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“A performance brimming with desire, pace, creativity and class” – How the media saw Liverpool 4–1 Leicester City

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The media were full of praise for Liverpool’s attacking dominance after the 4-1 thrashing of champions Leicester City at Anfield on Saturday. Here’s a full paper review.

The Reds produced a performance as impressive as the new Main Stand to ease past Claudio Ranieri’s men in the first home fixture of the season.

Roberto Firmino’s fine turn and finish after 13 minutes gave the Reds an early lead, which Sadio Mane doubled on his home debut as he finished off a good move and sublime backheel assist from Daniel Sturridge.

Jamie Vardy punished Lucas Leiva’s error to halve the deficit and provide some hope for the champions, but a thunderbolt from Adam Lallana restored the two-goal cushion, before Firmino rounded off a fine result by slotting home a fourth late on.

It was a thoroughly deserved win for Liverpool, who matched the historic occasion with an impressive display—especially in attack—which saw some eye-catching goals scored on the Reds first home game for 122 days.

Here is how the media viewed the victory.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 10, 2016: A view of Liverpool's new Main Stand during the FA Premier League match against Leicester City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Reporters reflected on a historic day at Anfield, where the dominant performance of the team, roared on by the extra backing from the spectacular new Main Stand, showed signs of what could be to come.

The Mail‘s Dominic King wrote:

Jurgen Klopp had asked Liverpool’s fans to turn the new Anfield, with its giant £115 million Main Stand, into a fortress and this was them showing what it has the potential to become.”

Writing for JOE.co.uk, Tony Barrett noted:

“It is still early days, but for the leading figures from FSG who took advantage of the best seats in the remodelled stadium that their vision had demanded, this was hugely promising.

[…]

“The test now is to ensure their impact is maintained.”

Goal’s Melissa Reddy wrote:

Jurgen Klopp had requested the stadium ‘be filled with life’ at the unveiling of the new Main Stand on Friday afternoon, and it was electrifying at times.

“Some of the football from the German’s side was utterly spellbinding; their aggressiveness in attack met by their appetite to starve Leicester of space, time and possession.

[…]

“This was indeed Anfield.”

The Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce felt the Reds showed their progress on as well as off the pitch:

“And Klopp’s men rose to the occasion on their return home—serving notice that a sizeable step forward for the club off the field is being accompanied by progress on it.

“A crowd of 53,074—Anfield’s biggest for 39 years—witnessed a performance brimming with desire, pace, creativity and class.”

The Mirror‘s Mike Walters thought Liverpool showed they could emerge as dark horses for the title:

“But at times there was enough promise in this performance to suggest Manchester may not be the inevitable destination of the title again.”

The Telegraph‘s Jim White echoed that sentiment:

“What the fans would much prefer is, rather than regularly debunking the title holders, Liverpool were winning the thing themselves. Which is why this freewheeling attacking performance against a defence that was almost unbreachable last term will have sent so many home delighted: there were elements within in it that suggested that at last hope is appearing on the horizon.”

However, King thinks a return to the Champions League is more “obtainable” following this latest display:

“Liverpool, by contrast, can attack the season hoping to be in Leicester’s shoes next year. On this evidence, the dream of a return to Europe’s elite competition may yet be obtainable.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 10, 2016: Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the second goal against Leicester City during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Reporters heaped praise on Liverpool’s blistering attacking play, which saw the Reds effortlessly rip through the reigning champions at will all evening.

The Guardian‘s Andy Hunter felt Liverpool’s attacking performance proved their readiness for a stronger league campaign:

“The quality of Liverpool’s goals—two assured finishes by Firmino, a superb team goal for Mané and an emphatic strike by Lallana—reflected their superiority in the final third over a team they trailed by 21 points last season. There will be no repeat on the evidence of Liverpool’s homecoming.”

Pearce felt the speed of play was too much for the champions to deal with:

“But Liverpool attacked with such speed and conviction that they repeatedly carved open the champions.

“Some of the interplay between Daniel Sturridge, Mane, Firmino and Lallana was delightful.”

King also noted how Leicester had no answer to stop the Reds:

“Liverpool will fulfil Klopp’s vision of making Anfield a place that has visitors shaking with dread if they maintain the breathless tempo that enabled them to rip Leicester apart.”

Barrett felt Liverpool’s desire to flood their opponents with forward runners proved the difference:

“While other managers seek to dominate possession and territory with the expectation that victory will follow more often than not, Klopp’s primary concern is for Liverpool to make the most of the ball whenever they have it with the emphasis being on flooding the opposition penalty area at every opportunity.

