The media were impressed with Liverpool’s attacking performance and Jurgen Klopp’s tactical acumen that inspired the 5-0 demolition of Watford.
That’s the Liverpool we all know and love!
The Reds were back to top form with a bang, delivering a complete performance to thrash the Hornets at Anfield.
Sadio Mane’s first-half brace put Liverpool in control, and the job was completed after the break by a fine strike from Divock Origi and two towering headers from Virgil van Dijk.
It was a brilliant collective performance with every player impressing, and Klopp will be particularly delighted to have seen his side rediscover their clinical touch in the final third.
Here’s how the media assessed a fantastic victory.
Reporters lauded Liverpool’s display and assessed the result as a “perfect response”…
The Mail’s Dominic King thought it was a statement win, showing Man City that the fight for the title will go to the very end:
“From start to finish, they dominated and five unanswered goals was the least they deserved.
“It didn’t matter what was going on 40 miles away in Manchester, this was Jurgen Klopp and his team making a statement.”
The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce assessed it as the Reds’ best performance of 2019 and thought Klopp’s side were “immense” in all areas:
“All the anxiety, all the nerves and all the pressure was swept aside as the Reds produced their most complete performance of 2019.
“They were immense in all departments.”
ESPN’s Glenn Price thought this was the perfect response from Klopp’s men to recent criticism of “cracking up” as the title race hots up:
“Having been accused of cracking up in the title race, this performance was the perfect response.”
Writing for Goal, Neil Jones assessed the performance as a Klopp team in full flow:
“Instead, we got the archetypal Klopp team; energetic, forward-thinking, deadly.”
The media offered analysis on the big improvements in Liverpool’s performance…
First off, the Independent’s Simon Hughes felt playing with greater determination and making a fast start was key as it helped spread confidence through the team:
“Any discussion around balance and levels of creativity was removed from this narrative because of Liverpool’s appetite which quickly translated into confidence.
“This proved to be was a calmer Anfield but only because of Liverpool’s determination—it felt like they were trying to make a point. It helped enormously that they were able to begin with such ferocity.”
Pearce focussed on how Liverpool have rediscovered the attacking “swagger and fluency”:
“The swagger and attacking fluency returned.
“Slick passing, intelligent movement and a clinical edge in the final third was combined with real discipline and control as Liverpool kept a fourth successive clean sheet.”
And This Is Anfield’s Joel Rabinowitz thought the number of goals scored was the biggest positive on the night as it showed that that there is no confidence shortage in attack:
“The flurry of goals in the second half will please Klopp enormously, sending out a strong message that Liverpool won’t be perturbed by recent frustrating results.”
This Is Anfield’s Henry Jackson thought the crucial element to the improved performance and result was the welcome return of the solid defensive base:
“Since the draw at West Ham, however, Liverpool have kept four successive clean sheets.
“This team is back to being built on solid foundations, mastering the art of not conceding even when they have a dip in games.”
Meanwhile, the Mirror’s Darren Wells thinks Trent Alexander-Arnold’s return provided a huge boost as the youngster offers a different attacking dimension from right-back:
“Trent Alexander-Arnold showed everyone what the Reds have been missing with a scintillating display down the right flank.
“The 20-year-old offers the Reds so much going forward—something severely lacking from Sunday’s performance.
“With the season entering its business end, he’ll be so important for the Reds.”
Klopp received plenty of praise for his inspired attacking selection and clever tactical plan…
The Mirror’s David Maddock thought the midfield and attack selections were bold calls from Klopp, but praised the boss for making big decisions and getting them right:
“Klopp was as bold and decisive here as he was timid at Old Trafford on Sunday, and for that he deserves acclaim and applause.”
On the attacking selection, the Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle assessed the surprising deployment of Mane as No. 9 and Divock Origi on the left as a stroke of genius that paid off handsomely:
“Klopp threw a curveball not by starting with Divock Origi, but by placing the Belgian on the left flank, leaving Mohamed Salah on the right and pushing Sadio Mane through the middle.
“The decision was emphatically justified by two goals inside the opening 20 minutes from the Senegalese, the first a proper striker’s header, the second an impudent backheel the audacity of which Liverpool fans have come to expect from the player.”
Maddock praised Klopp for utilising Salah in a different way, in using the attention that now follows the Egyptian to open up passages for the rest of the attack:
“If Jurgen Klopp’s side have had a weakness of late, it is that they have simply not been able to find a way to spring their talisman out of that bear-trap, not found a way to unleash him.
“On Wednesday though, they came up with a sting of a different sort — encourage the defence to use two, three, even four men to suppress him, and then switch swiftly to feed others.
“Yet Klopp himself must take massive credit for a game-plan that clearly bamboozled Watford.”
And elaborating further, Maddock felt that Origi in particular benefitted from this tactic as it afforded the Belgian plenty of space to shine on the left:
“Origi powered down the left, relishing the extra territory Salah’s mesmeric meanderings delivered, and Milner, using his experience of operating all along that left flank, filled in brilliantly, beautifully behind and around him.”
Several Reds were praised for top performances – in particular Mane and Trent…
Jackson lauded Alexander-Arnold’s performance, labelling the quality of the youngster’s crossing as Steven-Gerrard-esque:
“The young Scouser picked up assists for both of Mane’s goals, with the first a cross that Steven Gerrard would have been proud of.
“He offered lung-busting energy, technical quality and defensive calm throughout, making himself a firm Man of the Match contender.”
Price thought Mane “thrived” under the responsibility of being the focal point of the attack:
“Appeared to thrive with the responsibility of being Liverpool’s attacking focal point.
“One of the smallest players of the pitch scored with a leaping header before grabbing his second with an outrageous back-heel.”
The Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe lauded the work of Van Dijk and Fabinho and thinks the strength of Liverpool’s spine with those two players in could carry the Reds over the line:
“They were seeking their fourth consecutive clean sheet here, and while Van Dijk offers the defensive security, it has not gone unnoticed on Merseyside how Fabinho has evolved into the club’s most complete midfield shield.
“The strength of this spine may see them through the final 10 Premier League fixtures.”
Jackson felt Fabinho turned in “one of his best performances yet” and believes the Brazilian is becoming the “elite” defensive midfielder the Reds have missed since Javier Mascherano:
“The Brazilian enjoyed one of his best performances yet on Wednesday, showcasing everything good about a top-class No. 6.
“Liverpool have missed an elite player in that defensive midfield slot ever since Mascherano traded Merseyside for Barcelona nine years ago, but Fabinho is the man to finally fill the void.”
Rabinowitz was pleased to see a much-improved performance from Mohamed Salah:
“It’s not often Liverpool score five goals and Salah isn’t involved in any of them, but this was a much improved display after his peripheral showing at Old Trafford.
“The Egyptian constantly got himself on the ball, dribbled aggressively at Watford‘s back line and was unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet on several occasions, notably hitting the post in the first half.”
And finally, Wells thought Origi showed what he can offer as a useful backup option and thinks the Belgian can still have a future at Anfield:
“The 23-year-old has seemed to push his way from forgotten man to backup to the front three.
“If he has a good end to the season, he may well be sticking around next term.”