“Awesome” title win highlighted as Reds receive complacency reminder – Media on Man City 4-0 Liverpool

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The media felt Liverpool’s 4-0 loss at Man City showed “just how awesome” this title win was but felt Pep Guardiola’s side proved a point ahead of next season.

The Reds’ first outing as reigning champions didn’t quite go according to plan, with a rare defeat arriving at the Etihad.

It means just the 20 points now separates the newly crowned title winners from the preceding holders, and leaves Liverpool with a maximum possible points tally of only 104.

On a more serious note, Klopp’s side didn’t cover themselves in glory and all will want to respond with a performance befitting of being kings of England against Aston Villa.

Here’s all the key analysis from the media.

 

Reporters debated whether this was a marker laid down by City or a meaningless result given the circumstances…

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 2, 2020: Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. This was Liverpool's first game as Premier League 2019/20 Champions. (Pic by Propaganda)

The Mirror’s David Maddock totally understood Liverpool’s drop-off but stated that it is important the Reds perform well for the remainder of the campaign with next season not far away:

This season is done, but next season starts in barely a few weeks. The Liverpool manager has already suggested his side must treat this as an extended season, the two merging into each other. Which is why he insisted there could be no let up, party or not.

And this defeat hands an initiative to City for next season – when you just know they will come back stronger, more hungry – ready for the challenge.

The BBC’s Shamoon Hafez thought a drop off was to be expected, given the celebrations, but also wants to see the Reds bounce back in order to stop a brilliant season just petering out:

Liverpool will want to pick themselves up quickly for their remaining six games and not let their superb season fizzle away.

The Independent’s Miguel Delaney dismissed suggestions that this loss has any relevance due to the Reds’ exceptional circumstances:

As bad as it looks for Liverpool, and as much as Manchester City wanted to make a point, this individual match won’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. There are simply too many caveats.

However, the Mirror’s Alex Richards was among several journalists who explained that this will have given City a big confidence boost for their attempts to reclaim the title next season:

But such a commanding performance may just give City the confidence they need that next season they can reclaim that Premier League trophy from the Reds.

One of the truest sign of a great team is how they bounce back from adversity, and City will be itching to go again in the next campaign and wipe the smiles off Liverpool faces. It could be an absolutely fascinating title race, and one which will surely be closer than this seasons.

In a somewhat over-the-top assessment, the Independent’s Mark Critchley went as far as to say that City have already struck the first blow in next season’s title race:

It was an irrelevance in terms of what happens between now and the end of the campaign.

City, though, will take both solace from beating the best team in the country in such an authoritative manner, and belief that they have struck the first blow in next season’s race.

 

Members of the media dissected Liverpool’s off-night…

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 2, 2020: Liverpool’s goalkeeper Alisson Becker (L) and Joe Gomez looks dejected as Manchester City score the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. This was Liverpool's first game as Premier League 2019/20 Champions. (Pic by Propaganda)

Firstly, Richards believes the loss will have stung Klopp due to the fact a full-strength team was fielded and with potential records at stake:

But Klopp named a full-strength side to win this football match, make no mistake. The German has his eyes trained on a number of records that are within touching distance.

So while there may well be messages in the coming days that, actually, this doesn’t matter all that much – and in the grand scheme of things, perhaps it doesn’t – don’t be fooled; Klopp will have been furious at what happened here.

ESPN’s Tom Fenton didn’t think the display was as bad as the score suggested, and felt the Reds should have found the net:

There were some positive takeaways though, such as Fabinho‘s sharp work in midfield and the regularity with which Liverpool managed to get in behind the City backline.

Unfortunately for the travellers, they were unable to capitalise on these promising scenarios.

Some surprisingly bad decision making was the root cause of Liverpool’s off-night, in the view of the Independent’s Melissa Reddy:

They wasted early opportunities and then, quite atypically, looked washed in their decision-making.

The Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst assessed Joe Gomez and Andy Robertson as particularly poor on the night:

The Reds looked ill at ease throughout with Joe Gomez and Andy Robertson both enduring rare off nights.

