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Harvey Elliott “whets the appetite” as Liverpool get “bit between their teeth again”

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Liverpool eased to a 2-0 win over Burnley on Saturday and the watching media were impressed by Harvey Elliott‘s performance in particular.

The Reds were looking to follow up their 3-0 victory at Norwich City last weekend, as a full Anfield crowd witnessed their beloved team back in action.

After a slow start, Diogo Jota headed home from Kostas Tsimikas‘ cross, before Sadio Mane doubled the advantage with a well-taken second-half strike.

The win means Liverpool hold on to their 100 percent record this season, ahead of next Saturday’s crucial visit of Chelsea.

Here’s how the media reacted to Liverpool‘s victory.

 

The win was seen as further proof that the good times are back at Anfield…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 21, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Liverpool Echo‘s Ian Doyle highlighted the contrast in Liverpool‘s fortunes compared to last season:

“Some 532 days since the last time a capacity crowd watched Liverpool at home in the Premier League, Jurgen Klopp’s side delivered further compelling evidence that an at times tortuous previous campaign has been consigned firmly to the past.

“Revitalised, rejuvenated and recognisable once more, Liverpool have the bit between their teeth again.

“Indeed, this was far, far removed from the side that surrendered their proud 68-game unbeaten home league record against Burnley exactly seven months earlier.”

This Is Anfield were in buoyant spirits after the game, although Chelsea will provide a greater test next weekend:

“Good start, job done – big game next.

Liverpool against Chelsea will be seen as one of the title-defining clashes, though of course this particular one comes far too early for any such assertions.

“It’s still a match we’ll want to be competitive in – Champions of Europe, remember – show that we’re the match of them in and at a minimum keep pace with them in the table.

“One or two players coming back to fitness, Fabinho to return, Virgil back toward something like top gear, Alisson shining – a great start to the season all-round.”

 

Elliott received lots of praise after a hugely impressive display…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 21, 2021: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This Is Anfield felt the youngster didn’t look remotely out of place:

“Early moments saw him fouled a few times, and caught on the ball once on the edge of his own box too, but his first touch and ability to turn away from challenges meant he didn’t look out of place at all.

“He was denied an assist from a brilliant through pass by an offside flag against Mo Salah in the first half, but was frequently involved after the break and showed good work in the second goal.

“There should be no concerns over future starts in big games for the 18-year-old.”

Paul Joyce of the Times was full of praise for Elliott, following an exciting display for his boyhood club:

“There has been more debate on whether there is enough strength in depth in midfield, but the cameo of Elliott highlighted the 18-year-old’s talents.

“His first league start served as reward for the enterprise and determination he had shown in the summer when he trained on his own to report back two kilograms lighter and hit the ground running.

“Elliott was stationed on the right of the midfield three, his productive loan spell at Blackburn Rovers last season had seen him deployed further forward, and what was instantly clear was how more senior teammates trusted him with the ball.

“Had Mohamed Salah not strayed marginally offside, Elliott would have marked his big day with an assist after expertly dissecting Charlie Taylor and McNeil.

“Still, this was an offering which whetted the appetite for more.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 21, 2021: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott (L) is challenged by Burnley's Josh Brownhill during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mail‘s Dominic King thought Elliott wasn’t overawed by the occasion:

“You could see Elliott relished being given this opening from Klopp and everything he produced against Burnley showed why there has been such a buzz around him this summer. Liverpool sensed he was going to be ready for this for some time and their judgement was spot on.

“Apart from his durability and willingness, Elliott is also an extremely talented footballer, one with great touch and the vision to play slick through balls. It is no wonder Liverpool would not entertain the prospect of him leaving on loan again – and why they are prepared to sell Xherdan Shaqiri.

“Some would have raised eyebrows to see Klopp opt for Elliott and change last week’s winning side at Norwich but the decision was richly vindicated. One thing you have to do when getting an opportunity in a team like Liverpool’s is make a difference and that is precisely what Elliott did.”

 

The return of a full Anfield was touched upon by some, as well as Virgil van Dijk’s influence…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 21, 2021: Liverpool supporters applaud the team after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dylan Terry of the Independent lauded a memorable occasion, pointing out how influential the Liverpool fans are:

“By now, everyone has documented the return of fans to the Premier League and the positive impact it will undoubtedly have on home teams this season.

“But there will be very few sides more buoyed by the return of ‘real’ football than Liverpool. You’ll Never Walk Alone emotionally rung out as the players made their way out onto the pitch, a spine-tingling moment for all fans of the sport.

[…]

Liverpool lost six home league games in a row last season, a remarkable fall from grace which followed a 68-game unbeaten streak on Merseyside. And it was not a coincidence that the dip in form came during the omission of fans. Now they are back and ready to do everything in their power to push their team on to another Premier League title.”

The Telegraph‘s Chris Bascombe hailed the colossal Van Dijk, who looked back to his best at Anfield:

“The most comforting sight of all, even more than a vibrant Kop end, was that of Virgil van Dijk, imperious when heading set pieces from his own six yard box, menacing when challenging for his own team’s corners.

“Alongside the understated but generally flawless Joel Matip, this was the restoration of the foundations of Klopp’s title-winning team.

“Even when Burnley did get through in the fourth minute of injury time, by then two down and their cause hopeless, Alisson Becker dashed from his line to protect the clean sheet his centre-backs deserved.

“The reminders were plentiful that Liverpool lost so much more than a defensive lynchpin when Van Dijk’s season was wrecked by a knee injury a little over a year ago.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 8, 2021: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during the pre-match warm-up before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Athletic Club de Bilbao at Anfield. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Finally, Melissa Reddy of the Independent thoroughly enjoyed the occasion:

“They had missed this. The sense of community on a Saturday afternoon, a Liverpool home win featuring Virgil van Dijk’s long diagonals and defensive set-piece clearances. They had missed this. The swirling scarves, the songs and the seriously slick offensive play it soundtracked.

“The wait was awfully long, but the thundering noise at Anfield to mark a 2-0 victory over Burnley, courtesy of goals from Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane, suggested it was well worth it.

“Amid the heavy grey clouds and crying sky, there was an influx of hugs and ‘nice to see you again’.

“It had been 528 days since family and friends could gather properly here and the rain had no chance of dampening the euphoria that togetherness brought.”


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