The Roar
The Roar

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It wasn't pretty, but Grealish off the mark, watch Kop's emotional YNWA as Reds cruise

(Photo by Getty Images)
22nd August, 2021
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It wasn’t a classic but Jack Grealish scored his first Manchester City goal as the champions thumped Norwich City 5-0 for their first win of the season, while title rivals Liverpool were impressive for a second straight win on their emotional return to Anfield.

Liverpool enjoyed returning to a packed home ground with their easy 2-0 win over Burnley while Brighton was the only other team with two from two so far, ahead of Monday’s games, with a 2-0 home win over Watford to move onto six points.

Man City had fallen to a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham in their opening game but had no trouble in seeing off the newly-promoted Canaries at the Etihad Stadium with British record signing Grealish scoring in an unconventional manner, the ball bouncing off his knee into the net 22 minutes into his home debut.

His goal had come after keeper Tim Krul’s unfortunate own goal had given the hosts an early lead.

Aymeric Laporte then added to the scoring in the second half and substitutes Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez piled the misery on Norwich, who slipped to a second successive defeat on their return to the top tier.

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Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane were on target for Liverpool as Anfield’s first full house in 17 months left manager Jurgen Klopp saying that the return of such a great atmosphere made him feel like a dream had come true. The Reds fans had been deprived the chance to watch their team play as champions last seasn because of COVID.

“Everybody was really looking forward to this football festival, to this game, and I think nobody leaves this place today with any kind of disappointment because I think all of our dreams were fulfilled today, atmosphere-wise,” said Klopp.

“That was, for sure, the best 12.30pm atmosphere we had. It was pretty special, really special. How the game was as well, pretty special, because Burnley are Burnley – and Burnley cause you problems.”

Harvey Elliot was handed his first Premier League start for Liverpool and was excellent, playing on the full 90 minutes on the right hand side of the midfield three, where he linked up with Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The youngster registered the third most touches (77) in the Liverpool team, as well as the fourth most passes (59), losing possession only twice.

“Harvey was part of this performance,” said Klopp.

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“Everybody wants to talk to me about Harvey and I understand absolutely – when an 18-year-old boy plays such a mature game I can understand why everyone was asking, but I was not surprised he played like this.

“That is exactly how he has trained now for six or seven weeks since we are back, since he is back from loan. Yes, it was good.”

In the late game at Brighton, first-half goals from Shane Duffy and Neal Maupay saw off newly-promoted Watford.

Elsewhere, Leeds United winger Raphinha blasted in a second-half equaliser as the battling Yorkshire side came back twice to secure a 2-2 draw with Everton.

Raphinha, who was called up to the Brazilian squad for the first time last week, lashed one past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the 72nd minute after Everton winger Demarai Gray thought he had sealed a second straight win for the visitors.

Everton had gone up 1-0 against the run of play through Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 30th-minute penalty, following a VAR check after the on-field official did not spot Leeds skipper Liam Cooper’s tug on the striker’s shirt.

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The home fans, though, found their voice when Mateusz Klich ran on to Patrick Bamford’s fine pass to equalise before the break.

At Villa Park, Aston Villa’s new signing Danny Ings scored with a stunning bicycle kick in first-half stoppage time to help them beat Newcastle 2-0, with Anwar El Ghazi also converting a second-half penalty.

Crystal Palace were held to a goalless home draw by promoted Brentford in a game short on quality, leaving Patrick Vieira’s Palace still waiting for a goal under their new manager.

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