Virgil van Dijk believes goalkeeper Adrian's extensive Premier League experience will help him easily adjust to replacing the injured Alisson at Liverpool.

The Reds are awaiting the results of a scan after their first-choice keeper injured his calf in Friday's season-opening victory over Norwich City.

Jurgen Klopp admitted the problem "does not look too good" and ruled the Brazil international out of the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea in Istanbul on Wednesday.

A prolonged absence would heighten the pressure on deputy Adrian, who left West Ham on a free at the end of last season after making 150 appearances in all competitions.

The 32-year-old only joined Liverpool four days before his debut but defender Van Dijk says his new team-mate is up to the challenge.

"I think he's at that kind of age, that stage of his life and career that he can come in and slot in to the team pretty easy," Van Dijk told reporters.

"He's been through so many things in the Premier League he can just slot in pretty easy."

Liverpool could be forced to tinker with their playing style if Adrian is thrust into the starting XI for an extended period.

Alisson started every Premier League match last season and generates attacking moves with his ability to pass out from the back.

"He's very important for us, but I have no idea what the actual damage is," Van Dijk said.

"We'll see over the next days what the outcome is going to be. We have to deal with it and we're going to deal with it."

Rafael Benitez moved to China "for money" despite Newcastle United going above and beyond to retain his services, according to the club's managing director.

Lee Charnley, who has held his position since April 2014, described Benitez's motivations as "clear" after the Spaniard left St James' Park following the expiry of his contract at the end of June.

The popular former Liverpool boss took charge at Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang the day after claiming "those at the top" did not share his vision for Newcastle.

Magpies owner Mike Ashley accused Benitez of making unrealistic wage demands and went on to name ex-Sunderland manager Steve Bruce as his replacement, an appointment met with a degree of dissatisfaction on Tyneside.

"We understand and expected the disappointment that Rafa's departure caused," Charnley wrote in Newcastle's matchday programme ahead of Sunday's game against Arsenal.

"We strongly believe we went beyond what could reasonably be asked in order to keep him. But let's be clear, he moved to China for money.

"The offer he received was too tempting. We understand that and there is nothing wrong with that. It was not something we could compete against. We wish him well for the future and thank him for all he achieved."

Making another apparent dig at Benitez, Charnley added: "What we have now in Steve Bruce is someone who genuinely cares."

Benitez, who made clear his frustration with what he perceived to be a lack of ambition at the club, used his official website to offer a message of support to Newcastle on Sunday, writing: "At the start of the Premier League season, I would like to wish Steve Bruce, all the players and the fans good luck."

Arsenal's visit in the Premier League marks Bruce's first competitive match in charge of Newcastle. The 58-year-old left his post at Sheffield Wednesday to take up the position.

Unai Emery left Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe out of Arsenal's starting line-up for the Gunners' Premier League season opener against Newcastle United, while deadline-day signing David Luiz also had to settle for a place on the substitutes' bench.

Lacazette suffered an ankle injury during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Lyon in a pre-season friendly on July 28 and head coach Emery has opted not to rush him back into action at St. James' Park.

Pepe, who joined from Lille in a deal that could reportedly be worth £72million, did not feature in any of Arsenal's pre-season friendlies and Emery said before the game that the Ivory Coast international needs "more minutes" before he can play.

Emery said defender David Luiz, who signed just before the transfer window closed to complete the club's close-season acquisitions, "did a pre-season but not with us", as he explained the decision to start with the Brazilian on the bench.

Winger Reiss Nelson was named in Emery's XI along with fellow academy product Joe Willock, giving the Gunners two English teenagers in their starting line-up for a Premier League match for the first time since February 1998, when Paolo Vernazza and Matthew Upson faced Crystal Palace.

Two men have been charged with a public order offence in connection with an incident outside the home of Arsenal's Mesut Ozil.

Ozil and team-mate Sead Kolasinac had previously been the victims of an attempted carjacking in July, causing them to miss two of Arsenal's pre-season friendlies.

Arsenal announced on Friday the pair would be left out for the Gunners' Premier League season opener at Newcastle United on Sunday following "further security incidents which are being investigated by the police".

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed two men were arrested and charged on Thursday. The two men were reportedly involved in an altercation with security staff outside Ozil's home.

A Met statement read: "Two men have been charged under Section 4a of the Public Order Act following an incident in Camden on Thursday, August 8.

"Ferhat Ercan, 27, of Highgate, and Salaman Ekinci, of Tottenham, were charged on August 9 following the incident and are due to appear at Highbury Corner magistrates' court on September 6."

