianski.
45+2' - GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 West Ham. It's two. Milner rescues Robertson's high ball to the far post and hooks it across for Mane to tuck home on the stretch.
49' - WEST HAM CHANCE. Snodgrass' right-wing corner is flicked on by Anderson, but Antonio can only guide an awkward attempt at the far post over the bar from close range.
53' - GOAL! Liverpool 3-0 West Ham. Mane swivels brilliantly to flash Firmino's pass into the bottom corner from what looked like an offside position. West Ham will be fuming with that, but it still stands.
88' - GOAL! Liverpool 4-0 West Ham. Sturridge makes an immediate impact as he touches home Milner's left-wing corner within seconds of coming on.
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their first goalReuters
- Mane is the first Liverpool player since 1991 (John Barnes) to score in a third successive opening league game of a season for the club.
- Mane has been directly involved in six goals in his last four Premier League appearances against West Ham (3 goals, 3 assists).
- Liverpool are the only the second side in Premier League history to score 4+ goals in four consecutive games against a single opponent, after Tottenham v Stoke.
- Sturridge scored just 24 seconds after coming on as a substitute, also scoring with what was his first touch.