Jurgen Klopp stood with his arms above his head clapping his Liverpool players shortly after the half-time break at Wembley. His team were only a goal up at the time, but there was a sense the manager was already aware they were in the process of laying down a marker.
A fifth successive Premier League victory was duly completed, as Roberto Firmino added a second to Georginio Wijnaldum’s first-half opener, and Liverpool had offered proof that, this season, they can be the real deal.
These are early days, of course, but this was a striking victory in a stadium in which Liverpool were beaten 4-1 last season. That was the worst defeat of their four away from home against their rivals – Spurs, Manchester City, United and Chelsea.
This season’s title race could effectively be decided by which team comes out best of the head-to-head battles between the big six and Klopp’s team are making the early running.
Such was their superiority, Liverpool could and should have won by three or four and there was a late wobble when substitute Erik Lamela netted in stoppage time. But it will be a source of comfort to Klopp that his players can still become even better, even more clinical.
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