Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp declared that "football is back" after his side opened their Premier League campaign with a 3-0 win over Norwich City at a packed Carrow Road on Saturday.
Klopp's side perhaps suffered more than most during the Covid-19 restrictions which meant their 2019-20 title season, their first since 1990, was concluded in empty stadiums.
While the pandemic is still ongoing, a lifting of restrictions in Britain mean the season has kicked off with traditional atmospheres inside stadiums.
Fans of promoted Norwich were in good voice and although Liverpool rather ruined the party, Klopp said it was a day for all fans to celebrate a return to normality.
"It's great to see the fans back and I hope that Norwich celebrated as well because they had an exceptional season," Klopp said. "The occasion was great. It was exactly what we expected and what we'd missed for so long.
"I applauded the Norwich fans as well because it's so nice to have fans back, wherever they come from. I could see in the eyes of the players they had to get used to it again. Everybody has to get used to the atmosphere.
"It's cool. Football is back."
Goals by Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah sealed the points and it was perhaps a good omen for Liverpool that they also beat Norwich on the opening day in 2019.
Klopp's mood was made even more cheery by the sight of key defender Virgil van Dijk coming through the game unscathed after being out injured for nine months.
"After that long time being out and the pre-season he had, being back on the pitch feels different, you could see all his class," Klopp said.
"It was hard for him to go for 90 minutes. we'll see if he has enough time to recover."
For Norwich it was an 11th successive Premier League defeat after they lost their last 10 in 2020.
But manager Daniel Farke said it had been a tough pre-season with several players unavailable.
"Several missed lots of time. We had many players out. The energy was there and we were competitive for 65 minutes," he said. "The second goal made it tricky. But I was pleased we didn't concede more after the three goals."
Farke also praised the fans.
"It is our living room (Carrow Road) and we have a special bond and unity with our supporters. I think they appreciate what we have done. It was great to get this welcome and humbling," the German said.
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