Liverpool saw off Stoke City with a comprehensive 4-1 win on Sunday and we review how the media reacted to the deserved victory.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds romped to their biggest Anfield win of the German’s tenure as they made light work of Mark Hughes’ Potters.
A fine strike from Alberto Moreno and easy header from Daniel Sturridge either side of Bojan’s glanced equaliser gave the Reds the first 45 lead they deserved, after dominating for much of the opening period.
Half-time substitute, Divock Origi, came on to net a brace in an impressive individual display to complete the scoring at Anfield, where Klopp’s side ran-out comprehensive winners to enjoy a rare but welcome routine home victory.
It was the perfect preparation ahead of the crunch Borussia Dortmund second-leg with three points won while some key men were preserved, and here is how the media saw the contest.
A dominant performance and convincing win, reporters felt the victory provided the perfect preparation for Thursday’s crucial second-leg showdown with Dortmund.
The Guardian’s Andy Hunter commented on the “perfect Sunday stroll”:
Jürgen Klopp remained uncharacteristically restrained as the goals mounted up for the biggest home win of his Liverpool reign.
The performance in the technical area reflected his team’s out on the pitch – calm, carefree and ultimately in control, the perfect Sunday stroll before the Europa League showdown with Borussia Dortmund.
The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce assessed:
This was the calm before the storm.
In terms of preparation for the Europa League quarter-final second leg against the Bundesliga high-flyers, it was just about perfect.
The likes of Philippe Coutinho, Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho put their feet up as a much changed line up ensured that momentum was maintained on the back of that highly impressive 1-1 draw in the Westfalenstadion.
For Goal.com, Melissa Reddy echoed:
It was the perfect preparation for Liverpool as they welcome the Bundesliga side to Anfield on Thursday night. They got the job done on Sunday and will be determined to do the same under the floodlights as another top European night awaits.
The Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe commented on Liverpool’s building momentum as they continued their good form:
The Premier League table does not make pleasant reading, and has not done so since Klopp arrived in England, but his side has been playing well for several weeks.
Champions League qualification via the top four may not be possible, but enough players are finding momentum at the right time to raise hopes of triumphant finale.
As expected after goal-scoring displays apiece from Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi, there was much focus on the performances of Liverpool’s strikers, and their roles in Klopp’s team.
Bascombe centred on Sturridge’s impressive display:
The England striker scored, he linked the play and – perhaps most thrillingly for the Liverpool coach – his work rate was exceptional as he assumed senior status in a vastly changed line-up.
Liverpool shrugged off an abject Stoke with an especially dominant second half display, enabling Sturridge to exhibit his full repertoire.
The Mail’s Dominic King wrote on Origi, who he feels is now Liverpool’s “first choice striker”:
Divock Origi arrived on Merseyside last summer as a work in progress but he has blossomed to such an extent in recent weeks that he has usurped Daniel Sturridge as Liverpool’s first choice forward; another two goals here confirmed how rapidly he is developing.
On the sidelines, Klopp sported a contented smile to suggest he could not have asked for more – from his substitute and from the day itself.
The Mirror’s David Maddock also focussed on the Belgian’s stunning impact:
Indeed, despite an entertaining first half what happened from there seemed to explode from nowhere, prompting many to ask what happened? Well, Origi happened.
If that seemed to suggest the England striker may be playing his way into the side for Thursday, then Origi had other ideas. He replaced Ojo at the interval, and took Stoke apart almost immediately.
Pearce labelled Liverpool’s attacking force “irresistible”:
As an attacking force, Liverpool were irresistible as Daniel Sturridge and substitute Divock Origi tormented the Potters’ hapless backline.
Naturally, there was discussion on who should lead the Reds attack against Dortmund on Thursday night.
The BBC’s Mike Henson centered on the huge selection decision Klopp faces over who starts against Dortmund:
Klopp opted to play Origi as a lone striker in the first-leg draw in Germany and Sturridge looked lively in the first half as he attempted to win back his place for the return against Dortmund.
The two worked well in tandem as Sturridge completed 90 minutes for the first time since 28 February, but surely it is a case of either or against Dortmund on Thursday.
Bascombe also gave his verdict on this, feeling the pair starting together may be a possibility:
The pair worked so well in tandem it may not be a case of one or the other on Thursday, but you can understand why the manager might get tetchy when asked about who will be left out when it is the pleasure of having a genuine choice that matters most.
Pearce echoed that sentiment:
Sturridge, who nodded home the Reds’ second, broke off the shackles as he delivered a display which oozed class and the Kop showed their appreciation for his efforts.
Origi oozed confidence as he scored twice and could easily have walked away clutching the matchball. Stoke simply couldn’t handle his pace and power. Ryan Shawcross was reduced to shamelessly kicking lumps out of him.
How Klopp must be tempted to go for the jugular and play Origi and Sturridge in tandem against Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Impressive performances of full Premier League debuts from Kevin Stewart and Sheyi Ojo saw praise heaped on the youngsters.
Richard Jolly for ESPN assessed of Ojo:
Ojo was bright. One burst of pace was too much for Erik Pieters, who was cautioned for chopping down the youngster. Better play from Ojo was to follow.
It was a wonderful moment, suggesting that he has a future at a club short of natural wingers, but his contribution was curtailed at the interval.
Meanwhile, in his player ratings for ESPN, colleague David Usher felt Stewart showed “he’s at home playing at this level”:
The young midfielder was handed another chance in the first team due to a suspension to Emre Can and Jordan Henderson‘s latest injury blow, and he once again showed he’s at home playing at this level. There were one or two sloppy passes but for the most part he kept it simple and shielded his back four effectively. The more he plays, the better he’ll get and he may get another opportunity next weekend as Can serves the final game of his ban.
Stewart was labelled the “star man” of the match, by the Independent:
Kevin Stewart. Divock Origi continued his fine week with two goals after coming on at half-time and Daniel Sturridge also did himself no harm but, playing in a holding role in midfield, Kevin Stewart did not put a foot wrong. It was a display of immense maturity and composure from the 22-year-old on his first Premier League start. It won’t be his last.
Elsewhere, Pearce praised Joe Allen’s display alongside the full debutant:
The tireless James Milner took his tally for the campaign to 10 assists, while fellow midfielder Joe Allen passed his audition for Thursday night with flying colours.
Repeatedly, he broke up play and put Liverpool on the front foot with his range of passing. When he was substituted late on, the ovation he received was richly deserved.
LIVERPOOL 4-1 STOKE
- REPORT: Origi double as Reds thrash Potters
- REACTIONS: “Dominant performance”
- RATINGS: Lots of solid performances
- TALKING POINTS: Youngsters impress, lots of positives
- KLOPP: Surprised at whole complete the performance was
- WATCH: Klopp’s post-match press conference