‘As good as it gets’ - Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool’s opening day win at Norwich

The Reds beat Norwich City 3-0 on the road as Virgil van Dijk made his long-awaited return to competitive action.

<p>Jurgen Klopp was delighted with Virgil van Dijk’s return and Mohamed Salah’s performance. Photo: Marc Atkins/Getty Images</p>

Jurgen Klopp was delighted with Virgil van Dijk’s return and Mohamed Salah’s performance. Photo: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed his team’s professional display on the opening day of the 2021-22 Premier League campaign as they cruised past newly-promoted Norwich City at Carrow Road.

There were signs of encouragement for the host early on but Diogo Jota’s opening goal after 26 minutes put the Reds comfortably in control.

Roberto Firmino doubled the lead on 65 minutes, just moments after coming off the bench to replace Jota, and Mohamed Salah, who had assisted both of Liverpool’s goals, bagged one for himself with quarter-of-an-hour to go.

“It’s pretty much as good as it gets,” Klopp said after watching his side secure a comfortable victory.

“What you need and what you go for is the result. The result depends on the performance and I thought we were absolutely good enough to win.

“It was a very professional performance. I don’t need a 25-minute sensational spell and we lose the game.

“An away game, against a newly-promoted team, in a packed stadium for the first time, they celebrate everything so I am really happy with how we played. We can play better, that is clear but I’m very happy.

"We were not here to show the most exciting football, just to get the basis for the new season, and we did. Football is back."

Mohamed Salah broke yet more records. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Sensational Salah

Salah was at his scintillating best against the Canaries and the goal that capped his man-of-the-match performance also made him the first player to score in five consecutive opening weekends of a Premier League season.

“I assume he knew about that, and had extra motivation to score!” a grinning Klopp said post match.

“Maybe Salah knew, also, that his goal here means he has now scored in 100 separate matches for Liverpool.

“Mo is Mo, eh? When the competition starts, he goes into the next gear.”

Van Dijk’s return

The match at Carrow Road also saw £75 million defender Virgil van Dijk return to competitive action for the first time since suffering a cruciate ligament injury in his right knee last October.

The defender, who signed a new four-year contract on the eve of the match, was obviously delighted to be back but admitted it will take a little longer to get up to full speed.

“It’s a good start,” Van Dijk said. “Now we have time to recover for next week.

"To be back out there helping the boys, I hope to continue that. I need games - the manager knows it, I know it."

The centre-back added: “I wasn’t nervous, I was excited, I wanted to be out there. I wanted to get the game going.”

Virgil van Dijk played the full 90 minutes on his return.

He told told liverpoolfc.com: “In my case I just need repetition, to keep doing things: coming across, pushing up, get the ball, change of play, keep the speed, all these things, what I normally do and yeah, these are the moments where you can really improve, so that’s what I tried to do.

“To get the three points, win 3-0 away, a clean sheet. Obviously you can’t ask for more.”

What’s next for Liverpool

The Reds will be relishing a return to a full-capacity crowd at Anfield when Burnley visit next Saturday (12.30).

The Clarets began their season with a 2-1 loss at Brighton and Hove Albion.