Reds’ “balls of steel” made comeback “inevitable” – Media on Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham

28 October 2019

The media lauded Liverpool’s fearless mentality and the controlled manner of the 2-1 comeback win against Tottenham, while also praising Jordan Henderson.


A superb second-half comeback at Anfield ensured the Reds stay unbeaten and retain the six-point cushion on Man City.

Mohamed Salah completed the turnaround from the penalty spot, after Henderson’s finish pulled Liverpool level having fallen behind to Harry Kane’s instant opener.

It’s a huge three points and it was thoroughly deserved for a fantastic overall performance, which was Liverpool’s best of the season so far.

Here’s how the media assessed a brilliant afternoon at Anfield.

 

The media lauded Liverpool’s “balls of steel” and how the Reds coped with the pressure of the occasion…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 27, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (R) celebrates with team-mate Virgil van Dijk (L) after scoring the winning second goal from a penalty kick during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Writing for Goal.com, Neil Jones was most impressed by how Liverpool rose to the challenge and thought this win in response to Man City’s epitomised the character of the team:

They’ve got balls of steel, Jurgen Klopp’s side.

[…]

Manchester City’s routine win over Aston Villa on Saturday had cranked up the tension, but this response speaks volumes for Liverpool’s character. “Mentality giants,” Klopp calls them. They stood 10 feet tall here.

The Mirror’s David Maddock was full of praise for how Liverpool dealt with the pressure after an unideal start and feels this is “the most important quality” the Reds will need in the title race:

This season, nothing seems to rattle them, not going a goal down within the first minute, not the opposition being this dangerous on the break and creating some clear cut chances to place the game beyond them.

[…]

They can handle even the worst of scenarios it seems, and keep playing, keep pressing and keep believing. That is perhaps the most important quality of all in any side which has title pretensions.

The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle explained that the fact Man City dropped points against Tottenham makes this win even more significant:

Just 10 games into this season, this feels like a big win. Manchester City, after all, couldn’t beat Tottenham at home.

[…]

Six points clear, another hurdle negotiated. Liverpool, should the reminder be necessary, look the real deal.

And John Cross, of the Mirror, thinks Klopp’s side are doing a great job dealing with the expectation, and explained how fearlessness is driving the Reds on:

There is no sense of fear, no worry about expectation, no-one needs reminding they have not won the title for 29 years because they are fully embracing the challenge.

 

The Reds earned plenty of plaudits for the controlled manner of what seemed an ‘inevitable’ comeback…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 27, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp points to the sky during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

First of all, Richard Jolly, writing for The National, noted how it was Liverpool’s “sheer physical power” that inspired the turnaround:

It was the second successive week that they had gone behind but they showed their powers of recovery and sheer physical power to make it 45 games unbeaten at Anfield in the league.

Standard Sport’s David Lynch praised the Reds for playing with such composure despite the early goal and for continuing to stick to the game-plan without panic:

And so they simply stuck to a gameplan that saw them slowly grind down Tottenham until inevitably going ahead late in the second half.

Klopp likes to call his team “mentality giants”, but it’s getting to the point where that doesn’t do them justice.

Cross totally admired the way Liverpool showed extreme belief and wrote how there was a feeling of ‘inevitability’ that the Reds would produce the comeback:

The most impressive thing was no-one ever showed any sign of doubt.

Even at 1-0 down with the clock ticking down, you never really thought Liverpool would not come back and win. There is not even a murmur of discontent from the crowd, the players keep going, Jurgen Klopp roars them forward and you almost wait for the inevitable.

Jones was impressed by how Klopp’s side managed the game out after taking the lead – particularly praising the influences of Alisson and Fabinho:

Liverpool saw it out professionally, with Fabinho immense in the middle and Alisson the calmest man in the stadium during four excruciating minutes of added time.

Lynch lauded the role Klopp also played in this by not rushing into changes at a time it could have seen the Reds lose momentum:

Few would have been surprised if the German had turned to Oxlade-Chamberlain or Keita in search of either the equaliser or the winning goal.

