Manchester City got their Premier League title defence off to a winning start with a deserved victory over an Arsenal side playing their first competitive game without Arsene Wenger since 1996.

Raheem Sterling put City ahead in the 14th minute when he got the ball on the corner of the box, cut beyond two players and rifled home from 20 yards.

Riyad Mahrez went close to scoring on his league debut for City when his free-kick was saved by Petr Cech, who denied Aymeric Laporte from the follow-up.

It was always going to be a tough first game for Unai Emery at Arsenal and they had few clear-cut chances – with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitute Alexandre Lacazette shooting wide from outside the box.

City were brilliant in parts – and controlled in others – and killed off the game when Benjamin Mendy, who assisted both goals, pulled the ball back for Bernardo Silva to blast in a second.

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool’s emphatic victory over West Ham as “better than I could have expected” before warning his team face an “unbelievably hard” season.

Mohamed Salah’s early goal set Liverpool on their way to their biggest opening home league win since 1932.

The Egyptian tapped in a 19th-minute opener from Andy Robertson’s cross on his return to action for the Reds at Anfield.

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