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Liverpool show “spirit and lustre” in “unstoppable” win over Atletico Madrid

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There was much for the media to admire in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid, as Champions League knockout stage qualification was sealed in quickfire time.

Jurgen Klopp‘s team made it four wins out of four in Group B, overcoming a tetchy Atletico side at Anfield on Wednesday night.

Diogo Jota opened the scoring after a beautiful Trent Alexander-Arnold cross, before Sadio Mane fired home to double the Reds’ lead.

Felipe was sent-off for Atletico before half-time and Klopp’s men cruised through the rest of the proceedings, stretching their unbeaten run to 25 matches.

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

 

Qualification for the last-16 was lauded, as the Reds produced a scintillating display…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 3, 2021: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 4 game between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Goal‘s Neil Jones was hugely impressed by the manner in which Liverpool have cruised through a tough group:

“So much for the Group of Death, eh?

[…]

“And to think there were some who panicked when the draw was made back in August. With Liverpool paired not only with Atletico, but also AC Milan and Porto, the fear was that progress would be a struggle.

“‘It wasn’t the draw we’d have picked,’ Klopp even admitted. His side have made light work of it in the end.

“Sure, they had to come from behind against Milan on matchday one, and they were forced to dig deep in Madrid last month, but this has been a display of real power from Liverpool. Four games, four wins, 13 goals scored; thank you and goodnight.”

Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail was another who was left wowed by the quality on show:

Jurgen Klopp’s European champions of 2019 seem to have a recognisable spirit and lustre about them in the club’s favourite competition this season and a fourth consecutive win that qualifies them two games early from this stage looked assured once Diogo Jota and Mane blew them in to another early lead at a raucous Anfield.

“It was, in truth, a surprise there were not more goals. Liverpool were not at their most clinical and Atletico have a doughty goalkeeper in Jan Oblak of Slovenia. Even so the weight of Liverpool’s possession and chances – both before and after the red card – was such that a greater margin at times seemed inevitable.

“Not that they will worry. Liverpool are in to the knock out stages as group winners and that is saying something given that the other two teams – Milan and Porto – sit joint top of their domestic leagues.”

The Telegraph‘s Jason Burt hailed the brilliance of this all-time great Reds side:

“Even when Liverpool are faced with gamesmanship of the lowest level, a dark art that Atletico Madrid have perfected over the years, they are unstoppable.

“This was the kind of dismissively powerful performance that the rest of Europe will take notice of as Liverpool eased into the last-16 of the Champions League with two games to spare. It was never in doubt.

“In a group that, as well as the Spanish champions, also contains AC Milan and Porto that is an impressive feat, achieved with a 100 per cent record, while this was yet another match without losing for Jurgen Klopp’s side who have now equalled Liverpool’s record of 25 games without defeat in all competitions set in 1982 by the team managed by Bob Paisley.”

 

Others were entertained by a frantic encounter at Anfield…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 3, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates after scoring the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 4 game between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Melissa Reddy of the Independent described it as a ‘Netflix’ game:

“How much drama can you condense into one Champions League match? Liverpool and Atletico Madrid seem hellbent on cracking that poser, once again squeezing the action of what felt like five encounters into a sole, feverish fixture.

[…]

“By the 36-minute mark at Anfield, there had been two goals from the home side and a straight red for Felipe, which was some plot twist considering Diego Simeone’s men put quite a lot of sweat into getting Sadio Mane sent off, as they had attempted in the reverse fixture. And that was just the start.

“Amid a thundering atmosphere, this was very much Netflix – and very much without the chill.”

This is Anfield thoroughly enjoyed an evening full of niggly moments, as Liverpool got under their opponents’ skin:

“From the outset, Liverpool looked to give as good as they were expecting but rarely got from Atleti.

Fabinho left knee in the back of Rodrigo De Paul after Henderson tripped the Argentine. An early Double team.

Sadio Mane clashed with Correa in the middle of the park, and Diogo Jota made the most of a challenge by Koke which led to a booking for the midfielder.

“Were Atletico rattled? The referee was a bit card-happy, but they brought it on themselves, showing petulance that went against their street-wise reputation.

“The Felipe red card seemed slightly harsh, but again it was a case of an Atleti player losing the plot in a moment they might normally not even see yellow.”

 

Individuals were hailed, too, but Roberto Firmino’s injury was a negative…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 3, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 4 game between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mirror‘s Ben Husband was full of praise for the world-class Alexander-Arnold, who bagged both assists on the night:

“If there’s a better crosser of the ball in European football than Trent Alexander-Arnold, he is certainly in the top two or three.

“The England full-back must be a striker’s dream, the ball for the opener was as good as a goal, leaving Jota with the easiest of finishes.

“His second for Mane was equally as pinpoint in a first-half display which underlined his credentials as the best full-back in world football.

“Atletico’s Kieran Trippier was above the Liverpool star when it came to this summer’s Euros, with a World Cup just over 12 months ago, that pecking order has to be flipped.”

Jones was worried about Firmino’s hamstring issue, however, admitting he is unlikely to face West Ham on Sunday:

“Injuries remain Klopp’s biggest concern, the thing most likely to scupper his team’s chances of success this season. The next six to eight weeks must be negotiated with extreme care.

“The sight of Roberto Firmino walking off in the second half, then, represents a major worry.

“The Brazilian had only come on at half-time, replacing Mane, but lasted just 33 minutes before being forced off. Firmino headed straight for the tunnel, and must at the very least be a doubt for Sunday’s Premier League trip to West Ham.”

Finally, Karl Matchett of the Independent felt Fabinho‘s return was vital for the Reds:

“His absence had been a huge factor of late for the Reds in conceding twice against Brighton in particular, but even in the early stages of the Man United match when the home team created openings.

“The No.3’s return to the side against the Spanish outfit was immediately noticeable: clattering into a prone Rodrigo de Paul, letting him know that ownership of the midfield zone was not up for debate, then thundering into another challenge to clear the ball and stop a counter-attack.

“Both approaches, the snide and the certain, are necessary at the top end of the game and without him, Liverpool don’t possess another with quite the same level of ability to do either.

“It shouldn’t be considered that Fabinho only brought the dark arts back to the Anfield pitch though, with his passing range a vital addition and his organisation on show as soon as possession was squandered elsewhere.”

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