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Match Reports

City beaten by clinical Liverpool as Teemu Pukki opens account

9 August 2019

A brutal first-half display from Liverpool meant the Canaries were beaten 4-1 on the opening night of the Premier League season.

City created chances throughout but Liverpool were clinical in the first-half, taking all of the good chances that fell their way. Teemu Pukki opened his Premier League account in the second half, and despite the scoreline Norwich acquitted themselves well against the European champions.

Todd Cantwell was rewarded for an excellent pre-season with a place in City’s front four, while Tom Trybull and Kenny McLean were paired together in the centre of midfield as Daniel Farke kept faith with the side that got City promoted.

For Liverpool, Sadio Mane took his place on the bench after returning to training only a week earlier.

City had the first chance of the match, with Pukki battling well on the left to rob Trent Alexander-Arnold, before cutting it back to Marco Stiepermann 15 yards out. Unfortunately his first-time shot was drilled over Alisson’s goal.

Liverpool punished City just four minutes later to open the scoring. Divock Origi drilled in a cross from the left but the unfortunate Grant Hanley sliced his near-post clearance past Tim Krul.

City almost equalised immediately with a well-worked move. Jamal Lewis broke down the left, squared it to Pukki on the edge of the area, who cleverly backheeled it to Stiepermann. He advanced into the area but curled his shot over when he probably should have done better.

The game was very open, with both sides leaving space in behind as they got on the front foot. On 21 minutes Lewis did well to carry the ball through the middle and slipped in Pukki, but he was crowded out just as he was about to pull the trigger 10 yards out. Liverpool broke up the other end and Andy Robertson was left in too much space on the edge of the area and blazed a shot just wide.  

City were made to pay for those missed chances when Alexander-Arnold got away on the right, fed in Mo Salah who played a quick one-two with Bobby Firmino and Salah rolled it under Krul to double Liverpool’s lead.

City had another golden chance on 22 minutes, with great work from Cantwell, Stiepermann and Emi Buendia on the edge of the area finding room for a through-ball to Pukki, whose chip was brilliantly saved one-handed by Alisson.

The two-goal deficit didn’t cower City, with Buendia having a shot comfortably saved by Alisson before a Stiepermann pile-driver from 20 yards forced Alisson into another top-class save.

Again City were made to pay, with Virgil van Dijk heading in a corner on 29 minutes to make it 3-0. City had crafted as many chances, but Liverpool had been clinical.

Krul denied Liverpool a fourth on 31 minutes with a breathtaking save. Firmino swivelled in the area and let fly with a volley that Krul somehow beat away at full stretch.

Liverpool were forced into a change after 38 minutes when Alisson appeared to land heavily on his knee after slipping while taking a goalkick. He was replaced by Adrian, who was making his debut.

Four minutes before half-time Origi made it four, ghosting between Hanley and Aarons to head in.

City went into the break shellshocked, with their good work in attack unrewarded and Liverpool clinical at the other end.

Krul was called into action three minutes into the second half, producing a good save to parry away Jordan Henderson’s 15-yard effort.

With Liverpool controlling possession in the second half, Farke brought on Moritz Leitner for Stiepermann after 58 minutes. His introduction helped City gain more possession, and moments after he crashed a shot against the crossbar City had one back. Buendia picked it up on the right and slotted a great ball through to Pukki, who gathered well and rolled the ball into the corner.

On 70 minutes Farke made his second change, Onel Hernandez becoming the first Cuban to play in the Premier League when he replaced Tom Trybull. Klopp made his first change shortly after, with Mane coming on for Origi.

Hernandez and Buendia tested Adrian from range in quick succession, but the goalkeeper made two comfortable saves as City looked to pull another back.

Pukki went off to a standing ovation on 82 minutes, as Josip Drmic came on to make his debut.

Both teams went searching for anothe goal, with Hernandez and Buendia going close for Norwich and Krul saving well from an Alexander-Arnold free-kick. 

Liverpool: Alisson (Adrian, 39) Fabinho, van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Firmino (Milner, 86), Salah, Gomez, Henderson, Robertson, Origi (Mane, 74), Alexander-Arnold
Subs not used: Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Matip
Goals: Hanley OG (7), Salah (19), van Dijk (28), Origi (42)
Bookings: Fredericks (60), Snodgrass (74)

Norwich: Krul, Aarons, Godfrey, Hanley, Lewis, Cantwell, Buendia, Stiepermann (Leitner, 58), Trybull (Hernandez, 70), Pukki (Drmic, 83), McLean
Subs not used: Fahrmann, Byram, Roberts, Vrancic
Goals: Pukki (64)
Bookings: Leitner (60), Buendia (65)

Referee: Michael Oliver
Kick off time: 8pm
Venue: Anfield
Attendance: 53,333
HT: 4-0

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