Norwich City

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Pukki hat trick leads Norwich past Newcastle

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Norwich City gave its fans a day to remember in the Premier League, as Teemu Pukki scored a hat trick in the first top flight game at Carrow Road since 2016.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Saturday’s match finished 3-1, with Jonjo Shelvey scored a craft late concession for Newcastle but not enough to take any pressure off already-embattled manager Steve Bruce.

Former Atlanta United playmaker Miguel Almiron struggled for the second-straight week and record-signing Joelinton limped off the pitch for Newcastle.

Norwich hosts Chelsea next week while point-less Newcastle is away to Spurs.

3 things we learned

1. Top Teemu since Selanne: Preseason questions about whether the 29-goal Finn could bring his scoring prowess to the Premier League. Four goals in two matches answers that, and the quality of each lives outside of Fortune.

2. Steve Bruce gives doubters fuel: The Magpies’ already-embattled boss dropped young Sean Longstaff to the bench, but it’s not just about personnel; Newcastle looked unfit to rival a newly-promoted team from Moment No. 1. That’s terrible stuff.

3. Sweet revenge for Krul, Hanley: Former Newcastle No. 1 goalkeeper Krul and former Championship backup Hanley were in firm control even with Shelvey’s stoppage time goal.

Man of the Match: Teemu Pukki

The Magpies showed little promise during the match, as Almiron was a non-factor and Norwich boss Daniel Farke had his men ready to pound Joelinton when he dropped deep to find the ball.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

There were plenty of questions about Pukki before the season, but he had to play with Josip Drmic injured. The Finn lashed a gorgeous volley home for his opener, and dribbled to create space on his second and third goals.

Shelvey’s work to create a late goal for Newcastle was not his usual banger from distance, rather some deft movement to assure the Magpies a place on the score sheet.

WATCH, STREAM: Wilson, Pukki score screamers amongst 10 a.m. ET kicks

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This season is going to be a challenge for Norwich City, but one of last season’s true heroes made sure the Canaries fans got a bit of home delight.

[ STREAM: All 10 a.m. ET kicks ]

Newcastle is visiting town on Saturday, and Teemu Pukki scored a delightful opener to give the Canaries a halftime lead.

It’s appropriate, as the volley takes a page out of Newcastle hero Alan Shearer’s playbook.

Norwich City 1-0 Newcastle UnitedSTREAM

Aston Villa 0-2 BournemouthSTREAM

And how about this from Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson, who is making Villa’s home return to the Premier League less than ideal.

Norwich boss Farke ‘totally in love with this team’ despite defeat

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Daniel Farke insists he won’t be deterred by one bad result upon Norwich City’s return to the Premier League.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines for opening weekend | How VAR will work in PL ]

Sure, Farke’s side was beaten 4-1 by Liverpool on Friday — it was 4-0 by halftime — but the German manager remains “totally in love with this team,” a group that he says approached the 2019-20 Premier League season’s curtain-raiser with a “greedy” mentality and showed no fear in facing the reigning European champions and PL title chasers — quotes from the BBC:

“We’re disappointed. We were greedy, we wanted to be the first team in two and a half years to win here. But I’m totally in love with this team. The mentality to win the second half in front of an excited home crowd, we showed great character.

“No one wanted to hear it at halftime but I told them we had the same possession and had created more chances. Liverpool had scored four, though. It was tough to take but I felt we were not too far away from a good result.”

Norwich won’t be the last side to be completely overwhelmed by Liverpool — they just so happened to be the first — but the Reds barely had to move out of first gear to establish a three-goal lead inside the opening half-hour. Opening-day nerves — inside the cauldron of Anfield, no less — unquestionably played a part in the Canaries’ slow start, but their commitment to playing attacking soccer will surely cause plenty of problems for more than a few sides this season.

Alisson injury update: Klopp says ‘it is not good’

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Liverpool’s 4-1 season-opening victory over Norwich City was perfect in every possible way, save for goalkeeper Alisson leaving the game with an apparent leg injury late in the first half.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines for opening weekend | How VAR will work in PL ]

Jurgen Klopp issued the first update of Alisson’s status after the game, and, in Klopp’s words, “it is not good.” Former West Ham goalkeeper, and recent free-agent signing, Adrian replace him in goal. Alisson, who left the field with a bit of assistance, will undergo scans on his right calf this weekend to determine the severity of the injury — quotes from the BBC:

“With Alisson it is not good but we will find a solution and move on. He felt his calf. He looked behind him because he thought something hit him.

