Talking points from the English Premier League.
LIVERPOOL STILL IN THE RED
It took just 90 minutes for everyone to realise that Liverpool remain on the outside looking in as far as Champions League spots go. There were send-offs and penalties in the loss to West Brom, but Liverpool were poor. They simply can't attract top level players any more, and when they do they squander the cash that comes in when they sell them. Remember the £50m they got when Fernando Torres moved on. As for this year's crop of "big name signings", Fabio Borini couldn't cut it at Chelsea and Joe Cole isn't anywhere near the player he was when he was with the Blues. Then there's Jamie Carragher. In his prime he was a quality defender. That time has well and truly passed. Last year's top four, Chelsea and Newcastle all remain a class above the mob from Anfield.
LAUDRUP'S WELSH WONDERS
On paper Queen's Park Rangers entered their home meeting with Swansea as everyone's tip. What followed was as much a lesson in where to look as in what to look for. Park Ji-sung and Fabio both played for Manchester United last season, Michu and Chico Flores didn't. That didn't stop the Swansea duo from playing the ex-United pair off the park. In 90 minutes, new boss Michael Laudrup started stating a case that he may prove an even better manager than Brendan Rodgers was last year.
RVP SIDESHOW HURTS UNITED
Both Manchester clubs were given an opening weekend reminder that nothing comes easy. City dominated possession but needed a couple of goals inside the final 20 minutes while United were beaten. Robin van Persie's presence on the bench seemed more important than what took place on the pitch. In what promises to be a season-long battle for the title, the earliest of advantages goes to City.
WEST BROM ON THE UP
They have only played one game, and it was against a Liverpool side that did little right, but West Bromwich Albion look to be in for a good season. Not Europe-good, but avoiding nervous-breakdown good. By that, read a final month that isn't a mad scramble to avoid relegation. Steve Clarke's hiring as manager could prove a masterstroke. So often we see bottom-half teams struggling to find goals. Romelu Lukaku, Peter Odemwingie and Shane Long should fare well if provided quality service from midfield.
CAHILL THE MAN FOR CHELSEA
Chelsea had the three points in the bag inside six minutes against Wigan, only to once again exhibit the problem they encountered last season – a lack of speed and mobility in the centre of defence and the holding midfield position. How David Luiz and the aging John Terry are considered better options that Gary Cahill in the heart of the defence beggars belief. Surely Cahill's masterful displays in the Champions League should be enough. He was arguably Chelsea's best in Munich. He provides a level of mobility that Luiz, Terry, Jon Obi Mikel and Frank Lampard lack. The other concern for the Blues was their inability to create chances. Statistics provider Opta Sports said Chelsea had just six shots on goal over the 90 minutes, their fewest in almost five years.