Intimidating & professional performance “demonstrated how Liverpool are maturing”

15 April 2018

The media praised Liverpool’s professionalism and numerous individual performances after the Reds cruised to a 3-0 win over Bournemouth.


The Reds cruised to victory against Eddie Howe’s side to take another step towards securing a second successive top-four finish.

Liverpool’s lethal trio did the damage, as Sadio Mane opened the scoring early on before a superb Mohamed Salah header and clever Roberto Firmino finish secured the three points.

It was a fantastic performance and result for the Reds, and Jurgen Klopp will be particularly delighted to have seen his side produce such a complete display after a huge effort at Man City.

Here’s how the media assessed a welcome routine win at Anfield.

Reporters were very impressed with the professional manner of the performance

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 14, 2018: Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the first goal with team-mates Virgil van Dijk, Dejan Lovren and Roberto Firmino during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by Laura Malkin/Propaganda)

The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle was among those to praise the Reds’ professionalism, while also commending Klopp’s side for avoiding complacency after the exhausting midweek efforts:

Liverpool deserve credit for this professional performance against an obdurate Bournemouth who, for the most part, defended well but, a late flurry apart, were negated going forward.

[…]

Complacency was never an issue here.

Our man Karl Matchett was impressed by the Reds’ mentality in attacking the game in the same hungry manner as recent big matches:

It could have been slow, difficult to get up for, for fans and players alike—but Jurgen Klopp had his team prepared and disciplined.

[…]

Plenty of chances were created as a result of that insistence on quickly recovering possession and it was heartening to see the Reds play in the same manner in a match which had much less riding on it.

The BBC’s Steve Sutcliffe thought the Reds played at an intensity that was too much for Bournemouth:

The Reds beat Premier League leaders Manchester City 5-1 on aggregate to reach the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday, and the hosts were quickly into a rhythm and intensity that Bournemouth struggled to match on Saturday.

For Goal.com, Neil Jones centered on Liverpool’s improved patience, but noted the ability to do so without compromising the speed so crucial to the Reds’ play:

They have learned the virtues of patience, without losing the speed and skill which makes them so thrilling to watch.

Doyle also felt the manner of the victory illustrated how the Reds are “maturing as a team”:

But this latest win at the end of a fine week further demonstrated how Liverpool are maturing as a team.

On a different train of thought, Richard Jolly, for The National, focussed on Liverpool’s Anfield dominance, and felt the Reds used home advantage to intimidate their way past Bournemouth:

They nonetheless extended the division’s only unbeaten home record and indicated how they intimidate opponents.

The media are impressed by Liverpool’s strong end to the season, and attributed this to Klopp’s assembling and use of a competitive squad

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 14, 2018: Liverpool players celebrate the first goal scored by Sadio Mane [hidden] and AFC Bournemouth's Ryan Fraser looks dejected during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by Laura Malkin/Propaganda)

Writing for ESPN, Steven Kelly thought Klopp got his rewards with a convincing victory for sticking with a full-strength side:

Jurgen Klopp wants to keep the winning momentum going and was rewarded with fine performances all over the pitch. The Champions League has been a great adventure so securing qualification again was given its proper importance.

The Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe suggested that the XI which started at Anfield should be the lineup against Roma:

Little wonder Klopp took no risks with his team selection. There was only one change, captain Jordan Henderson returning from suspension.

It is not inconceivable this will be the starting line-up against Roma in the forthcoming semi-final.

Mirror Football revisited and reserved praise for Klopp’s winter rotation, assessing how that shrewd management has ensured the Reds are full of energy at this stage:

It is a testament to the rotation that the Liverpool boss did earlier in the season, when his side made comfortably more changes than anyone else, that his side look as fresh as they do right now.

Doyle thinks the healthy competition for places has been a key factor behind Liverpool’s consistent form in domestic and European competition:

And that competition for places has helped move Liverpool to within two wins of sealing a top-four berth and their place at Europe’s top table next season.

The Independent’s Simon Hughes praised Klopp’s work in assembling a team that can win in various ways, on various stages after a back-to-back wins in tough but contrasting fixtures:

It feels like Jürgen Klopp is gradually fashioning a squad that can get by when all is it not quite as lively around them, as well as one that thrives in the hostility of any environment.

The star of the Klopp era is this well-oiled team.

Jones was full of praise for Klopp for the way he has gradually built a side which is currently the best to watch in England:

Klopp is building a side that can out-run, out-battle, out-think and out-score any opponent. Bit by bit, step by step, his creation, his masterpiece is unfolding before our eyes.

Hyperbole? Exaggeration? Nope, just reality. No side in England is better to watch than Liverpool right now, no team is playing with more belief or freedom. No side looks as organised, as hungry or as sharp.

Numerous Reds were singled out for impressive performances

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 14, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mates Sadio Mane (centre) and Roberto Firmino (left) during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by Laura Malkin/Propaganda)

Jolly was impressed by Jordan Henderson, noting the “incision” he brought to midfield, and also feels the captain is another to have benefitted from Virgil van Dijk’s arrival:

Henderson brought incision form the base of the midfield. The captain can divide opinion but this was a reminder a workhorse can provide penetrative passing and crossing.

[…]

There is a sense the holding midfielder has benefited from Virgil van Dijk’s arrival, the Dutchman’s commanding presence behind him allowing him to operate further up the field.

Matchett was impressed with Sadio Mane’s display, highlighting the Senegalese’s underrated intelligence and selflessness:

He’s not as clinical as one or two of his team-mates, but his movement is genuinely excellent, getting away from defenders and finding spaces with ease.

His pace is of course an asset, but there’s intelligence to Mane too, and selflessness at times.

After seeing the Reds keep a clean sheet, the Liverpool Echo’s David Prentice focussed on the centre-backs, assessing the Lovren-Van Dijk tandem can become the dominant pairing needed:

It’s also no coincidence that Van Dijk’s presence has seen a huge upturn in form from his defensive partner, Dejan Lovren.

[…]

The two have the potential to be a centre-back pairing the Reds can rely on.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 14, 2018: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by Laura Malkin/Propaganda)

Our own Chris Williams waxed lyrical about Trent Alexander-Arnold’s performance and assessed the right-back was “every inch the Man of the Match”:

Excellent game for the full-back. Up and down the wing he drove at the Cherries’ defence like a man possessed at times.

Not only was his proficient at going forward, his defensive tackles and little nicks of the ball were exquisite. Lets talk about his deliveries though: impeccable, every inch the Man of the Match.

And finally, Mirror Football thought Alexander-Arnold showed exactly why there are increasing calls for the right-back to be included in England’s World Cup squad:

Trent Alexander-Arnold put in another solid performance as the youngster continued to validate reasons behind the late call up shouts for this summer’s World Cup.

[…]

Should he make the 23-man squad, there wouldn’t be many critics arguing it’s a waste of a plane ticket.

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