“True great” Salah inspires the “mood-lifting” comeback required – Media on Liverpool 2-1 Bournemouth

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The media thought Liverpool’s 2-1 comeback win against Bournemouth was exactly what the Reds needed and lauded Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane’s impacts.

The Reds made a much-needed return to winning ways at Anfield thanks to an excellent turnaround against a lively Bournemouth side.

Liverpool needed to fight back after woeful officiating saw the Reds fall behind to Callum Wilson’s goal, and Salah and Mane stepped up to deliver, completing a fine comeback.

Jurgen Klopp’s side showed fighting spirit to battle back and then get over the line, and it leaves the Reds just three wins away from being crowned champions.

Here is all the key analysis from the media reflecting on the victory.

 

The media explained how the win – particularly the manner of it – was just what Liverpool required…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 7, 2020: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Neil Jones, for Goal.com, assessed that the win “was exactly what the league leaders needed” and believes the victory will transform the mood ahead of Atletico’s visit:

After three defeats in four matches, and one or two questions asked of Klopp and his players, this was exactly what the league leaders needed. A mood lifter, you could call it.

The Guardian’s Andy Hunter praised Liverpool for holding their nerve and showing character to fight back to produce the response needed after recent patchy form:

In that respect Liverpool met their manager’s demands perfectly, holding their nerve after falling behind early and then hauling themselves into the lead with two goals in eight minutes.

The character on display was impressive but it was not the form of champions-elect that eased Anfield’s anxiety.

ESPN’s James Capps thinks the nature of the comeback will provide a confidence boost:

Coming from behind to claim three important points should provide something of a boost for a Liverpool side that had been going through a bit of a rough patch, and getting though the game without any further injuries ahead of the crucial Champions League round-of-16 second leg against Atletico Madrid will be a relief for manager Jurgen Klopp.

Richard Jolly, writing for The National, pointed out that Liverpool’s two goals came from Klopp’s ideal football, with this something that could help the Reds rediscover what they do best:

The merits of Klopp’s counter-pressing football were shown as Bournemouth were twice caught in possession and Liverpool scurried away to score.

 

Reporters were not convinced of Liverpool’s performance, assessing that the result was better than the display…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 7, 2020: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (L) and Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jones thought there was an evident tension in the performance and felt Liverpool needed to be more clinical in killing off the game once and for all:

Liverpool had looked set to go and dominate from 2-1, but there is a hint of tension around Anfield at present.

Understandable perhaps, given the circumstances and the recent injury to first-choice goalkeeper Alisson, but it will annoy Klopp that his team were unable to kill the game off.

Capps was concerned by how Liverpool struggled to prevent and deal with Bournemouth’s counter-attacks:

There was a real vulnerability about the Liverpool back four on the counter-attack in the opening 20 minutes, with simple balls over the top causing plenty of problems for a Reds backline that had looked impregnable up until a couple of weeks ago.

The Mirror’s Alex Milne thought Jordan Henderson’s absence was felt again, as Bournemouth exploited a lack of “leadership and steel” in the middle of the park without the captain:

It is no coincidence that the Reds’ recent struggles have correlated with his absence, and there is a real lack of leadership and steel in the middle of the park when he is not there.

Bournemouth found it far too easy to exploit the central positions in the first half, and although it didn’t matter in the end, a better team could have punished Liverpool today.

Jolly explained how Atletico Madrid will have taken real encouragement from how the Reds fell behind and struggled against counter-attacks and on set-pieces:

This was a fifth consecutive game in which they had trailed. A previously watertight rearguard has developed holes and their porousness should encourage Atletico Madrid in their quest for an away goal on Wednesday.

Set-piece problems have developed and, after a corner, Adrian pushed the outstanding Ake’s header on to the bar.

Meanwhile, Milne thinks Liverpool have no chance against Atletico if the Reds produce a similar level of performance as against the Cherries:

They have, of course, set expectations perhaps unrealistically high this season, but if they play anywhere near this level against Atletico on Wednesday they will have no chance of making it to a third successive Champions League final.

 

The watching journalists were in awe of Salah and Mane’s match-transforming impacts…

Salah and Mane celebrate ((Mike Egerton/PA)

The Mirror’s Andy Dunn waxed lyrical on Mane’s performance, and believes the Senegalese No.10 should be crowned PFA Player of the Year for his form this season:

But the architect of this victory was the man who would be the worthiest winner of individual trophies.

[…]

But this was another Liverpool win made by Sadio Mane. Liverpool’s main man, the Premier League’s main man.

Milne praised Salah for delivering a brilliant finish when Liverpool most needed it and believes the Egyptian will be remembered as a Premier League great for his sensational time at Anfield:

Time after time Salah digs his team out of trouble with a moment of magic, and at this scoring rate he could be remembered as a true Premier League great in the future.

The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle was full of praise for Salah and took the chance to state that the Egyptian deserves more credit for what he has done during his time on Merseyside:

The Egyptian will, you suspect, always be judged by that remarkable debut season in which he plundered 44 goals.

[…]

Salah has been, and will remain, key to such an astonishing effort. Don’t forget that.

On a similar train of thought, the Mail’s Dominic King believes Salah is up there with Anfield’s best ever players, and labelled the Egyptian Liverpool’s “finest forward of the modern era”:

This is the company Salah is keeping and in no way is he out of place. When you bestow greatness on forwards, there are certain criteria they must for fulfil for the claim to be credible – do they score in big games? How often do they score? What type of goals do they conjure? Look at Salah and you will see he ticks every box.

[…]

Be under no illusion that Salah is a great. He is more than that. He is the club’s finest forward of the modern era.

Elsewhere, Standard Sport’s David Lynch thought Fabinho endured another disappointing outing as his struggle for form continues:

His struggles since returning from injury continued with another mixed performance. Second to far too many loose balls in midfield and struggled to find his passing range.

Dunn assessed that Virgil van Dijk was back to his best:

After a couple of ropey performances, he was something like his assured best here, an intelligent interception and pass creating Liverpool’s second goal.

And finally, Milne reserved a word of praise for James Milner, noting how the vice-captain showed just how valuable he still is with a selfless and solid performance at left-back:

He was seen bellowing instructions in the warm-up, and was a picture of focus as he led the team out of the tunnel.

[…]

Among his team of star names, Milner continues to be just as valuable as ever to Klopp.

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