James Milner, Sadio Mane star as Liverpool start with a bang against West Ham
Liverpool lived up to all of the preseason hype by swatting West Ham aside with the minimum of fuss. Jurgen Klopp's men dominated from start to finish and just had far too much for the Londoners. Two goals from Sadio Mane added to further strikes from Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge ensured a victory that was about as comfortable as it gets.
Too many to mention, but Salah and Mane getting straight back among the goals is exactly what Liverpool needed. A clean sheet for Alisson on his debut was also most welcome.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Klopp didn't have too many difficult decisions to make as most of the side picks itself, but the work done in preseason clearly paid off as the Reds were razor sharp all over the pitch. Klopp's substitutions were made at the right time and Sturridge made an instant impact with a goal seconds after coming on.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 7 -- Rarely tested. Looked comfortable with the ball at his feet and his handling was fine on the rare occasions it was needed. The ideal start for him.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 -- Started a little shakily and some of his crossing was uncharacteristically wild. Perhaps the ridiculously harsh booking he was given early on unsettled him, but after a word from Klopp during a stoppage in play he looked much more like the player we're used to seeing. Went close with a curling free kick that was well saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
DF Joe Gomez, 7 -- Impressive display from the youngster in a role he would no doubt love to make his own. Barring one momentary lapse that almost let Marko Arnautovic in, Gomez looked assured and confident. With most of his centre-back rivals sidelined through injury, the shirt is his to lose currently.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 -- Never tested, cruised through the game in second gear.
DF Andrew Robertson, 8 -- Picked up where he left off last season with a rampaging display down the left. Made the opening goal for Salah with a terrific low cross and supplied several more dangerous deliveries throughout the game. The energetic Scot was still rampaging forward on the overlap in stoppage time..
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 8 -- Once again excelled in the No. 6 role, where his close control, energy and tactical discipline really comes to the fore. Moved further forward following the introduction of Jordan Henderson and but for some uncharacteristically poor control could have gotten himself on the scoresheet.
MF James Milner, 9 -- It takes more than 15 stitches for a head wound to slow the no-nonsense Yorkshireman down. The best player on the pitch, his range of passing and intelligence caught the eye as he ran the game from midfield. Created the second goal with a clever run and fine cut-back and must have covered every blade of grass on the field. Twice.
MF Naby Keita, 8 -- An impressive debut. Played an important role in the opening goal, was heavily involved throughout and showed some lovely touches.
FW Mohamed Salah, 8 -- Opened the scoring with a close-range finish and looked a constant danger. Forty-four goals is a tough act to follow but don't bet against him getting close to that number again.
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 -- Didn't score but his link play was top drawer as usual and he showed great awareness to play Mane in for the third goal. Still not at full throttle after missing much of preseason, and was wisely replaced by Henderson after 69 minutes.
FW Sadio Mane, 9 -- Razor sharp in front of goal and lively in his overall performance. Very much the third man in Liverpool's much vaunted front three last season, but he's laid down an early marker to be the main man this year.
MF Jordan Henderson, 7 -- The skipper will have been disappointed not to start and set about making up for lost time when he did eventually get on. Gave away a couple of free kicks for harassing Jack Wilshere and looked to be extremely hungry.
FW Xherdan Shaqiri, NR -- Handed a late run out and looked lively.
FW Daniel Sturridge, N/R -- The star of Liverpool's preseason probably deserved more minutes than the five he was given, but it mattered not as he scored with his first touch just seconds after coming on and could have added another in stoppage time.