“Best display of 2019” delivers “statement victory” – Media on Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth

10 February 2019

The media thought Liverpool produced their best display of 2019 in the 3-0 win over Bournemouth and praised the Reds for bouncing back strongly.


Pressure? What pressure?

There was no sign of nerves as Jurgen Klopp’s side marched past the Cherries and back into top spot of the Premier League.

Sadio Mane headed home to open the scoring with his fourth goal in as many games, before a sensational lob from Gini Wijnaldum gave the Reds a cushion.

Mohamed Salah’s cool finish wrapped up victory after half-time and Liverpool could – and should – have gone on to knock up a cricket score.

It was a great performance nonetheless and Klopp will be delighted with the efforts of his players and the Anfield crowd, who delivered on calls for a big atmosphere.

Here’s what the media made of the victory.

 

The media praised Liverpool for producing a strong response to the recent blip

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 9, 2019: Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce labelled the performance “sparkling” and said the Reds gave an emphatic answer to claims of bucking under the pressure:

This sparkling performance – packed with quality, pace, hunger and passion – made a mockery of claims that either the manager or his players are crumbling under the pressure.

The Independent’s Simon Hughes labelled it a “statement victory” and assessed the display as Liverpool’s best in 2019 so far:

This felt like a statement performance and a statement victory.

[…]

Yet this was their best display of 2019 so far and it probably matters because they look convincing again.

The Mail’s Rob Draper lauded the performance as a great display of and welcome return to Klopp’s heavy-metal football:

This was Jurgen Klopp hitting all the right notes of his heavy metal football: controlled yet rapid changes of tempo to dislocate the opposition.

Writing for Goal.com, Neil Jones thought that Liverpool “looked back to their old selves”:

Just as importantly, they looked back to their old selves in dispatching Bournemouth at Anfield.

And the Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle felt it was reassuring to see Liverpool looking confident again after the recent blip:

The manner of the performance bore all the hallmarks of a side that hasn’t lost any of the belief that has now seen them negotiate 26 Premier League games with only one defeat.

 

Reporters discussed the main improvements in Liverpool’s performance to recent games

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 9, 2019: Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

First off, Richard Jolly, writing for The National, felt Klopp’s decision to revert to the tried-and-trusted 4-3-3 formation helped bring the sparkle back to Liverpool’s play:

Klopp revisited the recent past, reverted to 4-3-3 and his players looked liberated as they played with more speed and intensity.

ESPN’s Glenn Price thought Liverpool’s “sharper” pressing and improved creativity were the key differences:

Liverpool’s pressing was much sharper, as was their ability to break down a congested and narrow opposition.

Doyle was most impressed with the slick combination play between the front three:

But the crispness of the Reds’ play – once again employing a 4-3-3 formation – the effectiveness of the pressing and the combinations up top would have been difficult for any team to handle.

The Guardian’s Paul Wilson noted that Liverpool provided a nice reminder that they can still overwhelm opponents with an attacking blitz:

City can regain the leadership by beating Chelsea on Sunday but Liverpool will then have a game in hand, a rest until the Champions League resumes with the visit of Bayern Munich and the knowledge that they can still overwhelm opponents when the need arises.

 

Reporters were impressed with Liverpool’s midfield – and in particular Wijnaldum’s performance

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 9, 2019: Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

First of all, our man Joel Rabinowitz praised Klopp for getting his midfield selection spot on, assessing that the German “struck the perfect balance”:

Fielding arguably the strongest lineup available to him given the current state of the squad, Klopp struck the perfect balance in midfield, as Fabinho, Keita and Wijnaldum dovetailed to great effect.

Plenty was written on Wijnaldum and our own Karl Matchett felt the Dutchman showed his importance and explained how he excelled:

Returning to the lineup at Anfield on Saturday, the Dutchman showcased his importance and his ability once more.

[…]

Effectively playing as the right-sided of two No. 8s in a midfield three, Gini was a constant runner from deep into the channels, constantly looking to link with the front three and getting himself into the penalty area more often than the central players have of late.

Standard’s Sports David Lynch believes Wijnaldum has proven himself as Liverpool’s key midfielder this season, and feels the Reds’ success could hinge on the Dutchman staying fit:

This season, Wijnaldum has established himself as the man who makes Liverpool tick in the middle of the park courtesy of a potent mix of positional nous, vision, and patience in possession.

[…]

The Reds desperately need his latest injury lay-off to be the last of 2018-19 if they are to win the title.

The Mail’s Joe Bernstein waxed lyrical about Wijnaldum’s display and believes the Dutchman is as important to Liverpool as Fernandinho is to Man City:

With his energy, runs off the ball and technical capabilities, it was back to the old Liverpool with the 28-year-old keeping the attacking carousel moving […] There is a reason Klopp picks Wijnaldum more regularly than any other Liverpool midfield.

[…]

Like Fernandinho at Manchester City, he is irreplaceable and the ovation he received when he was replaced by Klopp 14 minutes from the end was fit for a hero.

Meanwhile, Lynch also singled out Naby Keita for praise and noted how the Guinean looks to be discovering form as a result of growing confidence:

Following on from a massively improved second-half showing in the capital, Keita was in fine form here, and his confidence only seemed to grow as the hosts added goals.

[…]

Thankfully, it now appears that the former RB Leipzig man is starting to live up to the high expectations, even if patience is still likely to be required at times.

Fabinho’s excellence wasn’t forgotten and Rabinowitz focussed on how the Brazilian “thrived” as Liverpool’s midfield anchor:

Much of Fabinho’s best football this season has come while playing alongside Wijnaldum, and while the two started together here, the Brazilian was the deepest of Liverpool’s midfield trio and thrived in the No.6 role, providing the basis to allow Wijnaldum and Naby Keita to get forward and join the attack.

His distribution was excellent, varying between accurate long passes out to the flanks, and short, incisive passes often into Mohamed Salah’s feet.

 

Reporters offered various alternative thoughts from individual displays to the excellent atmosphere

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 9, 2019: Liverpool supporters on the Spion Kop before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Price reflected on the recent blip and made a great point on how important it was Liverpool managed to collect what could prove vital points despite being way below par:

The title is still in their hands, and Liverpool may have emerged from a rough patch of the season with 11 points from a possible 18.

Matchett felt the biggest positive was that all of the front three were in good form, with this undoubtedly holding the key to Liverpool’s success:

After a couple of below-par games from Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, all three were very much impressive and excellent at Anfield on Saturday.

[…]

The pace of the game was better thanks to their movement and ability to play off each other, tearing Bournemouth‘s defence apart with increasing regularity. It was selfless as well as mesmerising for most of the 90 minutes, though, which bodes well for a return to top form heading into the crucial final third of the season.

On individual performance, Jones heaped praise on Mane for his superb form and attributed the Senegalese’s consistency as an underrated feature of Liverpool’s challenge:

That strike meant the Senegal star has now scored in four successive Premier League games for the first time in his career. With a dozen league goals, he is now level with Eden Hazard and closing on Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

That’s some going. Salah has been Liverpool’s headline-grabber over the past 18 months, but Mane’s consistency, and his importance to this title challenge, must not be underestimated.

Finally, Pearce praised the Anfield crowd for generating a top atmosphere and lauded the work of supporters group Spion Kop 1906 for their role in restoring “the power of Anfield”:

Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to supporters’ group Spion Kop 1906 in his programme notes and rightly so. They had taken a stand against the negativity which had seeped in following the insipid draws against Leicester and West Ham.

[…]

They had mobilised a fanbase to show up early and make a difference. The volume levels throughout were more akin to a big European night. Here was the power of Anfield.

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