Sadio Mane scored two second-half goals as defending champions Liverpool won comfortably at Stamford Bridge against 10-man Chelsea in the Premier League.
Defender Andreas Christensen bundled over Mane – denying a goalscoring opportunity – on the stroke of half-time and was sent off for Chelsea.
Mane opened his account within five minutes of the restart – heading in from Roberto Firmino’s lifted cross.
The forward added a second when he pounced on Kepa Arrizabalaga’s mistake.
Blues’ new signing Timo Werner won a penalty in the second half when he was clipped by Liverpool debutant Thiago Alcantara – signed from Bayern Munich earlier this week – but goalkeeper Alisson made a smart save low to his left to deny Jorginho from the spot.
Chelsea substitute Tammy Abraham forced another strong save from Alisson late on but Liverpool remained in control.
Liverpool send ominous message
Liverpool were helped by Christensen’s moment of sheer panic that reduced Chelsea to 10 men right on the break – but they were head and shoulders ahead of a negative home team even before that crucial moment.
The champions dominated from the first whistle and it seemed only a matter of time before they scored, pinning Chelsea back in their own territory and probing for openings at will.
And when the breakthrough came, no-one deserved it more than Mane, now comfortable in world-class and willing to do the dirty work as well as apply the finishing touches.
Mane’s first goal was a superb header but in many ways he summed up what makes him the complete attacker with his second, reacting with fury at giving the ball away before chasing down Kepa.
The Senegal forward’s pace forced the error from a goalkeeper who does not necessarily need forcing into errors and effectively finished the contest with Liverpool’s second.
It was all so easy for Liverpool after that, Thiago easing his way in as a substitute although there will be a concern about yet another injury for captain Henderson, who went off at half-time.
Chelsea pay for cautious approach
This was a brutal reality check for Chelsea after a summer of big spending by manager Frank Lampard – and surely the final flawed contribution from error-ridden keeper Kepa.
Chelsea’s gameplan appeared to be to sit back and attempt to catch Liverpool on the break with Werner’s pace but in the end it was all too passive, the home team resembling a side that would have been happy with a point.
Werner showed the odd flashes of what he will undoubtedly bring to Chelsea but he was feeding off scraps at best here and his struggles reflected a surprisingly conservative approach.
As for Kepa, the £71m keeper who has never lived up to his lavish price tag, this must surely be the final straw for Lampard, who dropped the goalkeeper last season and is now pursuing Rennes’ keeper Edouard Mendy in a £20m deal.
Kepa had already had a couple of near misses before he cleared the ball straight to Mane, who induced panic in the keeper and scored the visitors’ second.
Lampard’s side will have better days and patience will be required with such an influx of new faces, the likes of Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech yet to be involved, but this will have been a real disappointment and is a missed opportunity to make a statement of their own.