Keita, though, could be the real difference maker in turning a 25-point deficit to champions Manchester City last season into a title challenge.
Mohamed Salah picked up where he left off last season with his 45th goal in 53 appearances for the club while Sadio Mane maintained his record of scoring in each opening match of the campaign since he moved to Anfield in 2016.
Salah's touching moment was just one highlight from the Reds' impressive performance against the Hammers.
In Naby Keita, one of three players signed for over £50 million, Liverpool appear to have found both a fitting incumbent for Steven Gerrard's no. 8 shirt as well as an overdue successor to the midfield role vacated by Javier Mascherano exactly eight years ago this month.
Since Gerrard's exit and formerly Xabi Alonso, Liverpool have struggled to unearth a midfielder that can flourish between the lines of their opposition, but Keita often found pockets of space around West Ham's Jack Wilshere and Mark Noble, who struggled to deal with the 23-year-old, and Keita will be the catalyst for a whole host of Liverpool attacks this year.
"But we can do a lot better and it's just the start".
"During the game, because I think that Liverpool deserved to win - they were better than us".
'Because I do think there is a big drop in intensity in their play when him or Salah are not playing'.
"Every time that you bring so many players it is hard".
Started quickly to set aside the disappointment of the World Cup with Liverpool's first goal, a finely-taken effort and was unlucky to go in at the break with just one to his name as the outstanding Fabianski saved twice from him.
Netherlands worldwide Van Dijk became the most expensive defender in history last winter after joining Liverpool for a fee of £75million from Southampton. Southampton and Burnley were the other sides to start their seasons. "We need to be ready and have that quality".
Soon after debutant Riyad Mahrez was substituted in the second half, having earlier forced Petr Cech into a good save, Bernardo Silva added the second goal in the 65th minute from an assist by Benjamin Mendy.
Van Dijk added: "We had a good pre-season with good results and games where we've played very well".
Pellegrini continued: "We concede in the first half and then had two or three clear chances to draw level, then conceded in the last second of the period so we arrived in the dressing room and it was tough".
Time will tell whether that theme continues but Liverpool at least appears to be a club pulling in the right direction, off the pitch as much as on it.
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