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One winner, one loser for Liverpool as they trounced West Ham 4-0

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Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool secured an impressive 4-0 opening day win over West Ham for their record equaling biggest ever win for a first league game in the Premier League era and it was an impressive day for many men.

Some in particular stood out, whilst those not involved may be fearing for how they can break into this team. So early on in the season, there is plenty at stake for many players in the squad.

Here are the key men affected by Sunday’s display:

Winner: James Milner

The dominant force in Liverpool’s midfield, Milner bossed every aspect of the game from his position. Creating more chances, covering more ground and playing more passes than anyone else, he was at the heart of almost everything that Liverpool created and was fundamental to their victory.

With Fabinho and Naby Keita having arrived this summer, it was a strong performance to prove a point that he warrants a regular place in the side and will not have done the likes of Fabinho or Jordan Henderson any favours as they look to work their way back into the team.

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Loser: Dejan Lovren

Returning from World Cup duty injured could have some big consequences for the Croatian, particularly as Joe Gomez stepped up and filled his shoes comfortably in his absence. The youngster looked secure in his role alongside Virgil Van Dijk, making more blocks and clearances than any other player.

“He is not fit. Let me say it like this, last year he already had a few problems with that but he could obviously play – and played really good. Now in the World Cup, [playing] three times [for] 120 minutes it got a bit worse, but I am pretty sure it will settle in the next one, two or three weeks. In the end, it is serious but not that serious, so it’s not that we need to be afraid that it will take him until whenever. In the moment he is not available, that’s true.”

Jurgen Klopp provided an injury update post-match.

With a prolonged spell on the sidelines potentially ahead of the defender, Lovren may fear for his future role. Having ended the season as undisputed first choice, that may change if Gomez can cement himself in the team.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

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Liverpool

Two years after Jurgen Klopp phonecall Liverpool are not missing out on Ben Brereton

Liverpool wanted the young striker, but he is now struggling for football at Nottingham Forest.

Mathew Nash

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When Ben Brereton burst onto the scene at Nottingham Forest it was widely welcomed by Reds fans. The talented teenager had an excellent 2016-17 with Forest and, despite his struggles in front of goal last term, still had another productive season.

It led to plenty of reports of Premier League interest, including from Liverpool.

As reported by The Sun, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was reportedly looking into the signing of Brereton back in the winter of 2017.

The report claimed that after impressing Klopp in an FA Youth Cup game against Liverpool in 2016 the German called Forest academy chief Gary Brazil to ‘personally enquire’ about his services.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Liverpool were again linked with him that summer before the talented youngster signed a new contract at the City Ground.

But, fast forward 18 months and Liverpool fans will probably feel they are not missing out.

The striker can no longer find his way into the Forest matchday squad, after the arrivals of Lewis Grabban and Hilal El-Arbi Soudani this summer.

It has even led to Blackburn Rovers trying to sign him on the final day of the transfer window.

Of course, he is still young and has a bright future in the game. But Liverpool will surely feel he is perhaps not at the level needed to make it at Anfield after his recent struggles.

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Liverpool

Three reasons Joe Gomez can cement a regular starting-role at Liverpool

The Englishman impressed in the Reds’ opening fixture against West Ham.

Liam Thomas

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Joe Gomez
Photo: Getty Images

Multiple injuries to Liverpool‘s back line meant that 21-year-old Joe Gomez has started the season as Liverpool’s centre-back alongside the world’s most expensive defender Virgil Van Dijk.

It has long been argued that the centre-back position is Gomez’ best and, on the opening day of the season against West Ham, Jurgen Klopp gave the nod to the youngster to start in his favoured role.

There is no better time than the present for Gomez to seize the opportunity that has come his way, showcase his talents and lay down the foundations to a potential lengthy partnership at the heart of Liverpool’s defence with Van Dijk.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

1. Seize the opportunity

Gomez has the perfect opportunity in front of him to cement his name into Jurgen Klopp’s plans, and he needs to seize this with some solid performances and clean sheets to match.

You only have to look back as far as last season to see a youngster in the Liverpool ranks take hold of an opportunity.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was given a chance to start in Klopp’s first XI after Nathaniel Clyne was injured during preseason, and remains Liverpool’s first choice right-back this campaign, despite Clyne’s return.

21-year-old Gomez now finds himself in the same position, with the Reds other centre back choices injured or unavailable.

2. Gomez’ performance against West Ham

Gomez and the Liverpool back line had a relatively quiet afternoon against West Ham. However, the youngster performed well when called upon and showed glimpses of a potentially perfect partnership with Virgil Van Dijk.

An attribute Gomez displayed during the game was his ability to play it out from the back – a trait that is extremely useful in Jurgen Klopp’s possession-based setup.

The centre-back had a 92% pass accuracy from the game.

This is something Liverpool’s other centre-back options have struggled to maintain during their time in the first XI, especially Dejan Lovren.

3. Gomez’ time at full-back gives him the edge

Gomez’ time playing full-back for the Reds last season gives him an edge over his counterparts and allows Jurgen Klopp’s defence to have a bit of versatility.

Lovren seems to struggle when he has to be brought out wide, and Gomez looks a lot more comfortable than the Croatian when he has to go into either channel of the pitch.

The 21-year-old also showed glimpses of his ability to get forward during Liverpool’s opening fixture, a trait he has picked up during his time at full-back and an extra weapon for Klopp to consider in his attacking arsenal.

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Liverpool

Liverpool loan watch: Wilson, Ejaria and Kent start, youngster thrives on debut

The Merseyside clubs loanees enjoyed a terrific week away from Anfield.

Liam Thomas

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Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool‘s first team thrived in their opening Premier League fixture of the 2018/19 season, thrashing West Ham 4-0 in a one-sided demolition job at Anfield.

The Reds loanees also enjoyed game time away from Jurgen Klopp’s first team, here is how they got on this weekend.

Herbie Kane – Doncaster Rovers

The academy midfielder made his professional debut this past weekend in League One and caught the eye in a 3-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers.

Kane was a stand out performer during the game and played with a maturity and composure far beyond his years.

The 19-year-old is set to stay with Rovers until January.

Harry Wilson – Derby County

It was another quiet afternoon for Wilson, who despite gaining his second consecutive start for Frank Lampard’s side, saw his team thrashed 4-1 by Leeds United.

Wilson still seems to be finding his feet at the club and will no doubt be given a chance to do so by gaining a run of games under his belt.

Ben Woodburn – Sheffield United

Woodburn is still waiting for his first start with the Sheffield club. However, the 19-year-old made two appearances from the subs bench during the week.

It’s likely Woodburn will start to see more action as the season gets into its full swing, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp eager for the youngster to learn his trade by getting sufficient game time.

Ryan Kent and Ovie Ejaria – Rangers

The duo enjoyed a terrific week in Scotland under former Liverpool great Steven Gerrard, winning the first leg of their Europa League tie against Maribor 3-1, followed by an impressive 2-0 win over St Mirren in the league on Sunday.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Taiwo Awoniyi – Gent

Awoniyi had the most impressive debut from the youngsters away from Anfield, helping his side to a secure a 1-0 away win at over Polish side Jaggiellonia in the Europa League.

The 20-year-old followed up his Europa League heroics by leading the line for Gent in their last league fixture, which saw his side win 4-1 over Waasland-Beveren.

Danny Ings – Southampton

Ings entered the action against Burnley early on in the second half and showed glimpses of what he may be able to achieve at his boyhood club this season.

Ings gave Southampton a new lease of life and brought with him an instant threat to the opposition’s goal.

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