There was not even a glimpse of the trophy they won in Madrid on June 1 on this occasion, or any other match day to come it seems, ­because Jurgen Klopp would simply prefer his team play like the champions of Europe rather than continue to ­parade the spoils of that famous night.

That was how Season No 30 in pursuit of Anfield's lost league title began and the first half will have been largely as Klopp wanted, with four goals for Liverpool and the crushing of a promoted club who have kept largely out of the transfer market this summer. Which is not to say that an adventurous Norwich City did not occasionally seek out the weaker spots of this Liverpool team, it was just that when it came to keeping them out they struggled badly.​

It began dreadfully for Norwich with an own goal from the captain Grant Hanley and from there ­Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi helped themselves to goals before half-time brought some respite for the visitors. ­­Anfield was not entirely satisfied with events – the Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker was helped off the pitch in the first half, the extent of his injury unclear still, although that could be a serious issue for Klopp.​

Some things never change: the usual commanding performance from van Dijk in defence while Roberto Firmino gave Norwich's defenders a fresh experience in what it is to deal with a striker with a golden touch and an inexhaustible work rate. The fluency that this Liverpool team became famous for last season may take a little longer.​


Klopp said he never gave any thought to bringing the European Cup out before the game. "No one needs to congratulate me anymore," he said. "This is a new season and we start again". He wants to remind his players that there is ­another mountain to climb, ­although there is no getting away from the reality that this Liverpool team have a place in history now, in a stadium in which the flags now have one extra star.

Yet for all the chances Liverpool created after the break only Norwich scored in the second half – a first Premier League goal for the hard-working Teemu Pukki. Norwich were, Klopp said, "risky" in their approach, and "cheeky as hell". The Championship winners became only the second team in history to give Premier League ­debuts to four British players 21 or younger. They played out from the back with varying degrees of success and their manager Daniel Farke spoke afterwards with an evangelical zeal about sticking to their style.​

Liverpool players celebrate the opening goal of their team during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Norwich City at Anfield in Liverpool. Photo / AP
Liverpool players celebrate the opening goal of their team during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Norwich City at Anfield in Liverpool. Photo / AP

"We have to keep to our principles" he said. "This squad is made for playing this style of football." They committed full-backs and midfielders forward with the kind of confidence that even many of Liverpool's Champions League ­opponents might consider a little gung-ho. Eternally optimistic, Farke said that he had checked the two teams' possession and shooting stats at half-time to discover they were identical, with the only difference being Liverpool had four goals. Chiefly that was because of Norwich's defending. Hanley scored an own goal for the first, and his Liverpool counterpart van Dijk headed the third in direct from a corner having barely had to jump to get a contact on the ball. Farke praised the spirit of his players and pointed out that even Barcelona lost 4-0 at Anfield in May.​

It was when Liverpool were three goals up that Alisson was ­injured. He slipped over when striking the ball and fell to the ground clutching his right leg – an injury that Klopp later said was to his calf, although the extent of it ­remains unknown. Alisson is a critical part of this Liverpool team and how they play and if the margins are to be as fine as they were last season in the league then they cannot spare him for long.​

In his place came Adrian San Miguel, the experienced Spaniard arrived from West Ham this summer. As for a third choice, there is no Simon Mignolet at the club any longer and the next senior goalkeeper in the hierarchy is the 20-year-old Irishman Caomhin Kelleher, only just training again ­after breaking a wrist. Adrian's first touch was a pass clipped out to Andy Robertson on the left side which showed that he might be able to adapt.​

Salah had scored the second after Norwich failed on a few occasions to clear and Firmino poked the ball through to him. Trent Alexander-Arnold picked out Origi to head in the fourth, the fifth consecutive game in which the young full-back has contributed an assist. Norwich were at sea defensively in the first half. Nowhere more so than when Hanley swung a boot at Origi's seventh minute cross and ­deflected it in for the first goal.​

The restart of the game had been delayed by a problem with the officials' headsets and when it finally began, Liverpool hunted down their opponents. Farke's players looked like they would concede again and could barely get themselves out of midfield. Tim Krul saved more than one, turning a shot from Jordan Henderson over the bar, but the longer it went on without another goal, the more Norwich's confidence grew.​

The Norwich goal was well finished by Pukki, who could look back on a good night. He was played in nicely by the Argentinian midfielder Emiliano Buendia. "We went in 4-0 down at half-time at Anfield and won the second half," Farke said later. Even the introduction of James Milner and Sadio Mane in the second half could not generate another goal and, in fact, Norwich looked a bit more comfortable with the challenge by the end.​


Liverpool's standards are much higher.