“Pursuit of perfection” powered by Keita’s statement display – Media on Brighton 1-3 Liverpool

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The media were impressed by Naby Keita’s ‘statement’ display in Liverpool’s 3-1 win at Brighton and praised the Reds for continuing the “pursuit of perfection.” 

The reigning champions earned a 30th Premier League win with a much-improved showing to keep a record-breaking points tally in sight.

A brace from Mohamed Salah and screamer from Jordan Henderson secured the victory which takes Jurgen Klopp’s side to within nine of setting a new Premier League record of 101.

There were plenty of impressive individual displays as the Reds were back to good form, and Klopp will be pleased with the professionalism of his side’s performance.

Here’s how the media reflected on a victorious night at the Amex Stadium.

 

The media admired Liverpool’s relentlessness and challenged the Reds to become record-breakers…

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 8, 2020: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson (C) celebrates with the opening goal scorer Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty has been extremely impressed with the way Klopp’s side have retained the same hunger and determination to keep winning games since claiming the title:

“The will to win, quality and sheer belief remains and they still have more history in their sights before the end of this stellar campaign.”

The Mail’s Sami Mokbel wrote how it is Liverpool’s “pursuit of perfection” that has set them apart from the rest this season:

“Even when victory is in the bag and, of course, the title secure – Liverpool’s pursuit of perfection is what sets them apart.

[…]

“With their first Premier League title wrapped up, you can only applaud Liverpool’s relentlessness.”

The Mirror’s John Cross thinks the Reds should go all-out in the remaining games to claim the points record in order to cement their place as the very best the Premier League has seen:

Jurgen Klopp’s men are already history makers and this team should try to break as many records as possible to mark themselves down as one of the best of all time.”

Jason Burt, of the Telegraph, believes Klopp’s men deserve to become record-breakers after producing such a dominating campaign on the way to winning the title:

“Such has been their dominance this campaign that a new highest-ever total would certainly be warranted as they defeated Brighton to become the first team to reach 30 league wins in just 34 matches.”

The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle praised the mentality Klopp’s side has in always wanting to improve and set new standards:

“The manner in which Liverpool were pouring forward in search of more goals during injury time – Virgil van Dijk’s voice booming around the empty Amex Stadium as he urged his team-mates to maintain their incredible work ethic – underlined why they remain an astonishing 23 points clear of City at the summit.

“This is a team with an insatiable hunger for success. Clearly, winning the championship alone is not enough, particularly when the chance remains to set a standard few can ever hope to emulate.”

 

Reporters felt it was an entertaining game which showed the best of Liverpool and areas to still improve in the pursuit for perfection…

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 8, 2020: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson (C) celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

The Mirror’s Jake Polden lauded the Reds’ perfect execution of Klopp’s gegenpressing game-plan, assessing “it was an absolute joy to watch”:

“Klopp’s ‘heavy metal football’ – or as it’s also known, his gegenpressing style – has been heralded ever since it arrived in England and got fans off their seats.

“And at the Amex it took centre-stage – and was an absolute joy to watch.”

Writing for Goal, Neil Jones thought the defensive display wasn’t up to the usual standards, but praised the attack for firing on all cylinders and ensuring no damage would be done:

“Liverpool did not always defend well – Joe Gomez was poor, while teenage full-back Neco Williams was substituted at half-time having been drafted in for his first Premier League start.

“But with Salah on song, the visitors always looked like they had too much, especially when they were able to introduce the likes of Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Fabinho from the bench.”

ESPN’s Nick Judd thought the Reds were a little too complacent in allowing Brighton back into the game:

“Brighton were the better side in the second half and Klopp may feel disappointed in the way his team let Brighton back into the game, especially after dominating the early exchanges.”

Elsewhere, the Independent‘s Melissa Reddy commended Brighton for sticking to their principles and believing in their own brand of football as they attempted to go toe-to-toe against Klopp’s side:

“Fourteen positions and 53 points separated the teams ahead of kick-off, but there was equality in the way they both preserved with their stylistic DNA.

