Evening all and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the opening match of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign between Liverpool
and Norwich City
from Anfield. Can the Reds put an early three points on the board, or will Norwich shock the Champions League winners? Stay tuned for live minute-by-minute updates of the action here!
LIVERPOOL: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Origi, Firmino, Salah
NORWICH: Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Godfrey, Lewis; Trybull, McLean; Buendia, Stiepermann, Cantwell; Pukki
No Sadio Mane in the starting XI for Liverpool tonight following the attacker's involvement for Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations. However, he has been named on the bench. It is otherwise, arguably of course, Liverpool's strongest XI, and indeed the one that started the Community Shield last weekend. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is alongside the likes of Mane and Xherdan Shaqiri on the bench for the Champions League holders.
As for Norwich, there are no debutants in the XI with head coach Daniel Farke keeping faith with those who secured a return to this level. There are eight players who started the final Championship game of last season in the XI, including Teemu Pukki
, who struck 30 goals in all competitions last term. Another player to watch is 19-year-old Max Aarons, who was excellent during the 2018-19 season at full-back.
As expected, there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium. The Canaries have not beaten Liverpool in the Premier League since a 1-0 victory at Anfield back in April 1994. That said, they held the Reds to a 1-1 draw on their last visit to Merseyside in September 2015.
KICKOFF: Norwich kick things off at Anfield...
... it has been a nervy start from Norwich, with Liverpool already pressing high up the field and threatening down the left through Origi, who eventually saw his cross snuffed out.
Liverpool's first corner of the match comes after Godfrey is forced to turn behind under pressure from Salah. The Canaries manage to clear their lines, through, with McLean heading out.
SHOT! Half-chance for Norwich as Pukki does well in the final third before delivering a pass towards Stiepermann, but the number 18's effort was always high of the crossbar.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 1-0 NORWICH (HANLEY OG)
Disaster for Norwich. Origi breaks down the left for Liverpool before delivering a low cross into the Norwich box, where Hanley takes a swipe and it ends up in the bottom corner. Not too sure what the centre-back had in mind there - it has cost his team big time.
Norwich need to be really careful that this match does not run away from them as Liverpool are eyeing a second in the first nine minutes, which would be disastrous.
SHOT! Another decent chance for Norwich as Stiepermann collects a flick from Pukki, but the attacker again misses the crossbar. Positive signs for the Canaries here.
Liverpool again work the ball into wide area before Robertson delivers. Norwich just about deal with it, though, and Salah cannot make proper contact at the far post. Still 1-0 here.
Bit of possession for Norwich in the last couple of minutes as they just look to settle. To be fair, the visitors have played quite well in the early stages but find themselves behind.
Origi continues to find all sorts of space down the left for Liverpool. The Belgian is in the XI with Sadio Mane on the bench and he has been dangerous in the first 16 minutes.
SHOT! Norwich continue to show good moments in the final third, but Liverpool are threatening down the other end and Robertson has just fired over the away side's crossbar.
Not too much from the Liverpool fans at the moment and that is credit to Norwich for how they have played in the first 19 minutes. The opening goal was always going to be massive in this game, though, and it was a real horror show from Hanley in a defensive area.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 2-0 NORWICH (SALAH)
Liverpool double their lead in the 19th minute as Salah collects a little pass from Firmino before expertly finding the bottom corner of the goal. More than likely game over here.
VAR had a look at the goal for a possible offside but that was never likely to be the case. Salah was clearly onside when Firmino poked a clever pass towards the attacker.
Pukki breaks into a dangerous position for Norwich and tests Alisson but the offside flag is raised. Pukki has been really impressive for the visitors in the first 23 minutes here.
Norwich have played well tonight but find themselves 2-0 behind, which will be a concern to head coach Farke. Indeed, while the Canaries have impressed in the final third, they look like conceding every time that the home side attack. The first half is flying past here.
SAVE! Comfortable save for Alisson to keep out a low strike from Buendia.
SAVE! Much better save from Alisson this time as the Liverpool goalkeeper has to keep out a drive from Stiepermann, who has had three good chances in the first 26 minutes.
Robertson has a shot deflected behind as Liverpool look for a third, which would end the match as a contest. Norwich really cannot afford to ship another goal in this game.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 3-0 NORWICH (VAN DIJK)
GOAL! And there is the goal... Liverpool make it 3-0 as Van Dijk holds off the challenge from McLean before heading a corner into the back of the net. Very straightforward for the Reds.
