TDespite his successful debut in the Premier League with two goals for Manchester City, Erling Haaland was not quite satisfied after the 2-0 (1-0) win at West Ham United. “It was good, a good start,” said the former Dortmund player on Sky Sports. However, Haaland admitted that he could have scored even more goals, for example after a cross pass from Ilkay Gündogan. “Yes, I should have been there. It’s about the interaction that we practice every day in training to get better and that will come.”
The Norwegian expressed his delight that his father Alf-Inge, who played for Man City from 2000 to 2003, was at the stadium. “It’s nice that he was able to see both goals, because that was a big moment for me as a debutant in this competition,” said the 22-year-old. Haaland shot Manchester in the 36th (penalty) and 65th minute to the away win – absolutely no reason for the striker to rest. “It’s been almost 30 minutes since I scored the last goal,” he joked, “so I have to keep going.”
After West Ham’s goalkeeper Alphonse Areola put the rushing Haaland in the penalty area, the new signing from Borussia Dortmund converted the penalty kick to make it 1-0. The Norwegian confidently pushed a fantastic preparatory work by the Belgian national player Kevin De Bruyne into the goal for the preliminary decision. There had previously been doubts as to whether the physically massive Haaland would match Manchester City’s style of play. Now you can at least say: It could fit quite well.
The guests, who also included German international Gündogan in the starting line-up, improved compared to the 3-1 defeat against Liverpool in the final of the English Supercup (Community Shield). With the opening success at West Ham, the team from Manchester underlined their ambitions for the third championship title in a row.
It was worse for city rivals Manchester United: The English record champions botched the start of the season under the new team manager Erik ten Hag with his star Cristiano Ronaldo who was willing to change as a joker. Former Bundesliga professional Pascal Groß spoiled the game with two goals (30th/39th) in the 1-2 (0-2) against Brighton & Hove Albion. The hosts shortened the lead at Old Trafford with an own goal from Alexis Mac Allister (68′), but the equalizer was no longer successful.
Manchester’s new signing Christian Eriksen initially tried his hand at playing the ‘false nine’ without, however, having much of an impact. Ronaldo moved up to the top after being substituted on. Ronaldo caused a stir with his escape from the stadium in the friendly against Rayo Vallecano. Ten Hag found the behavior of the 37-year-old, who had previously officially missed the preparatory tour to Thailand and Australia for personal reasons, “unacceptable”. Ralf Rangnick’s successor initially put the Portuguese on the bench at the start of the league. Only in the 53rd minute did he send him onto the field.
Liverpool FC meanwhile started the new Premier League season with a damper. Jürgen Klopp could only digest the first blow to the neck with plenty of frustration and self-criticism. “It wasn’t us today. I’m happy about the penalty we got,” said the Liverpool team manager after the failed start at newly promoted Fulham FC (2-2) – in which his team “didn’t deserve more than one point”.
“The best thing about the game was the result,” said Klopp, annoyed – after two goals the Reds took a point from the venerable Craven Cottage. But last season’s many draws cost the Reds the Premier League title. “We didn’t play like we should – and that frustrates me so much,” said Klopp.
“No mane, no party,” wrote disappointed LFC fans on social networks – even if new signing Darwin Nunez gives hope for an equal replacement for the Senegalese who migrated to FC Bayern. With a goal and an assist, the Uruguayan saved the runners-up from being embarrassed by the cheeky promoted team. “If you don’t show what you can do, you will be punished immediately in the Premier League,” said captain Jordan Henderson, who still had a chance of scoring the winning goal in added time (90+4), but only hit the crossbar.
A week after the Supercup triumph against permanent rival and champions Manchester City, the enthusiasm in Liverpool is already gone again, the quick slip hurts. Eight draws were one too many last Premier League season – and City won the title by a point. His team could have won the game against Fulham, said Klopp, but “that would have been too much today”. “It just didn’t feel good.” To make matters worse, Thiago also had to be replaced.
Nevertheless, Klopp still tried to get the best out of his team’s performance. “If we’d won today and didn’t learn anything, that’s much worse than a draw, from which we draw the right conclusions,” emphasized Klopp, who paid tribute to the strong climber: “We lost two points today. But so is Fulham.”