The opening weekend of the Premier League included very little surprises, and the same went for the preseason favorites to battle for the title, Liverpool and defending champions Manchester City, comfortably clinching their first 3 points of the campaign.
Liverpool, finishing 4th last season and losing in the Champions League final, picked up right where they left off, brushing West Ham aside 4-0 with goals from Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane (twice, one of them offside) and Daniel Sturridge.
The win taught us a few things about Jurgen Klopp’s intentions this season. Dejan Lovren, missing the match due to an injury, has to worry about Joe Gomez, who might end up finally finding a permanent lineup spot by switching to centre back.
Naby Keita will be big for Liverpool. His drives forward were the basis for the first two goals, and even without Fabinho, Liverpool had no problem completely dominating the middle of the park. Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Fabinho began the match on the bench. The only team capable of battling Liverpool in midfield depth is Manchester City.
And City certainly showed their depth by leaving Kevin de Bruyne on the bench for the beginning of the match, which they dominated rather easily to beat Arsenal in London 2-0. The Gunners struggled for long stretches to get out of their own half, finding the pressure and intensity often a bit much.
Benjamin Mendy was the team’s best player. His last touch, like Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero, was often lacking or imperfect, but he made the most of the space given to him, playing a big part in many dangerous buildups. Riyad Mahrez, making his debut for the team and playing in the unusual right wing spot, was effective at times, but City really didn’t need him to do more than OK.
City might not have the lead in the table over Liverpool after one match, but will certainly remain favorites to finish on top at the end of the season. If it wasn’t for Aguero and Sterling’s wastefulness, this would have been a much more sour English debut for Unai Emery, who has a lot of work to do with a ragtag Arsenal group.