Barcelona are trying to find a way to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou – without paying a cent.

With Real Madrid reportedly emerging as frontrunners to sign the star forward, Paris Saint-Germain confirmed on Saturday they were in "advanced" talks regarding a deal for the Brazilian.

It remains to be seen as to which of the LaLiga giants Neymar ends up at, but Barcelona are struggling to find a deal, looking to complete one in which they pay with players only.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA DON'T WANT TO PAY EVEN €1 FOR NEYMAR

Barcelona are looking to secure a deal for Neymar that would see them give up only players, according to Marca and Le Parisien.

The French daily reports that kind of deal is "unimaginable" for PSG, who are looking for at least €200million for Neymar – which would see them make a €22m loss.

Meanwhile, AS say PSG and Real Madrid have opened talks regarding a move for Neymar, including the option of a one-year loan deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Mauro Icardi no longer wanted at Inter, a possible switch to Napoli has been mooted. Corriere dello Sport say Icardi is willing to make the move to Napoli, who are looking to sign a forward. Icardi has also been linked to Juventus.

- That comes as Napoli seemingly stop their pursuit of Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez. The Serie A club have given up on signing James and will instead focus on PSV forward Hirving Lozano, according to AS.

- David de Gea looked certain to extend his contract at Manchester United just last month. However, the Mirror reports the Premier League club are yet to reach an agreement with the goalkeeper, casting fresh doubt over the Spain international's future at Old Trafford.

- With previous target Leroy Sane suffering a serious knee injury, Bayern Munich are turning their attentions elsewhere as they still look to sign replacements for departed stars Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. The Bundesliga champions have reached an agreement with Inter to sign Ivan Perisic, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Radamel Falcao is nearing a Monaco exit. The forward is set to sign a three-year deal worth €6m per season with Galatasaray, according to AS. However, the Ligue 1 club want to sign a replacement before letting Falcao leave, and are expecting to land Wissam Ben Yedder from Sevilla.

- Dani Olmo is expected to make a move from Dinamo Zagreb to one of Europe's biggest clubs during this transfer window. Sportske Novosti report Bayern Munich and Everton offered €28m for the Spain youth international and Manchester United put in a bid of €25m to land Olmo. However, Dinamo Zagreb are hoping Olmo can help them reach the Champions League group stage before selling the 21-year-old.

Harry Maguire effectively became Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's number one transfer target after Manchester United faced Leicester City in February.

United boss Solskjaer says the England centre-back showed he could become the man around whom to build a revamped defence after the Red Devils' 1-0 Premier League win at the King Power Stadium last season.

Maguire, who joined for a reported £80million fee on August 5, is in line for his United debut against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Solskjaer says the 26-year-old has already had an impact on the dressing room and expects him to give his side "another dimension" - although he stopped short of comparing the player to Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk.

"I'm delighted we have got Harry in because he's going to be great for this club," Solskjaer said.

"He was always my number one target. I more or less made my mind up when we played Leicester that if it was possible to get him, we should at least try. He is so composed on the ball and he gives the team another dimension.

"He has already shown what a presence he will be and what an impact he will have in the squad. Harry is a leader, an established international, a goal threat and a very, very good defender.   

"I don't want to compare us to Liverpool or Harry to Van Dijk, but I know Harry is going to have a massive impact on us, yes."

Maguire was one of three United transfers in the close season, with Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka also moving to Old Trafford.

The arrival of Maguire and two 21-year-olds, coupled with United's use of youngsters including Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes in pre-season, highlights Solskjaer's commitment to constructing a side based on youth.

"You can call it a gamble. I am just staying true to what I believe in," he said. "I believe in this way of managing a football club.

"I am paid to manage for the club and it is not just about me getting results now to get my reputation. It is about the club going forward in the right direction.

"If we don't make these decisions now, they will have to be done in 12 months or 18 months or 24 months because at some point these kids will have to be a part of Man United. That has always been the case.

"That is the upside and downside of who you want to keep. For us, to give our kids the best chance, we decided this is the right way."

Mauricio Pochettino insisted he has "no issue" with Jan Vertonghen after leaving the defender out of his squad for Tottenham's 3-1 Premier League opening-day win over Aston Villa.

Belgium international Vertonghen started 22 of Tottenham's league games last season but was overlooked against promoted Villa, with Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld getting the nod ahead of him and Serge Aurier on the bench.