Richards wrote how Joe Gomez lost the personal battle against Raheem Sterling:

But he [Gomez] ended up, like his teammates, having a pretty torrid time. Not only did he give away the penalty and get left on his backside for the second, he was also booked in the first half, and duly Klopp added insult to injury by hauling him off at half-time.

The 23-year-old will certainly not look back on tonight’s encounter with fond memories. It will be intriguing to see how Gomez and Sterling’s personal duel develops next season.

Fenton was not impressed with Alisson and labelled the Brazilian’s performance “dreadful”:

A dreadful match for the Brazilian stopper, who arguably could have done better with two or three of City’s goals. A night to forget.

 

Certain journalists felt Liverpool were given an early indication of the challenge that awaits in retaining the title…

Manchester City form a guard of honour for newly crowned Premier League Champions Liverpool before the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday July 2, 2020. See PA story SOCCER Man City.{Image: Peter Powell/NMC Pool/PA Wire.)

The defeat showed the Reds just how difficult it will be to retain the Premier League trophy against an even more hungry and improved City side, in the view of Neil Jones for Goal.com:

Liverpool may be 20 points clear – crowned the new Premier League champions a week ago – but they won’t have it as easy next season.

[…]

Those who think Guardiola’s side are finished, that next year’s title race is a foregone conclusion, should think again. This was Liverpool’s strongest starting XI, even if they performed far from their best, but City started without Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho. […] And City still toyed with Liverpool.

Gorst thinks the defeat will prove useful as it will hand a reminder to the Reds that there can be no complacency when competing against a top-class outfit like City:

These two teams will be the main challengers next season, and if this game reminds Liverpool there can’t be any complacency as they begin to contemplate the defence of their title, then it will have served a vital purpose.

Meanwhile, Standard Sport’s David Lynch believes Klopp should start preparing for that immediately by handing those who will be more involved next season outings in the remaining games:

But, with this fixture out of the way, the Liverpool manager will want to use the remaining games of this season learning crucial lessons for the next one – and that should start on Sunday.

Second-half substitutes as the Reds toiled here, Naby Keita, Takumi Minamino and Neco Williams are all expected to play more significant roles in the 2019-20 campaign. If that is to be the case, then they need more playing time in order to be ready, and this weekend’s visit of struggling Aston Villa to Anfield is the perfect opportunity.

 

Reporters took a moment to praise the quality of the two teams and can only see another two horse race for the title next season…

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 2, 2020: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. This was Liverpool's first game as Premier League 2019/20 Champions. (Pic by Propaganda)

The Telegraph’s Jason Burt wrote how City’s display further emphasised “just how awesome” Liverpool have been to overpower a team of such quality and take the title to Anfield:

It is days like these when you do wonder how City are so far behind Liverpool which says as much about their own inconsistency as it does just how awesome Klopp’s team have been this season even if there is a large amount of mitigation for the visitors on this occasion.

Delaney reflected on the season and sheer quality of both sides, explaining how both managers have learned from each other and adapted their teams as this rivalry has developed:

While their fundamental philosophies are from different tactical ideas, it is by now clear both managers have taken something from the other.

He’s [Klopp] added a composure that runs through the side, and has been seen in games over the past two years where they’ve had to be more patient. There was even a little of it on show here, in some of the early chances that Liverpool did have.

Guardiola has meanwhile added a greater directness to his teams from his time in Germany, where Klopp’s counter-pressing Borussia Dortmund was so influential.

And the same reporter can only see these two teams dominating the league and coming head-to-head for the title again, with City and the Reds streets ahead of the rest:

The truly important point is that both represent the peak of the modern game, the dichotomy that dominates that, that has moved on from the old dialectics of attack vs defence. Both are fundamentally forward-thinking.

[…]

These two teams are the present, and the future. Liverpool showed that all season. City showed that on the day. They now need to show it again in August, to really prove the point.

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