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Thiago’s goal “remarkable to witness” & Morton does himself proud

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The media were impressed with the influential Thiago in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Porto on Wednesday evening, as the Reds’ perfect Champions League record continued.

Jurgen Klopp‘s team were afforded the luxury of no pressure at Anfield, having already reached the knockout stages after four consecutive wins.

That did little to affect the result, however, with Liverpool far superior to Porto overall, and goals from Thiago and Mohamed Salah earning them a fifth win.

It was a pleasing night with the pressure off the Reds, with only positives to find from the match.

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

 

There was only one place to start: Thiago’s screamer…

Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool scores the first goal during the UEFA Champions League match at Anfield, (Image: Darren Staples / Sportimage)

The Independent‘s Melissa Reddy was wowed by the Spaniard’s moment of brilliance:

“With 52 on the clock, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s awful free-kick was easily cleared, but the ball fell to Liverpool’s No6 – the furthest player back apart from goalkeeper Alisson.

“Morton’s eyes and feet were trying to follow its trajectory and then… boom! Magic.

Thiago ran onto the ball, lent back ever so slightly as he used the cushioning of his right foot to cut straight through it and somehow managed to make it glide just above the grass before dissecting Fabio Cardoso’s legs and nestling into the bottom corner.

“One of the all-time great goals from distance was now framing Morton’s big occasion – from the player who has helped frame his development.”

Mark Jones of the Mirror gushed over Thiago, arguing that he is becoming more influential all the time:

“It was interesting that Liverpool put Thiago up to face the media before this game, and perhaps a sign that his influence around the club is growing.

“It hasn’t been easy for the Spaniard since he’s joined the Reds, doing so in a pandemic and then being thrust into an injury-hit team that was nothing like advertised.

“His form towards the end of last season, overlooked by some, was exemplary though, and after helping Liverpool into the Champions League he lit up a stage where he belongs with a stunning strike here.

“Stunning probably isn’t a fitting enough word for it though. The trajectory of the ball after he thumped it was simply gorgeous, and it was the type of shot that we all dream of hitting in five-a-side.

“This is how the truly gifted do it though, and it was remarkable to witness.”

Watching the game for Sky Sports former Celtic manager Neil Lennon clearly enjoyed Thiago‘s beauty, too:

 

Others hailed another convincing home win for the Reds…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 24, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 5 game between Liverpool FC and FC Porto at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This Is Anfield hailed Liverpool’s relentless goalscoring of late:

“That’s 16 games and counting the Reds have found the back of the net at least twice!

“It’s the club’s best-ever run for scoring so frequently and equals the English record for it – no side have done it in decades, being an 82-year-old record.

Jurgen Klopp‘s team have gone up a gear or two in attacking terms compared to last year and the consistency, as much as the quality, is the impressive aspect.

“It could have been more, even if not for marginal misjudgements of the offside flag.”

Rob Bagchi of the Telegraph lauded the ease at which Liverpol got the job done:

“What a luxury for Liverpool that they can now indulge in Champions League warm-up games while planning ahead for the round of 16.

“That’s the fairest summing up of their final matches of a group which was initially deemed of ‘death’, yet is ending in such comfort Jürgen Klopp’s side are swatting opposition aside in second gear.

[…]

“This was not a virtuoso European performance from Klopp’s team. It never had to be. There was still enough to demonstrate why they are serious challengers to add to their tally as six-time winners, especially in a dominant second half when Porto’s defence wilted in front of the Kop.”

The Liverpool Echo‘s Paul Gorst felt Klopp’s decision to field a strong side paid off, also laughing off supposed squad depth issues:

“True to his word, Klopp selected a side that eventually cruised to victory to move up to 15 points in a Group B that was supposed to be tough.

“Perhaps the four changes Klopp introduced here pours scorn on that great Liverpool criticism about their supposed lack of depth?

“For months, Klopp and his charges have been levelled with the complaint that their squad is not as custom-fitted as their other more monied rivals as they continue to battle on all fronts.

“A lack of midfield options and a dearth of quality beyond the front four are the regular accusations fired at the players at Liverpool’s disposal.

“Those critiques, though, have been made to look hollow of late as the Reds made it back-to-back wins at Anfield with what is now their almost annual victory over Porto in the Champions League.”

 

There was also deserved praise for Champions League debutant Tyler Morton…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 24, 2021: Liverpool's Tyler Morton applauds the supporters after the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 5 game between Liverpool FC and FC Porto at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Joe Bernstein of the Daily Mail lauded the 19-year-old’s impact on a proud night for him:

“It was a tough test for 19-year-old Morton, a local Liverpool lad who was up against Porto’s gifted midfield in only his second senior start.

“But wearing the No80 shirt, the competition didn’t faze him. Playing alongside Thiago, a player he particularly admires, he did everything to make his parents, season-ticket holders in the Anfield Road stand proud, with his energy and reading of the game.”

Reddy revelled in Morton’s undoubted joy:

“Tyler Morton walked on, twisting his head ever so sightly to get a peek over his shoulder to a familiar spec. From his panorama of the Anfield pitch for his Champions League bow against Porto, the 19-year-old took in his previous vista of these nights under the lights: the front row of the Annie Road End.

“Sitting alongside his dad and his brother, Morton used to marvel that even though “it wasn’t the Kop,” they had “an unbelievable view of the players.”

“Now he was one of those footballers in a Liverpool kit, representing the club in the competition so threaded to its history.

“In a match where the result was meaningless for the Merseysiders with knockout qualification already secured, it meant everything to a kid that entered the academy at the age of seven.”

Finally, Jones felt Morton repaid the faith that Klopp clearly has in him:

“Being a teenage Liverpool fan making your first Anfield start in front of a packed house in the Champions League must be quite a daunting proposition.

“But then Jurgen Klopp calls you ‘a baller’ in his pre-match interview.

“Tyler Morton probably strutted onto the pitch after such praise, and the young midfielder didn’t look out of place in a central midfield position where he snapped into challenges and progressed the ball well.

“The locally-born youngster is becoming the surprise of Liverpool’s season, and we could yet see more of him.”

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