“Disgraceful” challenges & Reds struggling for rhythm – Media on Liverpool 1-2 Sevilla

22 July 2019

A 2-1 loss to Sevilla saw Liverpool fall to a second successive pre-season defeat, but it was the Spaniards’ unruly challenges which dominated the headlines.


The Reds were in Boston for the second game of their US tour, and the fourth so far this pre-season, on Sunday.

The game offered Jurgen Klopp’s men an opportunity to swiftly return to winning ways after succumbing to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Borussia Dortmund two days prior.

Divock Origi scored on the cusp of half-time to put Liverpool back on equal footing after Nolito had edged the Spanish side ahead, only for Alejandro Pozo to net late on and clinch victory for Sevilla.

However, while the match provided another platform for the players to boost their fitness ahead of the new season, the encounter was marred by Sevilla’s unwarranted physicality.

Here’s how the media viewed the Reds’ performance and the events which surrounded it on a sweltering day in Boston.

 

Journalists were disturbed by the shocking ‘tackles’ on display from Sevilla…

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, USA - Sunday, July 21, 2019: Liverpool's Yasser Larouci is taken off on a stretcher during a friendly between Liverpool FC and Sevilla FC at Fenway Park on day six of the club's pre-season tour of America. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There were a whole host of reckless and distasteful ‘tackles’ throughout the game where more than one warranted a red card, but Joris Gnagnon’s ‘challenge’ on Yasser Larouci rightly saw him given his marching orders.

Writing for ESPN, Melissa Reddy thought there would only be one lasting memory from the fixture, and it was not the goals or skill on show:

It will be the tackles that live long in the memory from the encounter rather than the goals.

Liverpool.com’s Kristian Walsh felt similarly having found the “challenge” on Larouci as one of “cowardice” which will mar any memory from the game:

There are no words for the cowardice of his challenge on Yasser Larouci. Larouci, 18, without a senior minute to his name.

[…]

It is something few will forget. After a fantastic weekend, it is a shame it will be remembered in the short-term for the night everything boiled over.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, USA - Sunday, July 21, 2019: Sevilla FC's Joris Gnagnon (#24) is shown a red card and sent off during a friendly between Liverpool FC and Sevilla FC at Fenway Park on day six of the club's pre-season tour of America. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Likewise, the Mirror’s Chris McKenna was quick to reiterate that this was a pre-season friendly, not a “European Cup” final like Sevilla seemed to think it was:

Somebody should have told Sevilla that the outcome of this match didn’t matter.

Because, judging by the way they launched into tackles, it looked like they were playing for the European Cup.

For Dominic King, writing for the Daily Mail, it was surprising that only one player received a red card after Sevilla’s players displayed a “disgraceful” level of behaviour throughout:

The behaviour of some Sevilla players was disgraceful and it was a surprise that they only had one man sent-off.

 

The media lauded the performance and confidence on show from Origi…

BRADFORD, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 13, 2019: Liverpool's Divock Origi during a pre-season friendly match between Bradford City AFC and Liverpool FC at Valley Parade. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds’ sole goal scorer on the day in Origi received widespread praise for his performance, where McKenna was quick to point out he is a player not short on confidence:

He looks like a player with a lot more confidence and is now going to be a vital weapon from the bench for the Reds.

The Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe is predicting the Belgian to have a hand in creating more lasting memories for the club in the season to come:

Divock Origi has looked the sharpest of all Liverpool’s strikers. In fact, he has looked as strong as anyone in any position.

[…]

The 24-year-old’s all-round game is rapidly improving, adding to his already established knack for goals.

He looks in the right shape to create plenty more memories for the club.

For This Is Anfield’s Karl Matchett, Origi’s form comes as a boost for the start of the season as Liverpool’s prolific attacking trio will likely need time to find their sharpness.

And Simon Mignolet and Dejan Lovren’s performances at Fenway Park also received praise:

It’s great to see Origi showing goalscoring form over the summer, as we’ll need him to do the same once competitive action starts, with the regular three no doubt lacking sharpness.

[…]

Mignolet played the second half in goal, made a good double save early on and dealt well with aerial balls too.

Lovren showed a more restrained, mature performance than he has done in other pre-season games. The one mark against his name was the late winning goal, where he was caught woefully out of position against the counter-attack.

 

Overall, there were mixed views on the Reds’ performance due to a host of ‘mitigating’ factors…

Matchett was of the view that Liverpool had a “mixed” performance against a side which offered a completely different test to those before them:

Less possession, more tracking and running, dealing with a side very good in the air in the first half: this was a completely new test for the summer and the Reds had a mixed time of matters, in fairness.

For Doyle, the Reds need to show signs of improvement, and quickly, as the “clock is ticking” ahead of the league opener:

For a variety of reasons, not least the conditions and the absentees, the Reds aren’t really firing at present.

The step-up in class of opponent on the US tour has exposed, understandably, the difference the missing players make to the squad.

[…]

But it’s clear improvement is now required. With less than three weeks to go until the start of the Premier League season, the clock is ticking.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, USA - Sunday, July 21, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during a friendly against Sevilla FC at Fenway Park on day six of the club's pre-season tour of America. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was another “disappointing” performance for Bascombe, despite taking the heat and training twice on the eve of a match into consideration:

Performances have been disappointing, regardless of mitigating factors.

And finally, Walsh was of similar mind that the Reds were not at their best, but the result was secondary after the blow to Larouci:

In truth, they struggled to regain a rhythm after the injury interruption. After the blow to Larouci, the result really does not matter, even to 10-man Sevilla.

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