SAVE! Super save from Krul to keep out an attempt from Firmino as Liverpool threaten a fourth. Norwich really look vulnerable at the back every time the home side break forward.
It would be fair to say that Norwich have shown a lot of intent in the final third but they have not been able to deal with the danger down the other end. Origi continues to find space down the left for Liverpool and that is an area where the away side are struggling here.
No sign of VAR being needed in the first half of this match, which is excellent news. There was a hint of offside about Liverpool's second but replays showed Salah was onside.
Next up for Liverpool is the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea on Wednesday night before continuing their league season away to Southampton on August 17. Norwich, meanwhile, will be looking to put some points on the board when they host Newcastle United next Saturday.
Bit of a concern for Liverpool here as Alisson goes down holding his calf. Might there be a debut for Adrian, who has arrived from West Ham United. Alisson does not look too pleased.
Alisson slipped while kicking the ball and his calf appears to have gone. Adrian is getting ready and there might well need to be a change in the latter stages of the first period.
LIVERPOOL SUB! Alisson hobbles across to the touchline and it remains to be seen how long the Brazilian is out. Adrian does indeed come in for his Liverpool debut here.
Little under five minutes of the first period remaining, with Liverpool leading 3-0. Norwich have had their moments in attack but have been very open in defensive areas here.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 4-0 NORWICH (ORIGI)
GOAL! It is four for Norwich as Origi heads a brilliant Alexander-Arnold cross into the back of the net. Again, it is really poor defending from the Canaries, who are in all sorts of bother.
You sense that Norwich will cause teams a lot of problems as Pukki has shown a lot of good things in the first period. But they must tighten up in a defensive area.
Anfield is not too loud to be honest - it is too easy for Liverpool. Norwich just cannot deal with crosses into the box as their two full-backs are being dragged all over the park.
We are into the second of three additional minutes at the end of the first period. Norwich will be desperate for the half-time whistle here so they can attempt to regroup.
Aarons looks in a bit of trouble here as he rolls around on the ground holding his groin - looked to be more of an impact injury which should mean he is fine to continue.
HALF TIME: LIVERPOOL 4-0 NORWICH
So there we have it - the referee brings the first half to a close with Liverpool leading Norwich 4-0 in the opening game of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.
An own goal from Hanley put Liverpool on their way before Salah, Van Dijk and Origi added to the scoring to leave the Reds in a very, very strong position at the half-time break.
Norwich actually had seven attempts in the first half, two of which were on target. The Canaries were wasteful in the final third, though, and have been seriously punished down the other end. The visitors have had 44% of the possession, meanwhile.
Liverpool have had six attempts and scored with four of them, which is an indication of how the first half went. To be honest, the Reds have not actually played that well but have been very clinical and are on course for a thumping start to the new campaign.
New signings Roberts, Byram and Drmic are all on the Norwich bench tonight, in addition to exciting attacker Hernandez. However, it remains to be seen whether Farke just attempts to consolidate in the second 45 minutes of this game.
As for Liverpool, Keita, Mane, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Shaqiri are on a very strong bench. The Reds have already been forced into a change tonight, though, with Adrian replacing Alisson, who looked to pick up a calf problem in the latter stages of the half.
Liverpool resume the game on home soil...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, Klopp might well take the chance to rest the likes of Salah and Firmino as the game progresses. Well, that is unless Norwich score four times or more to get back in it.
There was a headset problem at the start of the second period which delayed kickoff for a few minutes but there has luckily been no VAR controversy thus far.
The assistant referee had to have his pack changed before the game could get underway - far from ideal but it could be a lot worse. Right, Norwich to score five times anyone?!
OFF THE BAR! Oh my word! Liverpool come close to a fifth as Henderson strikes towards the back of the net, only for Krul to save onto the crossbar. Super goalkeeping from Krul there.
CHANCE! Incredible chance for Liverpool as Alexander-Arnold finds Firmino unmarked inside the Norwich box, but the Brazilian spins and sends the ball just wide of the post.
Buendia delivers a dangerous free kick into the Liverpool box, but the offside flag is raised. Norwich deserve a goal for their troubles tonight and more chances are sure to arrive.
Another half-chance for Norwich as Cantwell strikes over the crossbar. However, the offside flag is raised once again and Liverpool have possession through Adrian.
