Norwich City boss Daniel Farke believes Liverpool reaped the benefit of an uninterrupted pre-season as they opened their Premier League campaign in impressive fashion.
Diogo Jota, substitute Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored as the Reds eased to a 3-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday evening.
The home side enjoyed plenty of possession and tested the visitors, particularly during a keenly-contested first half.
But having seen the pandemic affect his team’s preparations for the season, Farke pointed to a clear advantage for the visitors.
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“It’s always a bit disappointing when you lose your first game,” said the Norwich boss. “But I have to take many positives.
“I know it sounds ridiculous, but after this game I’m even more confident than I was before.
“We had 14 shots against a world class side, so there were many positives.
“We played against one of the best sides in the world with world class players and a world class coach.
“Liverpool had key players available in pre-season, such as Salah, Mane, Matip and Van Dijk, whereas it was for us really tricky in the last few weeks.
“We had many players on the pitch and who came off the bench that didn’t have a proper pre-season.”
Farke added: “For 65 minutes our energy and power were there and we were quite competitive.
“The first goal we conceded was a bit unlucky as we were distracted because everyone was claiming for a foul on Pukki, I don’t think Salah meant to assist like he did and Jota meant to strike like he did.
“That was the only difference in the first 65 minutes but once Liverpool scored their second it was difficult.
“When Salah, Firmino and Mane are in the mood it could be a long night, but we kept going and it looked like we were the more likely to score at the end. I’m still struggling to understand how we didn’t score and we deserved a goal.
“But it was a deserved win for Liverpool as they were more effective in front of goal.”