But management is sometimes about holding your nerve and the Liverpool boss did that in recognising that his team were well on top and could expect to score soon enough. The momentum of the game could have changed completely had Klopp looked to his substitute’s bench too early, and three points is his reward for not doing that.

 

Several reporters praised Henderson for a performance which “answered some critics”…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 27, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates scoring the first goal to equalise the score at 1-1 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst labelled Henderson’s performance “excellent” and praised the skipper for carrying the fight when needed most:

The Reds skipper was excellent here, particularly in the second half as he took the fight to the visitors with grit, determination and no little quality when he it really mattered.

Lynch commended Henderson for bouncing back so positively to his error and felt the “captain’s goal” and overall performance showed why he is still such a key player:

His equaliser was the epitome of a captain’s goal and was supplemented by the Englishman completely running himself into the ground late on.

Maybe Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain will push Henderson out of the team eventually but, for now, his value could not be clearer.

Maddock assessed that Henderson answered his critics with the goal and explained that the captain receives unfair amount of criticism at times:

It answered some of the criticism aimed his way, criticism that rears its head far too quickly for one of the club’s great servants.

On the criticism, the Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe believes Henderson’s lack of goals is no issue in this role and thinks that the skipper with Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum is still the most suited trio:

With the work he has done as a complement to others, Liverpool have excelled rather than suffered because of this limited return.

[…]

Long-term, Liverpool’s midfield creativity will be the next area of evolution for Klopp. But this exceptional victory underlined why there is an unnecessary, premature and indecent haste to any calls for those changes to come sooner rather than later.

However, the Independent’s Mark Critchley wasn’t quite so complimentary with the overall midfield display and thinks Klopp’s “conservative” set-up is showing signs of losing its solidity:

How solid is this set up? It was a major part of the 17-game winning run, last year’s 97-point haul and winning the Champions League. Two of its members atoned by combining for the equaliser.

But Henderson’s goal and the ease with which Tottenham bypassed the Henderson-Fabinho-Wijnaldum axis on several occasions will do nothing to stop the clamour for a more adventurous midfield.

 

Members of the media provided various alternative thoughts – including praise for the Anfield crowd…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 27, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) celebrates with Sadio Mané at the final whistle during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

First up, ESPN’s Mark Ogden waxed-lyrical on Sadio Mane and explained that the unique influence and attributes the No.10 boasts make him Liverpool’s most important player:

But Mane is now just as important as those two, and he may even have usurped them both as the man that Klopp could not afford to be without, simply because he is now consistently affecting games in Liverpool’s favour.

[…]

Mane has become as important to Liverpool as Raheem Sterling is to Manchester City because he offers goals, pace, movement and that rare ability of being able to terrify the opposition.

The Telegraph’s Jason Burt singled out Fabinho as Liverpool’s star man and the driving force behind the comeback:

It was a win born of drive and holding their nerve and a win in which the outstanding performer was not, for once, any of the attacking triumvirate but Fabinho.

The lighthouse, as the Brazilian midfielder is known, showed the way.

ESPN’s Tom Fenton picked out one small negative with Liverpool’s finishing and thought the Reds should have won by a more comfortable margin:

Liverpool’s finishing will surely be a worry for Jurgen Klopp, as glaring opportunities were wasted by Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk in the first half.

The second period also saw Georginio Wijnaldum and Salah wasting golden chances, although, Salah soon made amends by converting the all-important spot-kick.

On a similar train of thought, Lynch feels one area for Liverpool to improve is finishing games off earlier, especially when so dominant:

Still, if there is one area that Klopp would like to see Liverpool improve on, it is their inability to put games to bed earlier.

[…]

If Liverpool are to ensure they don’t have to keep going at 100 miles per hour until the 90th minute every weekend, they could do with finishing their chances earlier.

Finally, Jones reserved a word of praise for the home crowd, impressed by how Liverpool fans remained positive after seeing the Reds concede early to drive the team on to respond:

How the Kop roared. They’d watched their side fall behind inside the first minute, yet still muster the spirit, the energy and the courage for a rousing comeback.

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