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“Messi-worthy” Mo Salah hailed as Liverpool play out “thriller” vs. Man City

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The watching media were left stunned by the quality on show in Liverpool‘s draw 2-2 with Man City, with Mohamed Salah‘s genius hailed.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men weren’t at their best, especially in the first half, at Anfield on Sunday, but they were exceptional in a memorable second half.

Sadio Mane and Phil Foden exchanged goals after the break, before Salah produced a goal of the season contender.

There was still time for Kevin De Bruyne to equalise, unfortunately, and both sides ended up being fairly content with a share of the spoils.

Here’s a look at how the media reacted to a fantastic game.

 

Some lauded a high-quality affair at Anfield…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 3, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Guardian‘s David Hytner gushed over the entertainment value on show:

“It was a game of the highest quality, a thriller between surely the two best teams in England and it nearly carried a late sting. First, Rodri made a saving block to deny Fabinho after Ederson had missed a Salah cross – the City goal was gaping – and then Raheem Sterling, on as a substitute to the usual jeers, led a break only to lack conviction. He passed to Gabriel Jesus, whose shot was blocked.

“Never mind the date, it was impossible to see this fixture as anything other than a title-shaper and not only because it had served as such in the previous two seasons. When Liverpool beat City 3-1 here in November 2019, it ignited a belief that they could end their long wait for the championship and, when City won it 4-1 last February, they knew that they were also on the way.

“The draw here was a result that favoured City, although hard and fast conclusions as to the destination of the title will have to wait.”

Paul Joyce of the Times revelled in a breathless encounter, also praising the respect on show between the two managers:

“At the final whistle, Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp high-fived and repeatedly slapped one another on the back before the Catalan leant in and kissed his rival on the left cheek.

“It was a moment of respect, unity and mutual admiration before they went their separate ways and the pursuit of a Premier League title kicked back in.

“In many ways it was a fitting image following a breathless, see-saw encounter which was enlivened by moments of sheer genius such as Mohamed Salah’s remarkable goal which, briefly, edged Liverpool into the lead again only for Manchester City to repeatedly rouse themselves.

“The sight of the two best teams in the country going at hammer and tongs for 45 minutes — Sky Sports’ decision to name Phil Foden and Salah as joint men of the match was understandable — was an enthralling spectacle to behold.”

 

Salah’s moment of magic got a special mention…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 3, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Daily Mail‘s Martin Samuel believes the Egyptian is unrivalled at the moment:

“And that is the difference a goalscorer makes.

“Not just any goalscorer, of course. The greatest in English football, right now. Mohammed Salah is in arguably the form of his life – which is saying something – and yesterday he made the difference in a match that may yet decide the outcome of the title.

[…]

“As for the goal of the match/season competition, it was probably won by Salah seven minutes later, an individual effort that would have made Lionel Messi proud.

“Salah left Bernardo Silva on his backside, he beat Joan Laporte once and then again for good measure and his finish was just perfect. What a talent he is. How can Liverpool even think of allowing his contract to run down?”

Meanwhile, England legend Gary Lineker was left in awe of Salah on Twitter:

Miguel Delaney of the Independent even compared Salah to Lionel Messi:

“This helter-skelter 2-2 draw at Anfield kept the top of the table nicely poised, but suggested that the sensational Mohamed Salah could be set to move onto another level.

“His two brilliant contributions will be what this contest between Liverpool and Manchester City will be remembered for. He offered two divine moments, one of them a brilliant goal, in one superb individual display.

[…]

“It was a timely performance from Salah given that we’re getting into an era where we talk about the best players in the world after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

“There’s no other way to describe what Salah did here, though. It was Messi-worthy, and even Diego Maradona-worthy.”

TIA urged Liverpool to sort out Salah’s new deal, given his vast influence:

“This was one of those “give him what he wants” days from Mohamed Salah.

“A totally, inarguably, world-class performance from our Egyptian King, a marvellous assist and a season-contender of a goal.

“Leaving four City defenders – one conceded before today! – in a heap and beating the keeper with his wrong foot was nothing short of astonishing.

“Add in lots of counters, lots of pressing, lots of covering in defence and tracking back, and this was Virtuoso Mo at his finest.

“Sign him up!”

 

It wasn’t all perfect from Liverpool, though…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 3, 2021: Manchester City's Phil Foden scores the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jones bemoaned more dropped points from a winning position:

“For Liverpool, it was a case of what might have been. They remain unbeaten, above City in the table and below only Chelsea; but as they head into the second international break of the campaign, they know their position should be even stronger than it is.

[…]

“With nine minutes to go, the game was theirs, but City are champions for a reason, and when Guardiola’s side needed a response, and a little bit of good fortune, they got it. Kevin De Bruyne’s deflected leveller at the Kop end ensured the spoils were shared.”

The Liverpool Echo‘s Ian Doyle rued a poor first-half showing:

“Those preferring to dwell upon their cup being half-empty will believe the Reds twice threw away a lead and were lucky to escape with a draw having been outclassed by the visitors for the opening 45 minutes.

“The reality, as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will no doubt attest, lies somewhere in between.

[…]

“Make no mistake, the Reds were awful in the first half, the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold hampering them both in defence – poor James Milner run ragged by Phil Foden – and in attack, Mohamed Salah too often isolated.”

Karl Matchett of the Independent was concerned that Liverpool‘s results against their rivals haven’t been ideal:

Liverpool went into the weekend top and needed the win to return there, but couldn’t quite hold out against the reigning champions.

“They do remain the only side in the Premier League who are unbeaten, but home draws against both title rivals – Chelsea being the other – might yet prove to be a slight underperformance at the very highest level.

“It’s in fact the Stamford Bridge side who might be the most satisfied, with neither of these two winning and the Blues staying top – while City go third, above their own neighbours Man United.

Liverpool are unbeaten, City have only conceded three, but it’s Chelsea who sit in first for the international break.”

Finally, TIA criticised Jordan Henderson‘s disappointing performance:

“The first-half showing from the Liverpool captain was as far-removed as could be for what was required against Man City.

“It started with a clipped cross to nobody from a promising attacking position and ended with him failing to give James Milner any kind of protection against Phil Foden two or three times in quick succession – with a lot of misplaced passes in between.

“At the break, in fact, he had completed just 50% of his passes – way below anyone else on the pitch.

“Second half? He, along with about eight others, stepped up considerably – at least in terms of his energy and running. But there was still a looseness in possession and too many occasions where he failed entirely to track the runner or protect the full-back.”

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