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Major takeaways from opening weekend of English Premier League

The Premier League returned with a bang as title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool enjoyed goal sprees, while VAR controversies hogged the headlines

Liverpool maintain determination

Liverpool were first to throw down a marker in the title race as the European champions crushed Norwich 4-1 in the first game of the season.

Jurgen Klopp's side, chasing a first English title since 1990, scored four times in the first half at Anfield to show their determination to end City's reign as champions.

(Photograph:AFP)

Man City start PL title defence on winning note

Manchester City started the Premier League title defence with an emphatic victory as West Ham were swept aside 5-0 at the London Stadium.

Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick for City after Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring and, showing the embarrassment of riches at Pep Guardiola's disposal, Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a late penalty.

City finished just one point ahead of Liverpool last season and anyone splitting up their dominance at the top this term will have to produce a campaign for the ages.

(Photograph:AFP)

VAR remains controversial

After causing controversy in the Champions League and other major tournaments, VAR has been introduced to the Premier League this season and the early reviews weren't acclaimed by all. 

The Video Assistant Referee system, previously used in England in the FA and League Cups, is supposed to eradicate any doubt that the right decision was taken over goals, penalties and other key moments.

But in City's 5-0 win at West Ham and Wolves' 0-0 draw at Leicester, managers and players raised doubts about VAR's ability to make the correct call.

(Photograph:AFP)

New season, new Man Utd

Manchester United badly needed a fast start to the new campaign to dispell a run of six games without a win to end last season and the pessimism over the arrival of just three new signings in the transfer window.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men duly delivered with a 4-0 victory over Chelsea with all three debutants, Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James, making an instant impact.

(Photograph:AFP)

Lampard gets 'reality check'

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard's Premier League debut as manager of the club ended in a 4-0 defeat at Manchester United and he accepted his team had received a 'reality check'.

Lampard took over from Italian Maurizio Sarri in July, returning to the west London club where the midfielder won three league titles and a host of other trophies in his 13 years.

"We are missing internationals and big players but I don’t want that excuse," said Lampard.

"The team we put out today was clearly competing in the game for long periods but we made four mistakes and they were clinical in the way they put them away. There's a reality check for us all," he said.

(With inputs from AFP)

(Photograph:AFP)