Nineteen minutes was all it took to dampen any pre-season optimism West Ham had.
After a record summer splurge, things were supposed to get better.
But for all their extravagance in the transfer market, this was very much a stark reminder that West Ham’s problems will not disappear overnight with a sudden wave of cash.
Defensively, they must still learn from immediate lessons. Too often the played into the opposition’s hands.
They were too exposed and Liverpool provided plenty of early warnings well before Mo Salah opened his account for the season.
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)
They were determined to feed their fearsome front three with killer balls, played in behind. Time after time they did just that as the Hammers repeatedly fell into their own high-line trap.
Eventually it paid off for the hosts. Not just once. Thrice (even if Sadio Mane’s second of the afternoon was at last a yard offside). As Jamie Redknapp put it, it was “defensive suicide”.
In fairness, the midfield did little to offer protection throughout. They were well overrun and ultimately wasteful in possession.
Most of all, they missed the legs and physical presence of a player they sold earlier this month in Cheikhou Kouyate.
(Image: Liverpool FC)
Presumably Carlos Sanchez, not even on the bench at Anfield, will come into the side and be fit to face Bournemouth next Saturday.
On reflection, the hammering should not be all doom and gloom for West Ham. As opening day fixtures come, Anfield away isn’t the most forgiving. And so it proved at 4-0.
To their credit Liverpool looked sharp, dangerous and resolute. They certainly look like a side who can mix it with Manchester City this season.
West Ham, however, look like a work in progress. The result was a sobering reminder that Manuel Pellegrini has a huge job on his hands.
There were some positives to take. £43million record arrival Felipe Anderson impressed on his debut. As did Jack Wilshere and Lukasz Fabianski. Fabian Balbuena showed promise. Michail Antonio worked hard, although was a little ponderous at times.
The real test to see how quickly Pellegrini’s plan comes together will be at the London Stadium on Saturday.
Beating Liverpool is never an easy prospect – but West Ham fans will certainly expect improvement, progress and, above all, three points.
The hard work starts now.