Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool must get better to mount Premier League title challenge, warns Klopp

Liverpool 4-0 West Ham Utd

By Andy Hampson

Jurgen Klopp was pleased with Liverpool's convincing start to the season, but warned there will be much tougher tests ahead.

The Reds underlined their Premier League title credentials with a comprehensive 4-0 defeat of West Ham in their first game at Anfield.

Klopp's side have been tipped by many as the side most likely to challenge Manchester City for the crown, but the Liverpool manager is not getting carried away with one result.

The German said: "We know about our expectations and we realise there is a really positive atmosphere around us in the pre-season. That is good that people are positive, but this season will be unbelievably hard.

"We cannot be anything different than the challenger because we haven't won anything since I came in.

"We have to invest more, we have to fight more, we have to create more. That's the only thing we expect from ourselves. We will see where it leads to.

"West Ham will play, for sure, a good season but they are not the Uniteds, the Citys. We know that and we have to be ready week-in, week-out for all the challenges."

Liverpool eased to victory with Sadio Mane scoring twice between efforts from Mohamed Salah and substitute Daniel Sturridge.

West Ham offered little as the hosts dominated, but Klopp was reluctant to decribe the performance as perfect.

He said: "It's a very good start, for sure. It is a start - not perfect but really good.

"Nobody knows excatly how valuable or worthy a pre-season is. You see things in pre-season, but it's different. The Premier League is a proper fight and you hope, as a manager, your team is ready. You cannot test before you have the test. For that it was a clear start, it was good."

New West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini admitted his team were outplayed, although he pointed out, with some justification, that Mane's second goal could have been ruled out for offside.

The former Manchester City manager said: "It was a tough game before the game, during the game and after the game.

"We knew we played against one of the best teams in the Premier League. They reached the final of the Champions League and bought a lot of new players. We knew it was going to be difficult.

"I think Liverpool played better than us. They deserved to win. When you lose 4-0 you cannot have excuses.

"But I think a couple of balls decided the score. In the first half we had two or three clear chances to make it 1-1 and we conceded the second goal in the last second of the period.

"The after that a clear offside goal decided the game and they had a lot of confidence to play at 4-0.

"I am not complaining. Liverpool played well, but I don't think the difference was four goals."

LIVERPOOL: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Keita, Salah (Sturridge, 87 mins), Firmino (Henderson, 69 mins), Mane (Shaqiri, 82 mins). Unused subs: Karius, Clyne, Fabinho, Lallana.

West Ham: Fabianski, Fredericks, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Noble, Rice (Snodgrass, 46 mins), Antonio, Wilshere, Felipe Anderson (Hernandez, 62 mins), Arnautovic (Yarmolenko, 67 mins). Unused subs: Zabaleta, Adrian, Obiang, Diop.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).

Man of the match: James Milner

Match rating: 7/10

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