A fitting finale for “finest club side in the world” – Media praise Liverpool’s title-winning campaign

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The media were full of praise for Liverpool as the Reds signed off the title-winning campaign with a “fitting” 3-1 victory at Newcastle.

The champions signed off a glorious and historic season with a deserved victory at St James’ Park to finish on a club-record 99 points.

Goals from Virgil van Dijk, Divock Origi and Sadio Mane completed a fine comeback after Dwight Gayle put the Magpies ahead inside the first 30 seconds.

It brings an end to a simply incredible campaign at Anfield, and the media were full of praise for Liverpool’s league winning efforts.

 

The media explained how the final day win was a perfect metaphor for Liverpool’s title-winning campaign…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, July 26, 2020: Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk celebrates with manager Jürgen Klopp after the final match of the FA Premier League season between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St. James' Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Liverpool won 3-1 and finished the season as Champions on 99 points. (Pic by Propaganda)

The Independent’s Melissa Reddy did exactly that, noting how one more comfortable victory was fitting in a season in which the Reds were untouchable:

Comfortably winning was a worthy way of closing a remarkable campaign, in which the Reds had no equal.

The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle noted how the intensity of the performance was once again the driving force, as the Reds’ “suffocated” their opponents in collecting the final three points:

And the manner in which they eventually suffocated the hosts into submission underlined why Jurgen Klopp’s side have utterly destroyed the opposition this season.

[…]

That it finished 3-1 was kind to Newcastle, who by full-time were simply glad it was all over, so bewildered had they become at the rapier-like incisions from the effortlessly elegant and ruthless Liverpool attack.

The Mirror’s Simon Bird focused on how Liverpool’s hunger for success drove the Reds to finish strongly, and thinks this mindset will drive Klopp’s side to sustain the domestic dominance:

History makers and still wanting more. Even with a starting XI which read like a second-string. It’s the kind of attitude that turns one title season into a multi-winning dynasty.

[…]

But, on this evidence, Liverpool are clearly hungry for more success again next season.

ESPN’s James Capps credited Liverpool for responding typically strongly after falling behind, admiring the Reds’ composure and dominance thereafter to go and win the game:

The response to going behind so early on was excellent, and it was only a matter of time before Liverpool’s dominance on the ball hammered out a route back into the game.

 

Reporters again praised Liverpool’s Premier League triumph and debated whether this is the best team Anfield has seen…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 22, 2020: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson (C) celebrates with the Premier League trophy as the Reds are crowned Champions after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Dejan Lovren, goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst summed up the Reds’ achievement by simply labelling Klopp’s team “the finest club side in the world”:

The most recent winners of the Premier League, Champions League and Club World Cup, at peak intensity, are the finest club side in the world.

And Doyle believes that Klopp’s men have now proved themselves to be Liverpool’s best-ever side:

But the facts present a compelling case for Klopp’s side being the best-ever to pull on the famous red shirt.

[…]

However, neither side [the teams of 1977 & 1984] followed their European triumph by winning the title. Only the 1981 team and the current vintage have managed that. And none other than this team have been crowned world champions, the first English club in history to also claim the UEFA Super Cup and clinch the international treble in the same year.

It is Liverpool’s “sheer consistency and mental strength” that makes Klopp’s side the best of the best, in Doyle’s view:

Then there is the sheer consistency and mental strength of Klopp’s men. Earning 97 points last season – the third-highest total in the history of English top-flight football – and not winning the title hurt.

Liverpool could easily have sulked. Instead, they brushed themselves down and went even better. Astonishing.

Writing for Goal.com, Neil Jones attributed the environment in which Klopp has created, that encourages elite performance from a collective effort, as the key behind the Reds’ success:

Maybe one of Klopp’s biggest achievements has been to create an environment in which everyone feels valued, where everyone believes they have a role to play, whether from the start or off the bench.

Few teams, few managers, are able to strike that kind of balance, where back-up players are as focused and as motivated as the regulars.

 

Journalists were impressed with Naby Keita once again and expect big things from the No.8 next season…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, June 21, 2019: Liverpool’s Naby Keita walks off the pitch at half-time during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 236th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Guardian’s Louise Taylor assessed Keita was once again the driving force behind the win, and believes the Guinean can ensure the Reds stay at the top next season:

Naby Keïta assumed centre stage as Liverpool again emphasised why it would take a particularly brave pundit to predict any flattening of their upward trajectory next season.

With the Guinean dominating midfield, Jürgen Klopp’s champions recovered from a slow start to ensure Steve Bruce’s bold pre-match talk of Newcastle “moving onwards and upwards” was made to look a tad optimistic.

The Mirror’s Darren Wells is expecting Keita to take centre stage as Liverpool attempt to defend the title:

The midfielder has been excellent since the restart having finally managed to regain his fitness.

He was at the centre of all of Liverpool’s good play going forward here, and looked their most dangerous player. His ability to work in tight areas and wriggle clear of defenders is a real asset to his side, and you feel there is plenty more still to come.

 

Members of the media also saw positive signs for certain Reds looking to impress ahead of next season…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, July 26, 2020: Divock Origi (C) celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mates during the final match of the FA Premier League season between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St. James' Park. 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)

First off, Capps was impressed by the fluency of the performance considering Klopp named a much-changed and unfamiliar starting XI:

It was a chance for Klopp to give some of his fringe players a run out and, despite a poor start, the second-string stamped their authority on proceedings and ground out a win they were excellent value for.

Following suit, the BBC’s Emlyn Begley thought the displays were as important as they were pleasing as rotation will be more crucial than ever next season:

Klopp was happy to see several of his fringe players have a run-out and they are likely to play a key part in the new campaign, not least because with the new season beginning so soon it leaves little chance for a proper break.

Rotation is likely to be crucial next season if they are to become the fourth team to retain the Premier League title.

Meanwhile, Wells thought Origi’s trademark cut-inside-&-find-the-corner strike was a fitting way for the Belgian to potentially sign off at Anfield:

The Belgian has become a cult hero at Anfield after big goals in last year’s Champions League triumph, but his role at the club is unlikely to ever be anything more than a squad player.

[…]

If so, his goal at Newcastle would be the fitting send off to his Reds career, as he shifted the ball to one side before lashing home an emphatic finish. He certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Gorst saw it differently though, instead assessing that it was a reminder from Origi that he is still a very useful squad player who can deliver decisive contributions:

The Belgian international had plugged away without joy for much of the game before his big contribution, but it was a reminder of what he can do for this squad.

Origi will never be a first-team regular given who is ahead of him but the striker is known for his moments in Liverpool red as opposed to sustained periods of form. This was the perfect snapshot of that quandary. His largely meandering display was forgotten with a superbly-taken goal.

Finally, Wells thought Takumi Minamino struggled to make his mark and thinks the Japanese attacker is perhaps trying ‘too hard’ to impress:

The Japanese forward was given a rare start against Newcastle but endured another frustrating afternoon. At times he was almost trying too hard, dropping extremely deep to get on the ball, though his work rate was admirable.

[…]

Only a good save from Martin Dubravka stopped Minamino notching his first Premier League goal, but again there was little else to shout about from his performance.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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