Football

Positive signs for Liverpool after opening day win

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Sturridge's first-half strike was enough for Liverpool (©GettyImages)
Sturridge's first-half strike was enough for Liverpool (©GettyImages).

Liverpool are looking like a team that could challenge for the top four this season after a commanding performance in the opening day win against Stoke.

With the usual questions heading into a new season Liverpool's pre-season form carried into the start of the new Premier League season as they showed good attacking prowess and deserved more than the solitary goal that was enough to overcome the Potters.

New signing Iago Aspas looked particularly promising as did Brazilian Phillipe Coutinho and goalscorer Daniel Sturridge. The three players linked up very well as the busy Jordan Henderson did much of the attacking from midfield. 

Steven Gerrard's delivery and long-range passing was as spot-on as ever, only once or twice did Liverpool not look like a threat from set pieces and his clever through balls creating space for Coutinho and Sturridge to attack on goal creates all the right noises Liverpool fans were wanting to hear.

While Stoke offered little going forward relying on long balls up to Peter Crouch in the first half seeing the keenness of Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique to get forward and provide support for the front three was also a good sign.

Johnson in particular looking to cross and create chances as well as providing his usual shooting threat cutting back inside the box onto his left foot.

All this for a team that can be buoyed at the fact the team is still producing 20+ chances without it's biggest threat Luis Suarez. While the Uruguayan continues to serve his ban, and should he have the motivation to do so, he too can bring his incredible close control skills and goalscoring to the Liverpool attack.

Jamie Carragher's replacement Kolo Toure also looked good defensively for Liverpool providing the strong foundation alongside Daniel Agger to allow Johnson and Enrique to get forward and also providing an extra threat at set pieces, a threat that has been lacking in recent years.

Finally new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet recovered from his early nerves to become the hero of the day producing a great double-save very late on from Jon Walters' penalty and Kenwyne Jones' follow-up.

While Mignolet may not have the extravagant style of Pepe Reina he certainly does look like a very solid keeper that could flourish at Anfield.

Bringing all that together what we have then is a very good baseline for what could be Liverpool's most important season in years, the key now will be consistency and maybe two more signings, one defender and another attacking midfielder.

If that can happen a decent win against a willing Stoke side will be the start of a push back to the Champions League.

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Topics:
Simon Mignolet
Premier League
Steven Gerrard
Football
Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool
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