Alexander-Arnold has a cross deflected just wide of the Norwich post as the home side threaten once again. I'm not entirely sure what Norwich's two full-backs are doing tonight because there is so, so much space for Alexander-Arnold and Robertson to exploit.
CLOSE! Salah curls just wide of the Norwich post following more lacklustre defending from the away side, who had conceded possession in a dangerous position.
SAVE! Krul is on hand to keep out a strike from Fabinho. Norwich continue to concede possession in dangerous areas which is absolutely criminal in this stadium.
Godfrey dribbles out of the Norwich defence and loses the ball, which eventually sees Liverpool win another free kick in a dangerous area. Poor from the visitors once again.
CLOSE! Robertson just misses the post with a powerful strike from distance!
NORWICH SUB! Norwich make their first change of the match as Stiepermann is replaced by Leitner.
YELLOW CARD! Leitner (Norwich) picks up a yellow for a late challenge on Henderson.
We are entering the stage of the match where Klopp will just start to think about changes - it would not be a surprise to see both Salah and Firmino come off with around 20 minutes to go. The match as a contest is over and that has been the case for some time.
SAVE! Really good save from Adrian to keep out a strike from Leitner, who has been heavily involved for Norwich since entering the field - a yellow and a fine strike.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 4-1 NORWICH (PUKKI)
GOAL! Norwich find the back of the net through Pukki, who collects a brilliant pass from Buendia before expertly finding the bottom corner. It is a wonderful finish from the striker here.
YELLOW CARD! Buendia (Norwich) is booked for a poor challenge on Fabinho.
Little over 20 minutes of the second period remaining and it would certainly be interesting if Norwich could find a second goal in the next few minutes. They couldn't, could they?
Norwich are preparing to make their second change of the match as we head for the final 20 minutes. It looks to be Hernandez coming in - a very positive change for the visitors.
NORWICH SUB! Hernandez replaces Trybull for the away side.
Firmino has a shot deflected wide of the Norwich post as Liverpool look for a fifth. Still more than 20 minutes of football remaining - the second half has gone slower here.
Smart defending from Aarons on this occasion to clear a cross ahead of Origi, who was threatening to break in for his second of the match. Hanley then clears the resulting corner.
SHOT! Alexander-Arnold strikes over the Norwich crossbar from distance.
LIVERPOOL SUB! Mane replaces Origi for Liverpool.
Pukki has really, really impressed tonight. And it will be very interesting to see how the centre-forward performs this season - he is already off the mark on his Premier League debut.
Mane delivers a dangerous low cross into Henderson but Hanley just about manages to make the clearance. Mane has been so dangerous since entering the field here.
Little over 10 minutes of the second period remaining and Norwich will be pleased with their second-half performance here. Much more like it from the Canaries, but it would be fair to say that the Reds have eased off after winning the game in the first 45 minutes.
Hernandez does well to bring the ball down and force a save from Adrian but the offside flag had been raised and therefore it would not have counted. Still 4-1 Liverpool here.
Pukki again does well to win a free kick from Alexander-Arnold as Norwich continue to show their teeth in the second half, but the set piece is straight at Adrian.
NORWICH SUB! Pukki is replaced by Drmic for the away side.
Liverpool have a free kick in a very dangerous area as Hanley fouls Firmino...
... Liverpool have put a wall in front of Norwich's wall here. Strange.
SAVE! Brilliant save from Krul to keep out Alexander-Arnold's free kick!
LIVERPOOL SUB! Milner replaces Firmino for the home team.
Not too much to report in the last few minutes as the clock ticks on at Anfield. Liverpool are going to start with a win, but Norwich can be pleased with their second half here.
Liverpool enjoy a passing exchange in a dangerous position but Norwich eventually close the space and the danger is cleared. We are heading for stoppage time here.
We are into the first of two additional minutes at the end of the match.
SAVE! Smart save from Adrian to keep out a strike from Godfrey before Hernandez has his shot blocked. Much better second half from Norwich at Anfield, no question about that.
FULL TIME: LIVERPOOL 4-1 NORWICH
So there we have it - the referee brings the second period to a close with Liverpool running out 4-1 winners on the night to start the season with all three points.
Norwich showed plenty of heart - particularly in the second period - and can take a lot of positives from the contest. Premier League football is well and truly back!
That is just about it from me tonight, but I shall leave you with the match report
from the opening night of the 2019-20 campaign. Hope to see you again very soon!