Manchester City landed the first major blow of the season by beating Liverpool 3-1.
The Reds were City’s closest rivals for the Premier League last season, but they could not cope with their attacking style tonight, as two goals from Steven Jovetic and one from Sergio Aguero provided Manuel Pellegrini’s men with the victory.
It was a commanding performance from City’s side which will leave more questions than answers for Brendan Rodgers, but here are five things that Reds fans will have learnt from the fixture.
Liverpool need Balotelli
The scoreline suggests that there was a considerable margin between the two sides but, in-truth, it was just City’s clinical finishing which provided them with victory.
Liverpool carved out a few openings, but could not convert them and Balotelli will need to hit top form instantly to help with this problem.
Defensively Liverpool must improve
Despite boasting a defence with big-money summer signings Alberto Moreno and Dejan Lovren in it, the Reds still looked shaky at the back.
It was their biggest downfall last season and this must be improved if they want to retain their top four status.
Sturridge and Sterling remain key
Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling will remain Liverpool’s key men – even with Balotelli’s arrival.
The English duo are a major threat, with their pace and power eye-catching despite the defeat.
They may no longer be the biggest names at the club, but they remain their most pivotal players.
Rickie Lambert can still have an impact
There have been fears over Rickie Lambert’s signing for Liverpool, but he has already proven that he can make an impact.
He came off the substitutes’ bench when the Reds got their equaliser against Southampton in their opening game and changed the game again tonight.
He may not be the most aesthetically pleasing of strikers, but he does have a big presence and there are signs that he could be a good impact sub for Liverpool in the future.
Liverpool aren’t too far away
There may have been concerns that Liverpool would struggle without Luis Suarez, but the signs are that they can cope.
Of course, any side would find it hard to adapt to losing a player of Suarez’s quality, but the Reds are still not far off City and on another night they could have won this match.
City just about deserved the victory tonight, but with a few tweaks Liverpool could rival them again this season.