“But Adrian is a good goalie. In possession he is calm and he is good at shot-stopping, that’s why we signed him. It’s good for him but we have a little problem with Ali.”

“He looked behind him because he thought something hit him” is easily the most worrying part of what Klopp said. Oftentimes when an athlete suffers an achilles injury, they report a similar sensation and reaction, most notably in a non-contact situation, as was the case with Alisson.

[ MORE: Premier League TV, streaming schedule | Predicting the PL table ]

As for the rest of the game, Klopp was thoroughly pleased with his side’s performance for the first hour, but he felt they fell off a little bit in the final half-hour, though he feels that par for the course early in the season.

“For 60 minutes, we looked very sharp, then we have to control the game a bit more. Norwich have all my respect. They stayed cheeky, they enjoyed their football.

“At the start of the second half we could have scored a fifth or sixth goal, then Norwich scored. After that we were never in danger but had to work hard to keep the score what it was.

“But tonight is positive. For 60 minutes, we played super football and the last half an hour is normal in the early stages.”

“There is a lot of space for improvement we know that but a lot of things were there tonight. The next game is a different game and we have to defend well.

“The main problem today was the reaction on the second balls. All respect to Norwich if they can keep playing like that they will have a good future. I am happy with the physical things I saw because for 60 minutes we were spot on.”

Up next for Liverpool is the European Super Cup on Wednesday, when the reigning Champions League winners will take on Europa League winners Chelsea in Istanbul, Turkey, before visiting Southampton in Premier League action on Saturday.

New boys Norwich thrashed by Liverpool

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Liverpool’s bid for the 2019-20 Premier League title is off to a flying start, as Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds dismantled newly promoted Norwich City, 4-1 at Anfield in the season-opening fixture at Anfield on Friday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Norwich’s return to the PL began as disastrously as it could have done, gifting the European champions an own goal (courtesy of Grant Hanley) inside the season’s first seven minutes. Things only got worse from there.

Mohamed Salah made it 2-0 just 12 minutes later, and the rout was officially on.

Nine minutes later, Virgil Van Dijk made it 3-0.

14 minutes later, it was 4-0 through Divock Origi.

Three things we learned
1. No change of identity for Liverpool, who will continue to suffocate opponents with defensive pressure and attack relentlessly after they win the ball.
2. Liverpool didn’t make any major first-team signings this summer, and that has them looking like a squad that bonded together long ago.
3. Norwich’s commitment to playing (trying to, at least) progressive, attacking soccer is laudable, but might just see them blitzed on a number of occasions this season.

Man of the Match
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – A goal and an assist for the 2017-18 Player of the Year, and he — along with his teammates in red — never had to leave second gear.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines for opening weekend | How VAR will work in PL ]

Origi was the architect on the opening goal, as he worked his way down the left side of the penalty area and hit a low cross into the six-yard box. Hanley went for the right-footed clearance but shanked 180 degrees in the wrong direction.

Salah made it three straight seasons of scoring a goal in Liverpool’s PL opener (his fourth straight season, including his final campaign at Roma) and he needed just 19 minutes to do. Roberto Firmino slipped the Egyptian a through ball and Salah stroked it home to double Liverpool’s lead (WATCH HERE).

[ MORE: Premier League TV, streaming schedule | Predicting the PL table ]

Van Dijk headed home from Salah’s corner kick just before the half-hour mark (WATCH HERE), the final nail in the coffin of Norwich’s hopes for a shocking comeback. Origi waltzed toward the penalty spot and headed home Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s brilliant bullet cross three minutes before halftime, for good measure.

The worst news for Liverpool came in the form of a curious injury to goalkeeper Alisson. Upon taking a goal kick, the Brazilian appeared to injure his right leg. The pain appeared to affect him prior to kicking the ball, as he quickly glanced over his shoulder as if something or someone had touched him from behind.

Norwich’s Teemu Pukki led the EFL Championship with 29 goals last season, and the Finnish forward picked up right where he left off with a goal in his PL debut, in the 64th minute. It was the lone bright spot of the day for the Canaries, but perhaps a comforting sign they’ve got a consistent goalscorer in the top flight.