After John McGinn's early opener gave Villa a lead they held until the 73rd minute, an equaliser from Tanguy Ndombele and a double from Harry Kane helped Spurs to victory.

Pochettino said Vertonghen's omission was purely tactical, telling Sky Sports: "With all the players fit, in the future we're going to struggle to find the starting 11. We have more than 25 that are knocking on the door of the first team.

"We have plenty of very good players in all the positions. We cannot play with 13 or 14. It's always the judgement of the manager and coaching staff. If we lose, my decisions were so bad; if we win, we keep going.

"I'm going to play the players who I believe deserve to play. There's not any issue.

"Jan for sure, like any other player who didn't play today, is going to have to work hard for the opportunity to play, and show me that I was wrong when they didn't play."

The introduction of Christian Eriksen as a second-half substitute seemed to lift Spurs nine minutes before Ndombele scored with a superb long-range strike on his debut.

Pochettino admitted his first-half game plan did not work, saying: "We were a little bit confused but it's always my fault because I'm the manager.

"Our positional game ... it didn't work in the first half, to be honest. We started to make rash decisions and found positions that didn't help us. That was my fault.

"Second half we fixed that problem. We helped the team to move the ball better.

"Adding Christian fresh helped the team to achieve the victory, but we are talking about a top-quality player."

Opposite number Dean Smith handed debuts to four of his 12 summer signings, with Tom Heaton, Bjorn Engels, Trezeguet and Wesley all featuring for the first time in competitive action for Villa.

Smith dismissed the suggestion his new signings might have struggled to gel, saying: "It's not that hard, actually.

"I've worked with five of the players before so the integration has been quite seamless. They've all adapted and now we've learned the standard of what we need. Anybody who comes here is going to find it tough against the team Mauricio has got. It's a great learning curve."

Looking ahead to his side's clash with Everton at Villa Park, Smith added: "We always looked and thought Villa Park would be massive for us this season.

"We'll go and put in performances for the fans at Villa Park and I hope we can be a threat."

Harry Kane described Christian Eriksen's impact off the bench as "perfect" as he helped Tottenham come from a goal down to beat Aston Villa on Saturday.

Spurs were trailing 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when Eriksen, whose future remains uncertain, was brought on as a substitute.

The Denmark international impressed in attack and it was his cross that eventually led to debutant Tanguy Ndombele firing in a debut goal to level the scores.

Captain Kane struck twice in the closing stages to secure a 3-1 victory and ensure a positive start to the season for last term's Champions League finalists.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Kane praised the way Eriksen, who has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid, controlled Spurs' attacking tempo.

"We know what Christian's like," he said. "I've been playing with him for five, six years now. 

"His quality on the ball, assists and goals... He came on and dictated the pace and for me it's perfect.

"We started the second half with a high tempo, and when Tanguy got his goal it was full throttle until the end. We stayed in the game, created a few chances and thankfully a few came to me and I put them away."

Spurs had been trailing through John McGinn's well-taken first-half goal, although Villa ultimately could not keep up their impressive defensive effort as fatigue seemed to take its toll.

"We'd have swapped it for a different result," said McGinn. "We gave a good account of ourselves, but we need to be a bit braver going forward and stop the mistakes. A team like Tottenham punishes you."

Speaking of his goal, the former Hibs man admitted: "It's surreal. It's been quite a nice journey for me - a few years ago I was playing in the Scottish Championship, so to score at a stadium like this for my first Premier League goal was obviously an incredible moment for me.

"We had confidence, it's just a bit of an eye-opener that the jump up to the Premier League is massive. You can't let Harry Kane go free in the box. The whole team is to blame; it's not just individual mistakes."

For Kane and Spurs, the focus now is on building a run of results at the start of the season, so they can challenge for a first trophy since the 2008 EFL Cup.

"It's the first game but it's always nice to win, at home as well," he said. "We know we have the quality, we have been in big games. It's down to us players to perform on the pitch."

Tottenham fans have a new hero in Tanguy Ndombele.

The France midfielder marked his Premier League debut with a goal to help Mauricio Pochettino's side defeat Aston Villa on Saturday.

With Spurs struggling to break down Villa after going behind to John McGinn's goal, Ndombele levelled matters with an expertly taken strike from 20 yards out that left the excellent Tom Heaton with little chance.

The goal proved to be the catalyst for Spurs, who went on to win 3-1 thanks to two late finishes from captain Harry Kane.

Seventeen players have now scored a debut goal in the Premier League for Spurs, stretching back to Steve Sedgley in 1992, but only five have done so on the first day of the season.

