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.
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.”
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.