The watching media were blown away by a fantastic Champions League clash between Liverpool and AC Milan, with the Reds prevailing 3-2 at Anfield.
It was a repeat of the 2005 and 2007 finals on Wednesday night and it didn’t disappoint, as fans returned to Anfield in Europe for the first time in almost 18 months.
Fikayo Tomori’s own goal gave Liverpool the lead, but Mohamed Salah‘s missed penalty looked fatal when strikes from Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz put Milan in front before half-time.
Here’s how the media reacted to the win.
It was only natural that many focused on an unpredictable and relentless contest at Anfield…
The Liverpool Echo‘s Paul Gorst felt there were shades of Istanbul about the match:
“The first meeting between these sides outside of a UEFA showpiece here at Anfield resembled something closer to that famous night in Istanbul over 16 years ago than its lesser remembered joyless Athens sequel.
“And given the limited yet memorable history between these two, it was fitting that the class of 2021 performed their own stirring comeback, even if it was a position they should never have been in to begin with.
Melissa Reddy of the Independent was left in awe of a classic European occasion:
“A beautiful night, barely believable in stanzas, condensed the magic of the Champions League into 95 minutes.
“Liverpool and Milan, so tightly stitched into the fabric of this tournament, produced one of those matches you hoped wouldn’t end.
“What a glorious way to end a long, soulless 553 days here without continental football being painted by a backdrop of witty banners and soundtracked by relentless passion.”
The Times‘ Henry Winter was also clearly enthralled by an unforgettable 90 minutes:
“In a thrilling group-stage game, Liverpool stormed into AC Milan, took the lead, fell behind and simply tore into their celebrated guests again.
“Trent Alexander-Arnold embodied Liverpool’s energy and adventure, Andrew Robertson was not far behind in exuberant influence, and Henderson demonstrated exceptional technique with his 20-yard finish in a match that was played at a breathless pace and to unrelenting noise.
“This was a crazy, magnificent game, another classic for the Anfield archives. This was a fixture synonymous with comebacks and it was a staggering journey down memory lane.”
A Steven Gerrard-esque winner from Henderson also received much praise…
Goal‘s Neil Jones waxed lyrical over the captain’s spectacular strike:
“Steven Gerrard would have been proud.
“Jordan Henderson left the comparisons with his Liverpool predecessor behind a long time ago, to be perfectly honest, but they were unavoidable here.
“A big Champions League night, elite European opposition and a raucous, expectant Anfield? That was Gerrard’s stage, and now it was Henderson’s.
“‘Stevie H’, you could call him.”
The Daily Mail‘s Dominic King also drew comparisons between Henderson and his predecessor:
“Liverpool against AC Milan will forever be synonymous with one scarcely believable night in Istanbul 16 years ago, a game with so many twists and turns that Xabi Alonso once likened it to the plotline of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller.
“Steven Gerrard was Liverpool’s inspiration back then, dragging his team off the canvas to help the club land their fifth Champions League, so it was fitting Jordan Henderson, the current captain, reprised his predecessor’s role to get this latest European campaign off to the perfect start.
“Milan wanted to get out of their own half but they were hemmed in to the point that they retreated deep and deeper. Like in Istanbul, when there was an inevitability that Liverpool would score more once they made the breakthrough.
“The identity of the man who produced it may have been a surprise but there was nothing fortuitous about the strike, crisply dispatched from Henderson’s right boot. He ran away in that style of his, screaming in delight. The job had been done.”
The Mirror‘s Chris Doyle felt Henderson’s leadership shone through as he fired home the winner:
“Jordan Henderson fired Liverpool back in front with a thunderbolt of a finish in the second half to make it 3-2.
“The ball fell to the captain on the edge of the box and he caught it sweetly on the half volley as it nestled into the bottom corner.
“It was fitting goal to win what was a classic Champions League encounter with both teams going for the win.
“But Liverpool deserved the victory on the balance of play and it was no surprise to see Henderson come up big once again. A captain’s performance.”
Some believe the performance showed Liverpool can go all the way in the competition this season…
Gorst believes the Reds can be the team to beat on such form:
“While the mainstream spotlight has since turned its fickle focus elsewhere – namely to the carefree spendthrifts of the transfer market – Klopp will still feel his charges have what it takes to once more flex their muscles in this tournament.
“After all, for all the coverage of Klopp’s charisma and general affability as a football personality, the studious side of his tactical and technical coaching has taken Liverpool to three European finals during his five full terms at Anfield.
“That, along with the team of elite stars they have amassed and the return of Anfield’s X factor, will make them a potent force this time around.”
Finally, Neil Atkinson of The Anfield Wrap was in no doubt about Liverpool’s chances:
“Liverpool squeezed the life out of AC Milan for 25 minutes. They destroyed them, obliterated them. They had good players hanging on for dear life.
“Liverpool have merely started their European campaign and I am a state. It’s a big week on one hell of a journey. There’s so much to come.
“These are our lads and, if you are reading this, we are all our people. What did it feel like?
“It was a joy. And just imagine February. The biggest cup can be ours.”