The question is, will Ndombele follow a similar career path in north London?

Jurgen Klinsmann: Sheffield Wednesday 3-4 Tottenham, 20/08/1994

Klinsmann swan-dived his way into the hearts of Spurs fans with a goal in this opening-day thriller 25 years ago.

The visitors had surrendered a 2-0 lead at Hillsborough, but Nick Barmby put them back ahead and Klinsmann made sure of the win with an emphatic far-post header.

The Germany star had a fine season in England, but he left for Bayern Munich less than a year after this famous moment.

 

Sebastien Bassong: Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool, 16/08/2009

Spurs ended the previous season with a 3-1 loss at Anfield but earned some measure of revenge thanks to Bassong.

Steven Gerrard's penalty cancelled out Benoit Assou-Ekotto's opener, only for Bassong to head Luka Modric's delivery into the net and send White Hart Lane into raptures.

The centre-back did not have too many moments to celebrate in a Spurs shirt for the next three years, eventually heading to Norwich City, where he had a more positive time of things.

 

Roberto Soldado: Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham, 18/08/2013

Spurs owed their opening-day win and London derby bragging rights to Soldado, who scored the only goal here at Selhurst Park.

The striker, the man tasked with filling the void left by Gareth Bale's €100million move to Real Madrid, netted from the penalty spot to mark his debut in style.

The goals did not exactly flow for Soldado after that. Just six more followed in 52 Premier League appearances before he left for Villarreal in 2015.

 

Eric Dier: West Ham 0-1 Tottenham, 16/08/2014

Debut goals do not get much better for anyone in a Tottenham shirt.

With the game goalless in the third minute of injury time, and with Spurs having had 10 men since Kyle Naughton's 29th-minute red card, Dier ran on to Harry Kane's pass, moved beyond Adrian and slotted home.

It was a fine finish from a young defender signed for a lowly reported fee of £4m from Sporting CP, who has gone on to enjoy a positive Spurs career - even if regular starts are now sometimes hard to come by.

Tanguy Ndombele scored a sensational debut goal as Tottenham came from behind to beat Premier League new boys Aston Villa 3-1 thanks to Harry Kane's late double.

John McGinn's ninth-minute goal seemed set to mark Villa's return to the top flight in style, with Champions League finalists Spurs – playing without the benched Christian Eriksen for over an hour – struggling to break down Dean Smith's side.

Eriksen's introduction sparked urgency into Tottenham's attack and, after Tom Heaton had made a fantastic stop to deny Davinson Sanchez, Ndombele slammed home a brilliant equaliser at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

Another terrific Heaton stop kept Eriksen at bay, but Villa's resistance was ended when Kane capitalised on a mistake from Jack Grealish before excellently tucking in his second to add gloss to a hard-fought win.

Wilfried Zaha's reaction to staying at Crystal Palace has impressed manager Roy Hodgson.

The winger came off the substitutes' bench to play the last 25 minutes of his side's 0-0 home Premier League draw against 10-man Everton, who had Morgan Schneiderlin sent off.

Arsenal and Everton were among the teams to pursue Zaha, 26, during the transfer window, with the player making his desire to leave clear.

But after remaining at Selhurst Park beyond deadline day, Zaha's return to action saw him given a generous reception by the Palace fans when he entered the pitch on Saturday.

"I thought he handled it very well," Hodgson said at his post-match media conference.

"The crowd helped. It was nice to have him available. It was good to have him to come on - and Connor Wickham too. I thought the two front players [Jordan Ayew and Christian Benteke] did an exceptional job, but they were tiring.

"I only really saw him [Zaha] on Friday. He was fine. He was excellent in the dressing room.

"The fact is that situation has been and gone. I am sure he will bring his straw to the water to help us have a good season."

Asked if he was concerned about losing Zaha when the transfer window re-opens, Hodgson replied: "We are in August! You are asking the wrong man. I am not worried about January at the moment."

Speaking to BBC Sport, Hodgson added of Zaha: "He did well, he did what we hoped he would do – create opportunities, set us up for a Max Meyer chance that could have won us the game.

"He almost helped us take three points. A couple of times he had to be bundled off the ball at the last minute. He's a little bit rusty, of course when a player comes back from three weeks away he's going to need a bit of time to find his true form. 

"He's phenomenal as an athlete when it comes to fitness, but to get him back to full capacity it will take a week or two."

Manuel Pellegrini accused Manchester City of tactical fouls in the Premier League champions' 5-0 thrashing of West Ham on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola's side started their title defence with an emphatic victory at London Stadium courtesy of goals from Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero and a Raheem Sterling hat-trick.

