Liverpool 4-1 Norwich
Norwich City were given a baptism of fire on their return to the Premier League with a 4-1 thumping against European champions Liverpool at Anfield.
The Canaries are back in the top flight after a two-year absence after romping to the Championship title last season with 94 points, while they also had the best away record in all four divisions.
However, Liverpool just missed out to Manchester City for last season’s title despite accruing 97 points, while they finished the domestic season with nine successive wins before defeating Tottenham in the Champions League final in June.
The Reds went into the game having scored more Premier League goals against Norwich than any other club and Canaries’ stopper Grant Hanley gave them a helping hand on this occasion when he put through his own goal in the early exchanges.
Mohamed Salah got off the mark for the new season just before the 20-minute mark, before Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi heaped more misery on their opponents before the break.
Norwich at least stemmed the tide after the break and Teemu Pukki, who picked up the Golden Boot in the second tier after scoring 29 goals last season, showed he can score at the highest level when he grabbed a consolation for the Canaries.
Jurgen Klopp opted to name the same Liverpool XI that lost to Manchester City in the Community Shield last weekend, while Norwich boss Daniel Farke gave the majority of the players who won the Championship with 94 points a chance to shine in the top flight, but they were missing experienced centre-back Timm Klose and fellow defender Christoph Zimmermann because of injury.
Marco Stiepermann wasted a decent early chance for Norwich and he was made to pay when Liverpool took the lead in the seventh minute.
Origi picked up possession down the left and put a hopeful ball into the middle where Hanley inadvertently sliced his attempted clearance into the far corner beyond the desperate dive of Tim Krul.
Stiepermann was presented with another chance on 10 minutes when Pukki set him up with a clever back-heel just inside the Liverpool area, but again the German blazed his shot high over Alisson’s crossbar.
Liverpool doubled their lead on 19 minutes when a flick from Roberto Firmino found Salah free down the right side of the area and the Egyptian guided his low strike beyond the outstretched leg of Krul and into the far corner of the net.
Norwich continued to look a threat going forward and Alisson had to be on his toes to push away a fierce 20-yard drive from Stiepermann to safety on 26 minutes.
Liverpool virtually sealed the three points in the 28th minute when they added a third in simplistic fashion as Van Dijk met a Salah corner from the left and guided his header beyond Krul from 10 yards.
The Canaries were firmly under the cosh at this point and they had Krul to thank on 31 minutes when he produced a fine reaction save to parry away a Firmino strike from near the penalty spot.
There was a worrying moment for the Reds during the half when goalkeeper Alisson went down with what appeared to be a calf injury and had to be replaced by recent signing Adrian between the sticks.
However, the half ended on a high for the hosts when Trent Alexander-Arnold picked out Origi in the area with a sublime 40-yard ball and the big striker did the rest as he planted a header past Krul to make it 4-0 on 42 minutes.
Krul prevented Liverpool from scoring a fifth two minutes into the second half as he brilliantly tipped a Jordan Henderson effort on to the crossbar following good work by Origi down the right, before Firmino somehow missed from close range a minute later.
Liverpool continued to look the more likely to score again until the 63rd minute when substitute Moritz Leitner smashed a shot against the top corner of the crossbar from a tight angle.
Norwich did get a goal their play deserved a minute later when Emiliano Buendia slipped the ball through to Pukki, who managed to get beyond the Liverpool defence before coolly finishing into the far, bottom corner past Adrian.
Alexander-Arnold almost added a fifth for the hosts six minutes from time, but Krul got across to his left to tip the young full-back’s curling free-kick wide of the far post.
Ben Godfrey looked to make the scoreline more respectable in stoppage time with a shot from distance which Adrian could only parry, but Liverpool managed to see the rebound out of play.