Mane “world-class” & a ‘season-defining moment’ – Media on Liverpool 2-1 Leicester

6 October 2019

The media praised Liverpool’s unrelenting determination in the 2-1 win against Leicester and were impressed with several individual performances.


James Milner’s nerveless penalty earned a dramatic late win on Brendan Rodgers’ Anfield return to extend the flawless Premier League start to eight games.

It was a huge win for the Reds against arguably the best side faced so far this season, and Klopp will be delighted by the way his side yet again found a way to get over the line.

The media were certainly full of praise for Liverpool’s doggedness, while Sadio Mane also earned plenty of plaudits.

Here is all the key analysis from the watching journalists on the crucial victory.

 

The media praised Liverpool’s determination in finding victory and for continuing to put pressure on Man City…

Liverpool players celebrate Milner's penalty vs Leicester (Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

Writing for Goal.com, Neil Jones applauded the character and never-say-die spirit that the Reds showed to dig out victory:

With that in mind, this felt like a massive afternoon. Where does this team find its reserves? Where does it pull these victories from?

The Independent’s Mark Critchley commented on the “invaluable attribute” Liverpool have developed in being able to snatch victory just when it appears two points will be dropped:

For the third consecutive league game, the three points were earned by a single goal. In a climate where draws are the new defeats, that is an invaluable quality.

The Mirror’s Steve Bates wrote how Liverpool’s sheet refusal to accept defeat is “one of the biggest weapons” the Reds have in favour in the title race:

In the end Liverpool refused to be beaten – and that’s one of the biggest weapons in their favour in this title race.

Jones assessed Milner’s penalty was already a season-defining moment as it ensured the Reds came through one of the toughest tests of the season with victory:

There are moments which can define a season, but you don’t expect them to arrive in October.

[…]

This was a tight one. Leicester came to play and have more quality than most sides who will come here this season.

Standard Sport’s David Lynch thinks that Liverpool winning in such a manner will strike a psychological blow to Man City even at this early stage:

It is the sort of moment that can land a mental blow in a title race as tight as this one, and the Reds will hope that proves to be the case when their rivals play tomorrow.

The Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst thinks the sizeable points gap opened by the Reds at the top of the table will already be unnerving Pep Guardiola’s side:

How disheartening it must be for Pep Guardiola and his side to know that this relentless Liverpool outfit, a side who chased them down so hard last season, a team who forced them to with their last 14 games to win the title by a single, solitary point, now have more than their noses in front with over two months of the campaign done and dusted.

 

Reporters were impressed by the dominance of the display but feel the Reds must become more clinical…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

First of all, the Mirror’s Mark Jones thought Klopp’s rearranged attack didn’t work, and assessed that the switch back to the traditional set-up was key to Liverpool’s breakthrough:

Roberto Firmino started off the left, Sadio Mane off the right and Mohamed Salah through the middle, and while Liverpool started brightly their output faded as Leicester got a foothold.

Klopp then opted to switch back to the usual the front three’s usual positions towards the end of the first half, and Mane almost immediately scored.

However, Lynch was most impressed by how the Reds restricted Leicester’s supply to Jamie Vardy to negate the Foxes biggest goal threat:

The Reds had also done brilliantly to negate Jamie Vardy by completely cutting off his supply line in midfield, meaning that the Foxes carried very little threat of their own throughout.

ESPN’s Tom Fenton bemoaned Liverpool’s wasteful finishing and assessed that the Reds need to start converting more chances before it proves costly:

Liverpool could have, and perhaps should have, been 3-0 up at half-time, with Mane managing to squander a fine opportunity just after the break.

On today’s evidence, chancer conversion — which was also an issue against Sheffield United — will surely be Klopp’s biggest source of frustration.

 

The watching journalists lauded Mane’s performance and assessed the No.10 as the man for the big occasion…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Liverpool's Sadio Mane during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The BBC’s Phil McNulty is in no doubt that Mane is a world-class operator and praised the No.10 for stepping up at a vital time:

The Senegal forward now has world-class status and came to Liverpool’s aid once more when it looked like the visitors would repeat their feat of last season and leave Anfield with a draw.

Mark Jones was impressed by how Mane dealt with the extra defensively responsibility Klopp gave him against Ben Chilwell, thus praising the Senegalese’s team-first ethic:

Seeing him on the right in the first half proved to be something of a throwback too, and the way defending against the raiding Ben Chilwell showed his true worth to this side.

The biggest praise came again from Mark Jones, who labelled Mane Klopp’s best signing since taking charge at Anfield:

So that’s now 50 Liverpool goals in 100 games for Mane, as the Senegalese provided more evidence that he might just be Klopp’s best bit of business.

 

There was also praise for Milner and Dejan Lovren on their recalls to the starting XI…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Liverpool's James Milner celebrates after scoring the winning second goal, an injury time penalty, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fenton heaped praise on the experienced duo for delivering the reliable performances Klopp will have wanted and noted how this provide assurances over the Reds’ squad depth:

Perhaps most pleasing to Jurgen Klopp will be the contributions of players like James Milner and Dejan Lovren, with both coming into the starting line up in place of key players.

Milner was brilliant throughout, assisting for Mane’s goal, while Lovren provided some security in the back line, forming a solid enough partnership with Virgil van Dijk.

Mark Jones thought Lovren justified Klopp’s decision to start him, and explained that the Croatian’s aggressive style and awareness to danger is why Klopp chose him for such a game:

The fact is, though, that the German has always valued Lovren’s ability to front-foot defend, and to get out ahead of a problem before it develops.

That problem here was Jamie Vardy, and he did so very impressively.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Liverpool's Dejan Lovren during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lynch feels Lovren’s selection and performance will take the Croatian ahead of Joe Gomez in the centre-back pecking order:

As such, his move up the pecking order represents a major concern for Gomez, whose minutes have already been limited by Joel Matip’s form.

Gorst believes Klopp should be doing all in his power to tie Milner down to a new deal, with the vice-captain’s contract currently set to expire at the end of the season:

The veteran is the elder statesman in this Liverpool squad and with his contract situation now firmly in focus, the Reds would be wise to try and wrap up an extension for the evergreen midfielders sooner rather than later.

Elsewhere, Mark Jones thought Adrian had another “excellent” afternoon but feels this will be the Spaniard’s last game as No.1 with Alisson returning after the international break:

You’d expect that will now be it for Adrian’s short time as Liverpool No.1, with Alisson said to be on the verge of a return even for this match.

The Brazilian will surely play at Old Trafford after the international break though, meaning that the former West Ham man can retire to the bench. He was largely excellent here, but could have done better with the goal.

And finally, the Telegraph’s Jim White thought Leicester’s James Maddison gave a performance that showed he would be a welcome addition at Anfield:

One of the few Premier League players beyond the confines of Manchester City who would not look out of place in a Liverpool shirt, Maddison finally made the difference for the visitors.

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