Hammers manager Pellegrini felt his players were too "innocent", especially in the first half, as they conceded too many simple free-kicks when in promising positions.

"Every time we tried to arrive in their box they committed fouls. We were innocent in that regard," he said.

"If you review the game, that is why we didn't create too many chances in the first half. All our offensive moments of attacking ended in a foul. You can look at the statistics. They committed 13 fouls, we committed five. But that wasn't the reason why we lost."

According to Opta data, West Ham conceded six free-kicks to City's 13, but the visitors led 8-1 in terms of fouls committed by half-time.

Kyle Walker and Sterling were the only City players booked, with Mike Dean handing out those cautions in the 87th minute and three minutes into second-half stoppage time.

It is not the first time City have been accused of such a tactic. Last November, former Manchester United captain Gary Neville said Fernandinho in particular was happy to foul to stop counter-attacks, prompting Guardiola to respond: "Never have my teams been focused on doing something wrong against the opponents."

Guardiola was riled again in April when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested City would be happy to give away free-kicks to halt United in their tracks in the derby. "I never prepare a game in 10 seasons as a manager thinking about this kind of thing. Never," he said.

Pellegrini felt City's approach to stopping West Ham attacks was one of the main differences in a balanced first half, but he insisted he did not think it the only reason for his side's humbling defeat.

When asked if he might encourage his players to adopt the same tactic, he said: "We must be more intelligent though to know when to make [fouls], not use it as a system.

"If you review the game, we didn't create too many chances because many of our attacking chances were stopped by a foul.

"But I repeat, I don't think that is just the reason we lost 5-0."

Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick as Manchester City made a stunning start to the defence of their Premier League title by hammering West Ham 5-0.

City watched last season's runners-up Liverpool romp to a 4-1 win over Norwich City on Friday and answered with an emphatic triumph of their own.

Saturday's top-flight action also saw Burnley and Brighton and Hove Albion cruise to victories over Southampton and Watford respectively.

Crystal Palace and 10-man Everton played out a goalless draw, while Sheffield United grabbed a late equaliser to claim a point at Bournemouth.

Tottenham will host Aston Villa in the last game of the day.

STERLING GIVES CITY IDEAL START

Sterling's treble inspired a five-goal away win as City commenced their quest for a third straight league crown. The England star's goals all came in the second half after Gabriel Jesus prodded the champions ahead in the 25th minute of a one-sided affair.

Sterling's well-worked first goal came six minutes after the interval and though a VAR review found he was offside before Jesus tapped in, City did get their third when he struck 15 minutes from time.

The former Liverpool player could have added the third from the spot after Issa Diop fouled the excellent Riyad Mahrez but he gifted the penalty to Sergio Aguero. The substitute's initial attempt was saved before he converted a re-take due to VAR showing Declan Rice encroached before clearing the rebound.

Sterling was not to be denied the match ball, though, as he raced clean through to convert a pass from Mahrez in added time.

MISERABLE STARTS FOR SAINTS AND WATFORD

Ashley Barnes' double was key as Burnley scored three times in the space of 12 second-half minutes to stun Southampton in a 3-0 win at Turf Moor, Johann Gudmundsson's impressive solo goal putting the icing on the cake.

New signing Neal Maupay, who arrived for a reported £20million, scored on his debut to help Brighton defeat Watford by the same scoreline at Vicarage Road.

The former Brentford striker followed fellow substitute Florin Andone by netting in the second half, Abdoulaye Doucoure's dreadful own goal after 28 minutes having set Graham Potter's new side on their way.


SHARP GRABS LATE POINT FOR BLADES

Substitute Billy Sharp finished off a goalmouth scramble with two minutes remaining to earn newly promoted Sheffield United a 1-1 draw away to Bournemouth.

Chris Mepham had earlier put the hosts in front when he converted a close-range rebound, but Sharp ensured the Blades got something from their first Premier League game since 2007.

There was also a draw as Crystal Palace held Everton at Selhurst Park, with the visitors having Morgan Schneiderlin sent off with 14 minutes remaining.

The midfielder picked up a second yellow card for a high foot Luka Milivojevic, while Wilfried Zaha - who reluctantly had to stay at Palace having been heavily pursued by Everton in the transfer window - played the last 25 minutes after coming off the bench.

Pep Guardiola warned Manchester City and hat-trick scorer Raheem Sterling have room for improvement following the 5-0 thrashing of West Ham.

