Liverpool’s “form of champions” hailed after top-four boost at Burnley

The watching media found positives galore from Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Burnley, whether it be the magnitude of the victory or the performances of certain individuals.

The Reds were under pressure to pick up three points at Turf Moor, knowing it would put them in the top four going into the final weekend of the season.

While missed chances came and went in the first half, and the hosts caused problems, Jurgen Klopp‘s men eventually pulled away.

Roberto Firmino, Nat Phillips and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain got the goals to secure a fourth-consecutive win, extend the unbeaten league run to nine games, and put the Reds into the top four for the first time since February.

Here’s how the media reacted to the victory.


Another excellent win was roundly lauded…

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Wednesday, May 19, 2021: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (C) celebrates with team-mates Mohamed Salah (L) and Sadio Mané (R) after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail hailed Liverpool’s recent form, as they again got the better of a Premier League opponent:

“Liverpool were more than good enough at Turf Moor […]

“It has, though, been Liverpool’s form over the last two months that has taken them back to the brink of respectability.

“Since losing at home to Fulham on March 7, Klopp’s team have taken 23 points from 27, winning seven and drawing two. That has been a gutsy effort after a winter of seemingly unrelenting misery.

“It has, belatedly, been the form of champions.”

The Liverpool Echo‘s Paul Gorst focused on the ground made up on Leicester and an unlikely run of superb form for Klopp’s men:

“Klopp claimed this one was the “semi-final” in the pre-match press conference on Tuesday and his team played like it as they swept aside a limited Burnley outfit who continue to survive in this division despite the paucity of their tactical plan.

“Now it’s just the final to win for Klopp’s emboldened Reds who were incredibly 10 points and nine goals behind Leicester eight games ago.


“Liverpool are peaking at the perfect time, with seven wins across a nine-game unbeaten run.”

Goal‘s Neil Jones was of a similar mindset, highlighting how the victory puts them on the verge of a great achievement, given the setbacks:

“The rescue mission is almost complete.

“With one game to play, Champions League qualification is within touching distance. After all the setbacks and all the criticism, Liverpool find themselves here, back from the dead, back in form and with their destiny in their own hands.

“The Red machine has spluttered into life at exactly the right time. Wednesday’s 3-0 win at Burnley moved them into the top four of the Premier League for the first time since the middle of February.

“They are the league’s form side, nine games unbeaten and playing with the kind of grit and determination we have come to expect from a Klopp team, from a Liverpool team.”


It was only right that Phillips and Thiago earned many column inches, with the duo superb for the Reds…

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Wednesday, May 19, 2021: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips (L) celebrates after scoring the second goal with team-mates Roberto Firmino (C) and Mohamed Salah (R) during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mirror‘s Alex Milne was full of praise for the likeable Phillips, who performed heroically at the back:

“Amid Liverpool’s struggles in the centre-back position this season, Nat Phillips has emerged as an unlikely cult hero among Reds fans.


“Phillips’ first-team minutes will no doubt decrease once the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez return next season, but his contributions in the current campaign will not be forgotten by Jurgen Klopp.

“The former Bolton prospect has proved himself more than capable of stepping up and performing at the very highest level, and if he is not fancied by Liverpool in the future he could certainly be a useful signing for another Premier League outfit.”

This Is Anfield waxed lyrical over the outstanding Thiago, was looked world-class at Turf Moor:

“Several games in a row now, Thiago Alcantara has been either the Reds’ stand-out performer or at least among the top individuals.

“Here again he was the dominant force throughout, picking apart the microscopic holes in the Burnley midfield to keep the Reds moving, keep the ball high upfield and fashioning openings for himself and others.

“It was interesting to note him far deeper than Fabinho at times, picking up possession between the centre-backs, before then darting past the Brazilian again to scheme and probe higher upfield.

“It has taken time for him to reach this point. And why not? New league, new team, Covid training, no pre-season, an injury-ravaged side and a three-month absence of his own.

“Now though, he has found his place. This is consistency. This is quality. This is Thiago.”

Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph even went as far as to compare Phillips to Virgil van Dijk:

“Typifying the revival is Phillips, the sixth choice emergency centre-half who gave a performance so accomplished at both ends of Turf Moor, it was rather like he had absorbed the spirit of Virgil Van Dijk.

“Naturally, we can point to Phillips’ first Liverpool goal, a header early in the second half, as his highlight. That scratches the surface of his contribution. He played like he would have dived in front of a recently fired cannonball to stop Burnley scoring.

“Phillips’ goal line clearance to stop James Tarkowski halving the deficit midway through the second half ensured Liverpool could see through the final stage without fear. He chased, intercepted and scrapped for every challenge with the formidable Burnley striker Chris Wood.

“The 24-year-old from Bolton was bound to feel at home in his native Lancashire, but his transformation is incredible.”

Gorst was another who loved what he saw from Thiago, tipping him for big things next season:

“And a word for Thiago Alcantara who once again shone in midfield.

“The Spain international has really found his feet in recent weeks and was several levels above Burnley‘s rough-and-ready approach in the heat of midfield battle.

“With a full pre-season under his belt and less of his team-mates out injured, Thiago appears set to truly take flight next season and demonstrate his undoubted world class for a more prolonged period.”


There was much focus on the mental fortitude on show recently…

David Maddock of the Mirror believes Liverpool are now in a position that seemed scarcely believable not long ago:

“Somehow, Liverpool are now within touching distance of the impossible.

“Barely a month ago, Jurgen Klopp conceded his side needed close to a miracle to qualify for the Champions League, but with this gritty, sleeves-up victory at Burnley, they have given themselves a remarkable opportunity of salvaging a distinctly unremarkable season.

“No one at Anfield is claiming much credit from their campaign, but if they can now rescue a top four place from it, then they will have said much about their spirit and desire, because it took plenty of both to get themselves out of the mess they dropped into.”

The Independent‘s Melissa Reddy felt similar, suggesting the win was further proof of an unlikely turnaround in Liverpool’s season:

“The scale of their injury crisis for the majority of the season and the manner in which they would repeatedly surrender, especially at Anfield, did not fit the plot of finding some kind of silver lining.

“Yet here they are. By the end of February, the casket was already closing on Liverpool’s top-four thinking.”

TIA urged for one final push from Liverpool on Sunday, following a season of so many struggles:

“Liverpool are fourth. They need only match or better Leicester’s result. They could even finish third if they better Chelsea‘s result.

“After all the injuries, the bad form, the awful home run, the problems of the season and the lack of supporters…we’re fourth. The Champions League is in our own hands.

“Now it’s Anfield, with 10,000 Kopites in place, and just get that final three points on the final day.”