Liverpool’s 3-0 victory against Aston Villa at Anfield on Sunday preserved the Reds’ perfect start to the new campaign. It was reminiscent of the formidable Jurgen Klopp team of old.
Matty Cash’s own goal was followed by goals from Mohamed Salah and Dominik Szoboszlai, the latter scoring his first for the team.
With the win, the Reds are now just two points behind Manchester City atop the Premier League standings.
But what will have Liverpool supporters dreaming of a championship push once again is the style of victory and a return of 10 points from a challenging first four games of the new season.
Prior to Liverpool winning their first championship in thirty years in 2020, Klopp’s team lost to City in 2019 and 2022 by only one point each time.
But they finished fifth in the Premier League the previous season, missing out on Champions League play for the first time in seven years.
Liverpool’s goals for the next season seemed to be limited to finishing in the top four after a challenging summer in the transfer market caused them to lose out on many targets.
Although Klopp had to start again in his midfield, Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister, two recent additions, adapted quickly.
The Reds’ decision to reject a massive bid for Mohamed Salah this week from Saudi club Al-Ittihad was perhaps their most significant transaction of the summer.
Salah was a constant danger, and Darwin Nunez is finally settling in after a challenging first season, so there is no questioning Liverpool’s offensive prowess up front.
Nunez earned his first start of the season last Saturday after scoring two goals away against Newcastle as a substitute, capping off a game-winning performance.
Alexandra Arnold establishes the mood
The Uruguayan’s strength and speed constantly exposed the Villa defense, but after only three minutes, the home team broke the tie with a set-piece.
Szoboszlai used his weaker left foot to launch a powerful shot into the far corner of the box after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner reached the outside of the area.
When in possession, Alexander-Arnold used his new position at the base of the Liverpool midfield to dominate the game.
His assist set up the second goal’s move, as he served as captain for the day in Virgil van Dijk’s absence due to suspension.
Salah squared for Nunez, who ought to have scored on his own, but the ball bounced in off the unlucky Cash after his effort struck the post.
Only seven of Villa’s 28 Premier League games under Unai Emery has resulted in losses.
But their high defensive line was readily exploited, as it was in the 5-1 thumping they endured at Newcastle on the opening weekend of the season.
Before halftime, Liverpool had an opportunity to extend their advantage, but Joel Matip headed a fantastic chance wide and Nunez struck the crossbar.
However, Villa will also believe that they wasted their opportunities to make the game exciting.
With only Alisson Becker to beat, John McGinn fired over. Then, early in the second half, the Brazilian goalkeeper made a stunning save to deny Cash’s header.
On the other end, Nunez misdirected his header despite Salah’s exquisite cross finding his strike partner with the goal open.
The Egyptian is still vital to Liverpool’s chances of catching up to City and winning the English Premier League for the twentieth time. On minute fifty-five, he scored the goal that his performance merited.
After Villa was unable to handle another corner, Salah scored at the back post after Nunez’s flick-on.