AS GOOD AS IT GETS: Klopp praises his side after Norwich win
PA Joe Giddens
Jürgen Klopp praised Liverpool’s professional performance after they secured a 3-0 win at Norwich on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.
Diogo Jota got the Reds off the mark for the 2021-22 campaign with a fierce drive in the 26th minute and Roberto Firmino all but wrapped up the points with a goal midway through the second half having only entered the pitch minutes earlier.
Mo Salah had assisted both efforts and he got on the scoresheet before full-time with a record-breaking strike, becoming the first Premier League player to score in five consecutive opening weekends.
“Pretty much as good as it gets,” Klopp said after his team beat Norwich at Carrow Road.
“What you need and what you go for is the result. The result depends on the performance and I thought we were absolutely good enough to win.
“It was a very professional performance. I don’t need a 25-minute sensational spell and we lose the game. An away game, against a newly-promoted team, in a packed stadium for the first time, they celebrate everything so I am really happy with how we play. We can play better, that is clear but very happy.”
Virgil Van Dijk made his first competitive start in 10 months and finished the match to take another positive step in the right direction after he sustained cruciate ligament damage to his right knee back in October.
The return of the talismanic Dutchman was a welcome sight and another was Salah continuing his fine record on the first matchday of the season to put to bed any concerns about his pre-season form which brought a surprise return of no goals.
“Each game helps and it was really good to see Virgil again on the pitch, especially on defensive set-pieces,” Klopp admitted.
“And that’s Mo. I would assume he knew about the record and wanted to score.
“A really good game, when you set up the first two goals, which is really cool and then after he scored, he tried to find Sadio (Mane) twice with the pass and Mo is Mo. When the competition starts, he goes to the next gear.”
There was a party atmosphere inside the stadium before kick-off with Norwich fans able to sell out Carrow Road for the first time in 18 months.
Boss Daniel Farke was disappointed not to give them more but praised the effort of his newly-promoted side who pushed Liverpool hard at the beginning of each half and endured a difficult summer with an outbreak of Covid-19 cases at the club.
He said: “It was unbelievable to be reunited with the fans and as long as we have that unity with them, I am quite positive and hopefully we can share some great moments this season. I am more confident after this game.
“You are always disappointed when you lose the first game but many, many positive things to take.
“We played against one of the best sides in the world. World-class players, world-class coach and they had a proper pre-season.
“We had many players on the pitch who didn’t have a proper pre-season so I just have compliments for the performance. For 65 minutes we were quite competitive.”
Next up for Norwich is a daunting trip to champions Manchester City while Klopp and Liverpool are back at Anfield on Saturday to host Burnley.
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