Same old Mohamed Salah and other talking points from Liverpool's win over Norwich

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Liverpool welcomed Norwich City to the Premier League with a 4-1 rout at Anfield during the Premier League opener on Friday night.

Grant Hanley diverted Divock Origi’s cross into his own net in the seventh minute before Mohamed Salah doubled the hosts’ advantage inside the opening 20 minutes.

Origi then got on the score sheet as well, nodding in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross before Salah’s corner saw Virgil van Dijk power home a fourth goal.

Teemu Pukki pulled a goal back for Norwich in the second half, scoring in the 64th minute, giving the visitors something to show for their persistent efforts in attack.

SAME OLD SALAH

The league’s top scorer in the last two seasons began the new campaign in ominous form. Salah’s not had much of a pre-season but continued to look sharp following his Community Shield display against Manchester City when he was Liverpool’s biggest threat.

A the Reds began to get into the groove against Norwich, Salah was beginning to exploit space more frequently. Latching on to Firmino’s pass, he slotted the ball into the far corner for Liverpool’s second before whipping in the corner for Van Dijk to score the third.

Salah goal

NORWICH NEEDED INVESTMENT

As Liverpool helped themselves to four goals in the opening 45 minutes while barely breaking a sweat, it was evident that Norwich’s decision not to invest significantly in their squad over the summer was probably the wrong one.

The newly-promoted outfit have only spent £1 million on recruitment ahead of the new season. That’s in stark contrast to Aston Villa – also making the step to the Premier League – who splurged £120 million.

Most of the goals on Friday came from some pretty poor defending. Hanley’s awkward attempted clearance led to the first, no one tracked Origi’s run for the third and Van Dijk didn’t even have to jump to head in the fourth.

ORIGI REPAYING MANAGER’S FAITH

On his 100th appearance for Liverpool, Origi showed just why Jurgen Klopp refused to give into pressure and sign another attacker this summer. Only a bit-part player last season, the Belgian still made big contributions to the Reds’ Champions League success, even scoring in the final against Tottenham.

With Sadio Mane not match fit yet after arriving late for pre-season due to an extended run in the African Cup of Nations, Origi got his chance to feature in his stead. He took it with both hands, breaking the deadlock by forcing an own goal off Hanley.

He continued to look threatening down the left, running at the full-back at every opportunity and made a great diagonal run before heading home from Alexander-Arnold’s cross to make it 4-0 in the first half.

Origi

CANARIES CAN-DO ATTITUDE

Despite their poor defensive display, there was much about Norwich to admire even during such a jarring defeat.

Daniel Farke has insisted that the Championship winners will persist with their brand of attacking football and it looks as if he’s a man of his word. Even when conceding goals, the visitors never stopped looking to play forward at Anfield.

At times that was to their detriment but with better finishing, they could well have scored another couple of goals. Marco Stiepermann was guilty of squandering a few promising chances in the first half while Pukki was a constant threat with his runs in behind and substitute Moritz Leitner saw his effort crash off the bar.

Pukki of course even scored a consolation goal from one of his side’s 12 attempts at goal to Liverpool’s 15.

They may be severely lacking quality at the back but Norwich should cause teams a few problems this season.

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Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil will not feature for Arsenal against Newcastle United

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Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil will not be available for Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Newcastle on Sunday as the police investigate “further security incidents”, Arsenal have announced.

The pair were targeted by car-jackers in north London last month, with security camera footage showing Kolasinac confronting the offenders after they approached Ozil’s car – with the two players unhurt during the incident in Golder’s Green.

Neither featured in the Emirates Cup defeat to Lyon the following weekend after talks with head coach Unai Emery but had been expected to be in contention to face Newcastle in the season opener.

However, Arsenal released a statement on Friday evening announcing the two players would be unavailable for selection at St James’ Park.

“Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac will not be part of the squad for our opening match against Newcastle United following further security incidents which are being investigated by the police,” it read.

“The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority and we have taken this decision following discussion with the players and their representatives.

“We are liaising with the police and are providing the players and their families with ongoing support.

“We look forward to welcoming the players back to the squad as soon as possible.

“We will not be making any further comment on the matter.”

Copy provided by Press Association Sport

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Tottenham's midfield depth and quality earns an A and the defence gets a B

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Christian Eriksen

Champions League runners-up Tottenham experienced a busy deadline day to complete a successful transfer window after remaining inactive in the previous two.

Tanguy Ndombele and Ryan Sessegnon shifted base to North London, while Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso joined the club on a season-long loan.

Right-back Kieran Trippier and Vincent Janssen made their way out of the club. Jack Clarke was purchased from Leeds United and sent back on a one-year loan.

Does the new-look Spurs squad hold more promise than the side that conceded defeat to Liverpool at Madrid?

We take a deeper look at the Spurs squad going into the 2019/20 season and grade the different departments.

Goalkeepers – B

Hugo Lloris and Paulo Gazzaniga will be Spurs’ men between the sticks for the following season. The club captain still has several years left before the inevitable decline kicks in.

Comparing Lloris to the likes of Ederson and Alisson would be unfair, given they have perched themselves on top of the pile. But the Frenchman has displayed consistency regularly to be considered a top player.

The back-up custodian Gazzaniga impressed during Lloris’ short spells of absence last season. Spurs lost just one game in four that had the Argentine guarding the posts and it came against eventual champions Manchester City.

The pairing between the posts is certainly not the best in the Premier League but Spurs do enjoy two reliable pair of hands.

HugoLlorisSpursCity (1)

Defence – B

Spurs are blessed with quality and depth in the full-back position but could have considered recruiting a centre-back, given Toby Alderweireld is strongly linked to a move away from the club.

Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen should constitute a solid pairing but the lack of depth could attract trouble during the business end of the season.

The fourth-choice centre-back Juan Foyth lacks the experience to take over on a long-term basis, should an injury be inflicted upon the starters.

The full-backs act as a saving grace and thus prevent the defence from receiving a C+ grade. Danny Rose and Serge Aurier will be taking guard at left-back and right-back respectively and the departure of Trippier is unlikely to cause much harm on the flanks.

Kyle Walker-Peters and Ben Davies should serve as able deputies and the option of playing the new-signing Sessegnon as a wing-back is also present.

Danny-Rose

Midfield – A

There are only a handful of midfield combinations in Europe that could claim to be an upgrade over what Spurs have in store for the 2019/20 season. This talented midfield at the disposal of Mauricio Pochettino promises to be a treat.

Spurs are likely to play a 4-2-3-1, with Lo Celso and Ndombele shaping the double pivot. Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-Min are favourites to start on either side of attacking midfield, with Dele Alli assuming the no10 role.

Each of the above-mentioned players possesses a unique attribute that provides the team well-rounded armoury at the centre of the pitch.

Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko, and Sessegnon are the back-ups in midfield that Spurs have at their disposal. A good blend of youth, potential and experience decorate a competitive midfield that holds a lot of promise.

Eriksen

Attack – B+

Spurs have one of the best strikers in the league spearheading the attack. Harry Kane was subjected to an injury-ridden season that prevented him from playing a part in some of his team’s crucial games towards April/May last season.

However, the North Londoners had no problems in dealing with his absence, as evidenced by their deep run in the Champions League. However, this lack of reliance over Kane could be an exception rather than the norm.

This means that Spurs should have considered pursuing a back-up for the English striker, with Fernando Llorente departing from the club.

Lucas Moura did a great job when played up front last season as did Son. But Kane remains the only out-and-out centre-forward at the club.

KaneSpursLiverpool (1)

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