Reds give reason to believe in title challenge with “potent & powerful” display – Media on Liverpool 4-0 West Ham

13 August 2018

The media were impressed with collective and individual performances in Sunday’s 4-0 win over West Ham and feel Liverpool can challenge for the title.


For a season opener that couldn’t have gone much better.

The Reds were dominant from start to finish, played some fantastic football and were clinical at both ends to get the first three points of the campaign.

Mohamed Salah set the wheels in motion, taking just 18 minutes to open his account for the season, before Sadio Mane gave the Reds of a comfortable two-goal half-time lead.

Mane netted his second with a fine finish to make it 3-0, albeit from an offside position, before a fantastic moment saw Daniel Sturridge score with his first touch to wrap up a landmark 500th Premier League win.

Jurgen Klopp will be delighted with the performance and result, and things already look very promising for the season ahead.

Here’s what the media made of Liverpool’s electric start to the season.

 

Reporters were full of praise for the performance and discussed all the positives…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 12, 2018: Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

First of all, Richard Jolly, writing for the National, was impressed by how seamlessly the Reds clicked, noting Liverpool’s freshness and how Klopp has got new personnel in sync so quickly:

“While others have struggled in searches for sharpness and cohesion this weekend, Liverpool found both.

[…]

“They looked fresh and fast, potent and powerful. Personnel have been upgraded, but the gameplan is the same.”

The Mirror’s Jon Livesey felt Liverpool dealt impressively with the pressure coming into the season opener and showed they are “the real deal”:

“There was serious pressure on Liverpool’s shoulders going into their opening Premier League fixture of the season, after Klopp’s summer splurge.

[…]

“If there is ever a season when Liverpool were really, really going to win the title then it is this one, they look the real deal.”

ESPN’s Glenn Price enjoyed the relentlessness of the performance:

“In the campaign’s first round, his team were sharp, powerful and forever fighting for more against Manuel Pellegrini’s men.”

For JOE.co.uk, Melissa Reddy was most impressed by the Reds’ perfect combination of “explosiveness and steel”:

“The mesh of explosiveness and steel was one of the most encouraging elements from Klopp’s side, which they will have to continuously implement—especially in more challenging fixtures.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 12, 2018: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Independent’s Simon Hughes thought Liverpool sent a big message to rivals by winning so convincingly without even hitting top gear:

“Worryingly for their rivals, they ultimately were not close to being at their very, very best.”

The biggest take from the match for Goal’s Neil Jones was that this is only the beginning for Klopp’s new-look Reds:

“As for this performance, perhaps the really frightening message is that Liverpool can get better, that this was only a taster for what lies ahead.”

Meanwhile for ESPN’s Dave Usher the main positives were the instant goals for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane and a clean sheet on debut for Alisson:

“Too many to mention, but Salah and Mane getting straight back among the goals is exactly what Liverpool needed. A clean sheet for Alisson on his debut was also most welcome.”

 

As expected there was plenty of praise for Naby Keita after his eye-catching debut…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 12, 2018: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s fair to say the Mirror’s Jake Polden was impressed with Keita’s bow, labelling his performance a “midfield masterclass”:

“What followed was nothing short of a midfield masterclass.

“From winning tackles and slowing play down to break up West Ham attacks to speeding up play to spring attacks on the opposition and filtering balls through the lines, Keita did absolutely everything you’d expect a Premier League midfielder to do.”

The Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe thought Keita showed signs of being the complete No. 8:

“This debut confirmed the presence of a player with a different profile to Kante, taking more advanced positions and seeking to link with forwards. He is, as his shirt suggests, a number eight not an anchorman.

[…]

“He looks like he will create plenty and get chances of his own, while willing to put in a robust tackle when necessary.”

The Independent’s Ed Malyon thought Keita “looked completely at home in Klopp’s system”:

“Tackling, passing, running, shooting. Keita burst onto the Premier League scene with an all-action performance where he didn’t just look impressive, he looked completely at home in Klopp’s system.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 12, 2018: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Price was most impressed by Keita’s immediate understanding with the front three:

“It’s only early days, but it would appear Keita is going to be a devastating extension of Liverpool’s front three this season.

[…]

“There were countless examples of the dynamic midfielder joining Salah, Mane and Firmino in the opponent’s penalty area. But it was his ability to feed the trio that stood out.”

And the Mail’s Dominic King dished out some incredibly high praise, labelling Keita’s performance as one “befitting of the No. 8 jersey”:

“It was, simply, a performance befitting the No. 8 jersey, which was back in service for the first time since Steven Gerrard last wore it in May 2015.”

 

Reporters singled out various Reds for impressive individual performances…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 12, 2018: Liverpool's James Milner during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Andy Hunter of the Guardian praised Salah for the way he picked up from where he left off in front of goal:

“If there is a pressure on Salah to reproduce the phenomenal form that yielded 44 goals for Liverpool last term then he appears extremely comfortable with it. The forward oozed confidence throughout pre-season and needed 19 minutes to reopen his Premier League account.”

Usher labelled James Milner “the best player on the pitch”:

“The best player on the pitch, his range of passing and intelligence caught the eye as he ran the game from midfield. Created the second goal with a clever run and fine cut-back and must have covered every blade of grass on the field. Twice.”

Our own Karl Matchett thought Joe Gomez gave a good showing at centre-back and believes the youngster should keep his place alongside Virgil van Dijk:

“The Englishman coped very well with the occasion; despite the Reds being well on top, he had a tough opponent in Marko Arnautovic and largely kept the Austrian to a peripheral role.

[…]

“On the ball he was solid and impressive though, pushing into midfield more than once to open up passing lanes, and he covered well when required in the channels. A positive performance and should keep his place.”

Meanwhile, Usher also noted how Gini Wijnaldum “excelled” as the deep-lying midfielder:

“Once again excelled in the No. 6 role, where his close control, energy and tactical discipline really comes to the fore.”

 

The media discussed Liverpool’s targets and ambitions for the season ahead…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 12, 2018: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp reacts during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Malyon believes the Reds have a tough job in competing with Man City for the title but thought the performance provided every reason to believe it can happen:

“Klopp’s side have been picked out by the football cognoscenti as the most likely challengers to Pep Guardiola’s historically-great City side but at this stage it may more realistic to expect that, even if Liverpool are the second-best team in the nation, second place may be much closer to third than first.

“For now though, until that first bump in the road and until Guardiola’s side begin to pull away, Liverpool have to believe. And there was plenty on show at Anfield which gave them reason to.”

Hughes explained why Mane has a key role to play this season in taking Liverpool to the next level:

“You sense that the Senegalese’s output could be crucial for Liverpool because there is room for improvement in terms of his composure at vital moments.

“His finish here was delivered with the sort of conviction you see from a 25-goal-a-year striker. If he becomes one, Liverpool’s possibilities increase.”

Finally, Jones believes there is no doubt that the Reds can seriously compete for the big prize this season:

“Contenders? You bet. Take the opposition into account, of course—and West Ham themselves have had a major overhaul in the summer—but don’t ignore the evidence. Liverpool were a very good side last season, and they’ve improved significantly since then.”

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