The media were full of praise for Liverpool‘s return to form after securing a 3-1 win over Lyon in their final pre-season friendly.
The Reds made the short journey to Geneva from their training base in Evian, France for the clash against the Ligue 1 side and were buoyed by the return of five senior figures.
Jurgen Klopp welcomed Alisson, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri back into the team and starting XI for the first time this summer following their return to training earlier in the week.
Despite a shaky start after the Brazilian ‘keeper conceded a penalty after a rare handling error, Liverpool went on to dominate proceedings by piling on three unanswered goals through Firmino, Harry Wilson and an own goal from Lyon’s new centre-back.
The match signalled a newfound cohesion across the field of play for Liverpool and saw a host of players impress as the 2019/20 campaign draws ever closer.
Here’s how the media reacted to the Reds ending their streak of four games without a win in pre-season.
Journalists credited Liverpool’s upturn in form and quality to the presence of a handful of senior figures…
By no means were that quartet at top speed after four training sessions but class stands out a mile and they all have it.
Liverpool looked bright and sharp and it is no coincidence their levels improved with the return of some of their biggest names.
Similarly, ESPN’s Melissa Reddy thought the upturn in output from Klopp’s side was a “natural consequence” of the presence of all five senior staples – who, thankfully, all escaped unscathed in their first outing for Liverpool this summer:
Greater intensity, clever movement and control of the game was a natural consequence of Liverpool‘s upgrade in quality.
Klopp will have been delighted to see Alisson (62 minutes), Salah and Keita (both 45), as well as Shaqiri and Firmino (both 30), come through the friendly unscathed.
For Karl Matchett, writing for This Is Anfield, it was not simply their presence which provided a boost, as they each showed positive signs in making a quick transition back into the team:
Aside from the brilliant sight of seeing each of them in the beautiful red once more, it was largely positive from each in terms of movement and on-the-ball work, despite less than a week’s training.
This was the Keita who was hitting his stride before injury rather than the tentative Keita throughout much of his debut season.
Members of the media lauded the club’s youngsters for continuing to seize their chances to impress…
The occasion may have been dominated by the return of a number of senior figures, but the game also provided the platform for a plethora of youngsters to shine.
[Klopp] will have been enthused by the intelligence and courage of his young players: right-back Hoever was stellar in the first half with Larouci also impressing again on the opposite flank.
Harvey Elliot, 16, illustrated why Liverpool feel he is one of the best starlets in Europe with a brilliant cameo.
Likewise, King felt the Reds’ latest addition has shown he has the potential to contribute throughout the 2019/20 season, while Hoever is firmly in the discussion for a continued role in the first team:
Klopp clearly sees a player who will make a contribution this season and Elliott plainly does not lack for confidence.
Those sentiments apply to Ki-Jana Hoever [who] was booked for one impetuous tackle too many but his use of the ball was assured and his athleticism was obvious.
Finally, Matchett feels as though the plethora of youngsters who have featured throughout pre-season can emerge from the summer with confidence and with the knowledge that they have each left an impression on the manager:
They all impressed and played their part to one extent or another and all should take confidence from being involved at this point, just a few days before the season starts.
These players can head into 2019/20 firm in the knowledge that they are in Klopp’s thoughts and will get the chance to shine if they continue to progress, improve and force the manager’s hand when the opportunity to play comes along.
And reporters hailed the outing as one of the ‘most assured’ of the summer as attention turned to the season proper…
The Evening Standard‘s David Lynch felt that the performance was one of the “most assured” this summer and one which puts the Reds in good stead ahead of their trip to Wembley on Sunday:
The Reds ended a four-game winless run to earn a timely confidence boost ahead of their Community Shield meeting with Manchester City this weekend.
By the full-time whistle, Liverpool had produced one of their most assured performances of a summer that has been severely disrupted by absences.
While the chapters for the season ahead remain unwritten, King was convinced that the Reds will prove to be “fearsome opponents”:
Matchett, on the other hand, thought the win over Lyon was one which should allay any fears ahead of the new season, where results now take precedence over performance levels:
If there were any slightly panicking fans worried at the performance levels, this one should assuage most fears.
Now it’s onto the real action, the games which matter, the fixtures where conclusions will be drawn the other way around: results are everything and poor performances can be excused, if the points (or trophies) roll in.
Jürgen Klopp’s men answered their doubters emphatically tonight against Lyon, not just by beating the Ligue 1 side, but by settling back into their attacking rhythm and giving a performance in which it seemed every single player was having loads of fun.
They needed a match were they rediscovered their rhythm going forward and defended comfortably at the back. They needed a win, they needed to shake off any doubts, and they needed to have fun.