Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Norwich City at Anfield in Liverpool, England, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
soccer

Liverpool beats Norwich 4-1 in Premier League season opener

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Liverpool opened its bid to end a 30-year English title drought by beating Norwich 4-1 on Friday, with four goals in the first half against the Premier League newcomers.

Grant Hanley's own goal was followed by Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk and Divock Origi netting for Liverpool, which was beaten to the trophy in May by Manchester City by one point but won the Champions League.

Promoted as League Championship winners, Norwich had an uncomfortable return to the Premier League after a three-year absence.

Liverpool was gifted an opener seven minutes into season when Hanley deflected Origi's cross into his own net.

Salah steered in the second goal in the 19th minute after Roberto Firmino slid the ball behind the Norwich defense. Salah turned provider in the 28th, swinging in a corner that Van Dijk headed past goalkeeper Tim Krul.

Liverpool was forced to change its goalkeeper. Adrian replaced Alisson, who came off with a calf injury in his first game since a month's break following Brazil's victorious Copa América final. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the injury will rule Alisson out of the UEFA Super Cup match against Europa League winner Chelsea on Wednesday in Istanbul.

Krul conceded again before halftime when Origi slipped his marker to meet Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross.

On the video-assistant referee system's Premier League debut, there was a delay to the start of the second half when a problem with the audio feed to assistant referee Simon Bennett led to his headset being replaced.

VAR's only task on the night was to run unobtrusive checks after each goal, with no stoppage to play and no need for referee Michael Oliver to consult his monitor.

Norwich stemmed the flow of goals in the second half and scored one of its own. Emi Buendia slid the ball through the Liverpool defense and Teemu Pukki controlled before shooting past Adrian in the 64th.

"We were a bit naive in the first half but that will happen with a young team. I'm proud of the way they reacted," Krul said. "I feel we walk off the pitch thinking if we believe in what we are doing we will get some results this season."

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Good outing for Liverpool but a baptism of fire for Norwich. Our immediate concern was the loss of the goalkeeper Alission who went down with his calf.

Adrian replaced Alisson but he's new to the club and wasn't suppose to be needed. Mignolet left last week and must be wondering now whether that was the right choice.

I think going forward the full backs Van Dijk and Gomez/Matip will have to become "half goalkeepers" to help out.

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