So, how was it for you?

The Premier League was back on Wednesday night. Or at least a post-coronavirus version of it.

We'd known from watching Bundesliga matches - well, until most lost interest once Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund in an early title decider - what to expect.

But to see Villa Park and the Etihad completely devoid of supporters was still a particularly jarring sight.

Needs must, though. And for Liverpool to be able to finish the job on the pitch and claim a first title since 30 years, they required matters to pass off without any major problems for 'Project Restart' to continue with confidence.

By and large, the reaction was a big thumbs up. In terms of the changes made regarding health and safety, the feedback from those present was hugely encouraging. Organisation was impressive and the around 300 people at the stadiums - including the players - embraced the new routines and restrictions.

Even more heartening was the clear message sent by those taking a knee shortly before kick-off to support the Black Lives Matter initiative emblazoned on the back of the players' shirts.

Alas, most headlines centred on the somewhat glaring problem of goalline technology not working properly and robbing Sheffield United of an obvious goal against Aston Villa. Embarrassing for the Premier League, yes, but not an insurmountable issue.

For everyone else watching at home, there was a big decision to make - fake crowd noise or not?

The former was, by general consensus, the more appealing option.

Much, though, was dependent on the person operating the soundtrack. At times the reactions of the 'crowd' seemed out of sync with what was happening on the pitch, and the cheers that greeted Raheem Sterling scoring the first goal of the temporary new era were disappointingly subdued for such a notable achievement.

The Bundesliga crowd noises and chants are more convincing, while nothing has yet quite compared to the use in Australian rugby league, which has fooled people (okay, yours truly) into initially thinking supporters were present.

Hopefully practice makes perfect. There are, of course, another 90 games remaining in which to fine tune the technology.

Arsenal defender David Luiz welcomed back the Premier League in trademark fashion by being dismissed
Arsenal defender David Luiz welcomed back the Premier League in trademark fashion by being dismissed

On the field, there were a few further pointers.

Surprises in the line-ups of all four teams underline Liverpool fans should expect a slightly different starting XI to the one that might otherwise have been expected at Goodison on Sunday.

More than three months without a competitive game and, in the case of the Reds, only one warm-up friendly - not to mention the effects of two months in isolation - have meant players are all at different stages in terms of fitness.

One thing that hasn't changed, apart from David Luiz's rash decision-making process, is City's threat. And with games now being played in training ground conditions without the influence of supporters, it provides the ideal environment for their quality to shine.

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But for a fine display by goalkeeper Bernd Leno, Arsenal would have lost by six or seven.

Liverpool cannot now win the league at Goodison - it was always highly unlikely - but City's performance has sent a clear message to the Reds.

The title may be heading for Anfield. But there's no appetite among Pep Guardiola's men to hand it to Liverpool on a plate in the coming weeks.

As they have done all campaign, Jurgen Klopp's side are going to have to do things for themselves.