The Premier League champions cruised to a resounding victory in their season opener at the London Stadium on Saturday, shifting through the gears at will in a four-goal second half.

Star forward Sterling grabbed three and looked in irrepressible form, while new signing Rodri and the returning Riyad Mahrez shone in possession.

"In terms of five goals, it is the perfect start, yes," Guardiola told a news conference.

"But the performance of the first half was far away from where we want to be. The other [half] is normal.

"We are still not in the top condition and I knew that we missed and lost a lot of simple balls, so it's so difficult to have a good tempo of our game.

"Today Raheem scored and Bernardo [Silva] is going to score and it was an incredible performance today from Riyad Mahrez, an incredible level.

"I think in all of the pre-season games [Sterling] scored goals from the beginning, so every single game he scored a goal.

"But in the first half, he can do better."

Gabriel Jesus scored City's first in the 25th minute and would have had a brace had Sterling not strayed offside by the barest of margins in the lead-up, an indiscretion spotted by VAR.

Technology also played a part in allowing Sergio Aguero to retake and convert a spot-kick that was initially saved, while the visitors were made to wait for confirmation of Sterling's second goal following prolonged analysis.

Guardiola said players and fans alike will have to adapt during VAR's debut season in the Premier League.

"In that period where you are celebrating, you have to be calm and be strong," he said.

"It is going to change the dynamic not just for the team but for the spectators. The spectators were quiet, and after [Jesus' goal was disallowed], they were looking and thinking 'oh, we can celebrate'.

"It will be a good lesson for our future, but it is what it is."

Raheem Sterling became just the eighth player to score a hat-trick on the opening weekend of a season in the Premier League era.

The Manchester City forward achieved the rare feat in a thumping 5-0 away win against West Ham.

Here, we take a look at the other players who have registered trebles on the first weekend of a Premier League season.


MICK QUINN: Arsenal 0-3 Coventry City, August 14 1993

Bobby Gould's Sky Blues stunned Arsenal at a revamped, newly all-seater Highbury, on the back of a remarkable treble from former Newcastle striker Quinn. The highlight goal was Quinn's second strike, a delicious effort into the top-left corner after smart work from Roy Wegerle.

MATT LE TISSIER: Southampton 3-4 Nottingham Forest, August 19 1995

At The Dell, another stadium from Premier League history, Le Tissier scored two penalties and a late free-kick but still finished on the losing side. A Forest team inspired by two-goal Bryan Roy took the points on the south coast.

FABRIZIO RAVANELLI: Middlesbrough 3-3 Liverpool, August 17 1996

Ravanelli was a £7million statement signing by ambitious Middlesbrough, joining within weeks of scoring for Juventus in the Champions League final. His Premier League debut for Bryan Robson's team was almost perfect, with the 'White Feather' cracking in a penalty, a poacher's finish and a low, skidding strike to secure a draw.

KEVIN CAMPBELL: Coventry City 0-3 Nottingham Forest, August 17 1996

Campbell's treble at Highfield Road was overshadowed by Ravanelli's feat at the Riverside on the same day but two slick finishes and a delightful third goal all of his own making meant it was a day to remember for Forest's former Arsenal striker.

DION DUBLIN: Coventry City 3-2 Chelsea, August 9 1997

After Quinn four years earlier, Dublin was another Coventry opening-day hero. A pair of headers rocked Ruud Gullit's Chelsea before Dublin took advantage of a loose header from defender Franck Leboeuf to drill in a late winner for Gordon Strachan's men.

GABRIEL AGBONLAHOR: Aston Villa 4-2 Manchester City, August 17 2008

Hardly the most prolific of Villa strikers, Agbonlahor nevertheless grabbed the first opening-day Premier League hat-trick for 11 years. He scored with his right foot, left foot and head as the 21-year-old tore apart City at Villa Park.

DIDIER DROGBA: Chelsea 6-0 West Brom, August 14 2010

Chelsea began the defence of their title in six-hitting style at Stamford Bridge, with a free-kick, a close-range finish and a deflected strike seeing Drogba earn the match ball. Carlo Ancelotti's Blues also won 6-0 on the following weekend, beating Wigan.

RAHEEM STERLING: West Ham 0-5 Manchester City, August 10 2019

England forward Sterling showed shimmering opening-weekend form as he and City carved open West Ham repeatedly at London Stadium. He slotted his first from Kevin De Bruyne's pass, lobbed a second and slid home a third in stoppage time as the champions cruised to their handsome win.

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