Jurgen Klopp’s pressing machine met a direct and confident Brighton with clear patterns and some potent weaponry. Graham Potter’s charges could not ultimately oust the champions, but their courage and purpose in possession aligned with a refusal to cave will serve them well.”

 

Journalists were very impressed with Keita and felt the No. 8 produced a timely statement performance…

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 8, 2020: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

The Evening Standard‘s David Lynch assessed Keita’s performance as his finest in a Liverpool shirt, and felt it was a statement display from the No. 8 at a time the Reds are heavily linked with Thiago Alcantara:

“Klopp’s faith has never wavered, and the potential rewards for his patience were spelled out this evening in the form of arguably Keita’s best hour in a Liverpool shirt.

[…]

“The relentless pressing, the mazy dribbles, the brilliant vision – every facet that made the 25-year-old stand out at RB Leipzig was on show here.

[…]

“It may be a cliche that fans hate but, having been unable to consistently show his best over the last two seasons, Keita really could be like a new signing for Liverpool next time around.”

Reddy wrote how the win was “powered by Keita” and was hugely impressed with the Guinean’s all-action performance:

“Their triumph at the Amex Stadium was powered by Keita and ensured by Salah.

[…]

“Keita’s ball recoveries led to goals and he was keeping them out at the other end in-between spells of dribbling wizard. He was everywhere, doing everything and set the tone in the opening stanza of play.”

The Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst felt Keita ran the show and noted how the No. 8 showed how he can offer something unique to the midfield:

“At times, the Reds’ engine room is credited with more graft and craft, more perspiration than inspiration. Many will rightly suggest that model is working to perfection, but Keita offers something very different.

[…]

“A midfield schemer capable of dribbling and passing his way through packed backlines, the Guinea international treated the Amex like his own private playground.”

 

Reporters also praised Salah and offered reflections on Neco Williams’ first Premier League start…

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 8, 2020: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Jones wrote how Salah was “too good” for Brighton and lauded the Egyptian’s relentlessness in chasing both individual and collective glory:

“He was too good for Brighton here, profiting from the hosts’ slackness and Naby Keita’s sharpness to give his side the lead inside six minutes.

[…]

“He is relentless, the 28-year-old. He loves being the main man at Anfield, and his appetite for glory, both personal and collective, is insatiable.”

Lynch reflected on an “incredible” season for Salah and said that the Egyptian’s status as “one of world football’s elite forwards” will still be cemented even if he doesn’t win the Golden Boot:

“Jamie Vardy’s Indian summer may deny him a third consecutive Golden Boot, but make no mistake, this has been another incredible Mohamed Salah season.

[…]

“The 28-year-old’s status as one of world football’s elite forwards is safe regardless.”

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 8, 2020: Liverpool's Neco Williams during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

On Williams’ outing, Polden labelled the Welshman’s performance “brilliant” but thought Klopp was wise to withdraw the youngster at the break due to his yellow card:

“The youngster was brilliant in the first-half – his stand-out moment saw him throw him body on the line to prevent a certain goal at 2-0.

[…]

“Williams had picked up a yellow card, and with Tariq Lamptey asking questions down the right flank, the German decided a more experienced head was needed.”

And Lynch explained why Williams’ half-time withdrawal is far from a moment to forget, and noted how a first Premier League start provided a valuable learning experience:

“That will, of course, hurt the teenager, but he can console himself with the fact that he is in illustrious company in terms of getting the hook at the break this term. Both Sadio Mane and Joe Gomez have suffered that fate in recent memory.

[…]

“Klopp will no doubt spend the next few days reminding Williams of the many good things he did playing in an unfamiliar position on his first top-flight start. This game could be viewed as an important learning experience for the Wrexham-born full-back should he continue to build on his promise.”

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