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Media hail “epic” Liverpool victory: “A win away at Atletico is a win to be treasured”

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Liverpool won 3-2 away to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night, with the watching media wowed by a thrilling contest in Spain.

In truth, the Reds didn’t play well for much of the game, but they came away with three precious points against a spiky Atletico side.

Mohamed Salah scored twice for the visitors, including the match-winning penalty, while Naby Keita thundered home a superb volley.

There was so much to discuss once the final whistle had blown, with the eventual scoreline not telling the whole story.

Here’s a look at how the media reacted to Liverpool’s victory.

 

Some tried to get their heads around the madness of it all…

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, October 19, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates with team-mates after scoring the first goal, scoring in his ninth consecutive game, during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Goal‘s Neil Jones was left hugely entertained by what he saw:

“Where do you even begin with this, other than to say ‘wow’?

“Liverpool have been involved in some Champions League classics down the years, but this was a new one. They do not usually happen in the group stage, do they?

“There were times when this felt more like the second leg of a semi-final. The intensity, the madness, the suspense and the emotion felt here belongs on the biggest of stages.

“It was high drama, and then some.”

The Guardian‘s Sid Lowe was another who drunk in the action:

Jurgen Klopp had said that it wasn’t likely that Liverpool would score three at the Wanda Metropolitano, but in the end that is exactly what they had to do.

“With 15 minutes to go on a wild, fun and unexpectedly open night, Mo Salah stood on the penalty spot, handed the chance to deliver victory for Liverpool. Two-up inside 20 minutes, it was now 2-2, and nothing was certain any more. Except of course the Egyptian who stepped up and coolly slotted what would prove the winner.

“Not that a Liverpool win seemed certain even then, Atletico almost immediately having a penalty of their own given to them and then taken away again, Luis Suarez left lamenting that he would not get the opportunity Salah had.

“Atletico were left lamenting a comeback that would prove incomplete, their hugely impressive attempt at resurrection ultimately cut short by a red card for Antoine Griezmann. Defeated, at the end there was exhaustion and applause from the home fans, plus whistles for the referee. There was also a huge roar from the visiting supporters.”

Sam Wallace of the Telegraph felt it was one of the great Champions League group stage matches:

“An epic game for its mistakes as much as its moments of brilliance and yet in the end there was a familiar story for the age: it was won for Liverpool by the irrepressible Mohamed Salah.

“Yet even the man himself would have to admit that was only half the tale as this great clash of European stylists – the pragmatic, forceful Atletico and their expansive passing visitors – gave us one of the great games of the Champions League group stages.

[…]

“A win away at Atletico is a win to be treasured – no matter how chaotic the circumstances.”

 

Others praised Klopp’s substitutions and claimed there were disappointing aspects to the display…

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, October 19, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates with Virgil van Dijk celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Freddie Keighley of the Mirror felt Fabinho‘s half-time introduction was key:

“Klopp has frustrated Liverpool fans in the past with his reluctance to make changes at half-time or early in the second half.

“But the German manager did not dawdle against Atletico Madrid.

“Addressing his side’s poor defensive display in the first 45 minutes, Klopp introduced Fabinho in place of Naby Keita at half-time.

“Then, sensing Atletico were there to be got at, he threw on Diogo Jota and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shortly after the hour mark as the Reds looked to make the man advantage count.”

The Independent‘s Jamie Braidwood was unimpressed with Liverpool’s defending on the night:

“While Jurgen Klopp would have snatched your hand off for an away win at Atletico Madrid, he would have been frustrated by some elements of his side’s performance. Liverpool’s display, like the match as a whole, had everything, some good, some bad, and a little bit of ugly.

[…]

Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip were exposed and it took several big saves from Alisson to bail them out, and even then they found themselves heading into the break level.

“By that point, Liverpool had lost their momentum in attack and they even struggled to rediscover it when up against 10 men following Griezmann’s red card.

“The second half was more reminiscent of Liverpool’s previous visit to Atletico two seasons ago, in which they were frustrated in a 1-0 first-leg defeat, but they were rescued by Salah’s late penalty – awarded after a baffling challenge from Hermoso on Jota.

“And it wasn’t finished there, as Jota then went close to conceding a penalty at the other end. Liverpool got away with it, which rather summed up their performance on a crazy evening in the Champions League.”

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, October 19, 2021: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dominic King of the Mail admits there are still question marks surrounding Keita, following a hit-and-miss outing:

“Keita’s 45 minutes in the Wanda Metropolitano were a snapshot of his Liverpool career as a whole. The good was very good but the rest of it didn’t reach the required standards – not by a long way.

“Liverpool were well in control of this tussle but Atletico were allowed a route back in when Keita was too weak and too slow to react to a short corner, allowing Thomas Lemar – another player who Klopp wanted to sign in 2017 – to dance along the touchline and cause havoc.

“His pressing wasn’t good enough in the moments before Atletico equalised and the cheapness of the concession had Liverpool’s players shaking their heads. Salah, for one, stood with his hands on his hips on the halfway line, barely able to conceal his unhappiness that 2-0 had become 2-2.”

 

As is the norm these days, the remarkable Salah earned plenty of column inches…

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, October 19, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the third goal, from a penalty-kick, to makes the score 2-3 during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This Is Anfield hailed the world’s best player on current form:

“That is now nine successive matches in which the irrepressible Mohamed Salah has found the back of the net – no other LFC player had ever managed that feat before.

“It’s 11 goals in that run, plus a couple of assists, and his ongoing durability, reliability and absolute insistence that he must find the net is both a huge relief for the Reds and hugely impressive to keep watching.

[…]

“Now Liverpool’s all-time leading goalscorer in the Champions League. The absolute King.”

Braidwood also couldn’t speak highly enough of Salah:

Mohamed Salah was again the Liverpool hero and made history by scoring in a ninth match in a row, and it was notable that he still proved to be the difference despite a quiet display in Madrid.

“While defending against Salah is one of the toughest assignments in football at the moment, it was a task made much harder for Atletico by the way they started the match.

“With Diego Simeone sticking with the 3-5-2 formation he has predominantly used in La Liga this season, the Atletico manager made the surprising decision to start Yannick Carrasco up against the in-from Salah over the more conventional full-back Renan Lodi.

“When Salah was able to cut inside Carrasco and fire a deflected shot past Oblak, it looked as if the forward was going to have a field day. In the end, with two goals to his name, he did.”

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