Liverpool’s first game back at the new Anfield proved to be a magnificent homecoming as the Reds smashed defending champions Leicester 4-1. With club legends such as Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush watching on, the home side completely dominated the champions with manager Jürgen Klopp claiming his side had “put life into the new stadium.”
With an additional 8,000 seats, the game created the best attendance record since 1977 – an era when seating was still very rare. Although the famous home atmosphere returned, it was the away team who showed positive signs in the early exchanges. Liverpool’s defense looked a bit shaky whenever the Foxes started to counter.
Lucas Leiva, who hasn’t been 100 percent match fit, started in the unfamiliar centre back position due to Dejan Lovren’s injury, but once the Reds gained momentum they unleashed their lethal attacking weapons.
Combining with Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge, Sadio Manè used his quick feet to tear the Foxes apart. A brace from Firmino and another two goals from Adam Lallana and Manè himself condemned Leicester City to their worst defeat since the start of last season.
On the other hand, Lucas’s mistake when the team was leading 2-0 to gift Jamie Vardy the easiest goal ever showed another side to Liverpool’s game. In a recent technical report submitted to UEFA by Alex Ferguson, he criticised Liverpool’s all-out pressing game in last season’s Europa League final, claiming they had no energy left by the second half. High pressing demands a high fitness level and very strong concentration throughout the 90 minutes. The concern for the Reds will be their habit of conceding easy goals through profound individual mistakes.
Nevertheless, Liverpool’s performance hinted at the squad’s great potential. New stadium, new life – will it also be a new era of success?