“On this occasion it worked a treat.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 27, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp prepares to bring on substitute Daniel Sturridge against Tottenham Hotspur during the FA Premier League match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Those involved in bringing such a blistering offensive display to Anfield’s pristine surface rightly drew plaudits from reporters.

The Mail‘s Laurie Whitwell focussed on Sturridge’s display:

“Sturridge was up front and providing Liverpool with a dimension that is rare even among the riches of the Premier League.

“He did not score, and Liverpool added a fourth when he was off the pitch with Sadio Mane in pomp, but he provided a presence to the home side’s attack that can go missing amid their carousel of forward-thinking midfielders.”

ESPN’s Glenn Price also noted Sturridge’s impact:

“There have been question marks as to whether Sturridge can fit into Klopp’s high-pressing system, but Liverpool’s opening goal proved that the England international can adapt to the Reds’ approach.

[…]

“His performance was a timely reminder that Sturridge is arguably the Reds’ only player with world-class ability.”

The Independent‘s Simon Hughes felt Mane was again key to Liverpool’s attacking dominance:

“Perhaps Sadio Mane will prove to be one of those players. The Senegalese, who let’s not forget, is Liverpool’s record signing, cut through Leicester’s defence time and time again here; scoring once, supplying another.”

The Liverpool Echo‘s Andy Kelly thought Mane and Sturridge showed further signs of developing a lethal partnership:

“The Mane and Sturridge combination had already offered promise albeit against the minnows of Burton.

“Here though they looked like they could do damage at whatever level is required.”

Pearce felt Firmino’s performance showed he’s ready to elevate his game to another level:

“One man who undoubtedly has the talent to make that leap if he stays around long enough is Firmino.

“The Brazilian attacker blossomed during his first season with the Reds as he bagged 11 goals and he looks ready to take his game to the next level.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 10, 2016: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the first goal against Leicester City during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ESPN’s David Usher was another to eulogise over the Brazilian’s display:

“A wonderful showing from the Brazilian who, despite being switched from his usual central attacking berth to the left flank, still managed to score twice and generally lead the Leicester defence a merry dance. Some of his touches and flicks had the crowd purring.”

Meanwhile, Kelly felt it was fitting that Lallana notched the 100th goal of Klopp’s reign:

“There can have been few finer efforts among that century—and from a man who has perhaps been the embodiment of the German’s side so far.

“A tireless worker, technically able, improving under his new boss, though still perhaps capable of even more.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 10, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp jokes with captain Jordan Henderson after the 4-1 victory over Leicester City during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Though the slick attacking performance rightly earned the majority of praise, reporters also focused on other areas of an impressive team performance from Klopp’s side.

Reddy felt Liverpool won the midfield battle:

“The champions could not string passes together with the hosts swarming in and out of possession. Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum controlled midfield, with Adam Lallana his dynamic and influential self.”

Kelly also noted Henderson’s contribution as he adapts to a new role:

“His delicate through ball released Sturridge for Liverpool’s second and he was on hand again to free Mane in the last minute as the Reds delivered the cherry on the day’s more than decent-sized cake.

“He popped up several times in his own box to clear danger just as his manager would have wanted, just what he would have practised on the training field.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 10, 2016: Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in action against Leicester City during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And down the other end, Pearce believes a solid performance from Simon Mignolet should see the goalkeeper retain his place:

“The Belgian keeper, who was left bleeding from a head wound after a robust challenge from the Foxes frontman, is under pressure now that Loris Karius is fit. However, Mignolet stood firm during Leicester‘s second-half rally and deserves to be retained.”

However, Barrett bemoaned Liverpool’s ability to self-destruct in defence:

“Such violent switches in momentum have been a recurring theme for Liverpool ever since Klopp’s arrival, their ability to go from dominant to dominated and vice versa in the blink of an eye confusing opponents almost as much as it perplexes themselves.”

Usher also expressed concern with the defensive lapses, stating that they need stamping out:

“Liverpool are a team that struggle to keep clean sheets and the goal they gave up in this game was just as about as bad as it gets, as Lucas Leiva inexplicably presented the ball to Jamie Vardy with the net gaping. It didn’t prove costly on this occasion but they cannot continue to give away needless goals if they want to challenge at the top of the table.”

Liverpool’s next game sees them take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Friday night, kicking off at 8pm (BST).

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