Reds “almost untouchable”, full-backs shine & Mane “irrepressible” – Media on Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal

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Liverpool’s imperious performance against Arsenal was roundly praised by the watching media, as the Reds served another reminder of why they are Premier League champions.

The champions were magnificent on Monday evening, seeing off an in-form Gunners side with total ease.

Liverpool did go behind after Alexandre Lacazette capitalised on an Andy Robertson mistake, but the lead didn’t last long.

By half-time, Sadio Mane and Robertson had turned the game around, before Diogo Jota scored a late debut strike to complete the win.

The victory means Liverpool are on maximum points three games in, ahead of Thursday’s rematch with the Gunners in the League Cup fourth round.

Here’s some of the best analysis from the media, following yet another home triumph.

 

The nature of Liverpool’s all-conquering performance earned numerous plaudits, as their vast superiority shone through…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 28, 2020: Liverpool players celebrate with goal-scorer Diogo Jota after he scores the third goal to make the score 3-1 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal 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. (Pic by Propaganda)

The TimesHenry Winter highlighted the levels of belief and fight within Klopp’s team as a key reason for the win:

It was the fury inside Andrew Robertson as he worked overtime to atone for a rare mistake. It was Sadio Mané being too quick, strong and determined for Héctor Bellerín and Dani Ceballos. It was Joe Gomez throwing himself into a blocking challenge to stop Eddie Nketiah with the game won. This is Liverpool. This is why they are champions. This is why they are deservedly favourites to achieve back-to-back titles. It’s in their hearts, their minds, their utter desire to win.

It is why they have now scored 400 Premier League goals under Jürgen Klopp in his 185 games in charge. It is why they are now unbeaten at Anfield in the past 61 league games (50 wins, 11 draws), moving closer to the club record of 63, set by that accomplished team of Bob Paisley’s between 1978-81.

It is belief, organisation, individual skill, collective endeavour and that ruthlessness.

Jason Burt of the Telegraph was similarly gushing with praise, as Klopp’s character continues to rub off on his players:

For periods this was simply brilliant from Liverpool; a perfect match of industry and imagination; of power and poetry. For 30 minutes in the first-half they were almost untouchable; producing the best and most sustained period of play so far this season by any Premier League team.

It is a rare form of aggressive art and, certainly, Jurgen Klopp was not having anyone say otherwise as he snapped back at Sky pundit Roy Keane after overhearing him claim some of Liverpool’s play had been sloppy. There was no relenting from the manager either, then.

Barney Ronay of the Guardian was particularly complimentary about the start Liverpool made:

The best part, by far, came in the opening half hour as Liverpool produced the most sustained and orderly passage of football the Premier League has seen so far this season. Squint a little and it almost felt like old times.

[…]

That opening half hour was enough to win it; and enough to provide just a little of the old escapism.

Goal‘s Neil Jones thought ‘Fortress Anfield’ was there for all to see, with the Reds now unbeaten there in the league since April 2017:

Unstoppable? They look it, even three games into the season.

Arsenal were the latest to feel the Reds’ heat. The Gunners may be an altogether more organised, pragmatic outfit under Mikel Arteta, but they had no answer to Liverpool’s relentless intensity.

No supporters, but Anfield remains a fortress; the most difficult place to play in the world.

 

It was a night where numerous individuals also shone, as Liverpool showcased world-class quality all over the pitch…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 28, 2020: Liverpool’s Andy Robertson crosses the ball during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal 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. (Pic by Propaganda)

The Liverpool Echo‘s Paul Gorst focused on the impact of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Robertson – surely two of the world’s best full-backs:

And the most complete set of full-backs in the game today linked up once more to give their side the lead as Robertson ghosted into the box to meet the impressive Alexander-Arnold’s delivery.

Twenty-five assists between them last season, the pair have collectively helped redefine how teams try to use their full-backs, with more importance than ever placed on the contributions of those at right and left-back.

Liverpool have the standard bearers for this particular advancement of the modern Premier League game however, and they showed it here as they helped turn the tide after an unjust opener from Lacazette.

Ronay was keen to laud the brilliant Robertson, who atoned from his error in typically bullish fashion:

Robertson’s success is a triumph of will rather than obvious sporting destiny.

This didn’t have to happen. Without offering any obvious outstanding qualities, other than speed, heart and intelligence, the man from Queens Park via Dundee United has become a high-functioning part of the one of the greatest club teams of the modern age, and has scored or assisted in seven of his last eight league games.

Writing for the Independent, Karl Matchett hailed the ‘irrepressible’ Mane, who is arguably one of the best players in the world on current form:

His goal was a tap-in, but the rest of his performance was ludicrous. Liverpool’s No. 10 was a relentless barrel of energy, a non-stop pressing machine of Arsenal’s defence, even from goal-kicks, and won the two-pronged battle against Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin single-handedly.

His movement off the ball was irrepressible, his ability to cut in and clip a pass or drive to goal unstoppable.

Kevin de Bruyne regularly wins plaudits for perhaps being the best player in the league, and certainly the best midfielder, but in attack that accolade belongs to the Senegalese Red.

 

There was a sense that this was major statement of intent in the Premier League title race…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 28, 2020: Liverpool’s Andy Robertson (R hidden) celebrates scoring the second goal to make the score 2-1 with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal 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. (Pic by Propaganda)

Burt believes it was an ‘ominous’ night for the rest of the division, who will have been hoping for dropped points:

Having beaten Leeds United – who have won both their games since that opening fixture – and triumphed away at Chelsea, this was a third impressive result as Liverpool begin their title defence and there is already an ominous sense of gathering momentum as Manchester City stumble and other ‘Big Six’ clubs appear unconvincing.

Matchett was another who feels there isn’t too much reason for positivity among the chasing pack:

None of the league standings mean anything right now, but clocking up the wins certainly do.

It shouldn’t be forgotten: Liverpool first dropped points in the Premier League last season in mid-October, then didn’t do so again until the end of February.

That relentlessness only comes game by game, but the signs are already ominous for their top-flight rivals.

BBC Sport‘s Phil McNulty echoed that sentiment, also noting the contrast in Liverpool’s response to going 1-0 down compared to Man City at the weekend:

Liverpool’s response to Arsenal taking the lead sent a powerful message to anyone with hopes of challenging Jurgen Klopp‘s side for the Premier League title this season.

In contrast to the collapse we saw from Manchester City once Leicester City took control at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, Liverpool simply went through even higher gears after Lacazette pounced to give the Gunners the lead.

[…]

The challengers will have hopes of depriving Liverpool of a second successive title – but on this evidence it will take some doing.

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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