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Liverpool show “another successful era is brewing” after exorcising their frustrations

There was lots to admire in Liverpool’s 5-1 thrashing of West Ham, with attention also quickly turning to a crucial weekend meeting with Arsenal.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men cruised into the League Cup semi-finals on Wednesday evening, scoring some lovely goals and treating Anfield to a footballing exhibition.

Curtis Jones netted a brace, as he excelled back in the starting lineup, and Dominik Szoboszlai, Cody Gakpo and Mohamed Salah also got on the scoresheet.

Here’s how the media assessed Liverpool’s emphatic win on the way to the last four.

 

Liverpool were rampant, looking back to their best…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 20, 2023: Liverpool's Curtis Jones (L) celebrates with team-mate Harvey Elliott after scoring the second goal, the club's 500th in the competition. during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On X, David Lynch loved what he saw from the Reds, as they overcame what has been some patchy form of late:

The Independent‘s Richard Jolly lauded Liverpool’s ruthless finishing from distance:

“A policy of shooting on sight can work after all. After Liverpool spent Sunday accumulating shots without scoring, the floodgates opened in the Anfield rain.

“Their 34 efforts brought no goals against Manchester United. Three days later, they tried and tried and tried again and 29 attempts yielded five goals, each courtesy of a fine finish.

“Persistent, determined, enterprising and excellent, they demolished West Ham, exorcising some of their frustration from Sunday’s stalemate. They surged into a semi-final as the favourites to win a second Carabao Cup in three years.

“They performed with the elan of a team who can sense glory, West Ham with the ineptitude of one whose manager has never won at Anfield.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 20, 2023: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo celebrates after scoring the third goal during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Guardian‘s Andy Hunter was another who saw the improvements on show, hailing Liverpool’s pressing:

“After the stalemate came the slaughter. Liverpool, the model of frustration having been held by Manchester United on Sunday, cruised into the semi-finals of the League Cup for a record 19th time with an emphatic destruction of West Ham at Anfield.

“David Moyes’ visitors were abysmal, their defending a disgrace in the second half, but they were driven to submission by a superb Liverpool display.

[…]

“Liverpool were determined to make the night a horrible experience for West Ham.

“There was illness in the visiting camp, depriving Moyes of several options, but the West Ham players fit to start would have felt queasy from the constant blur of red shirts that swarmed around them whenever they had possession. The intensity of Liverpool’s counter-press was remarkable.”

This Is Anfield‘s James Nalton thought Klopp’s team selection showed that they are serious about winning the League Cup:

“There were no youth players in the Liverpool lineup that started this game against West Ham.

Caoimhin Kelleher is now very much a senior backup keeper, and though Elliott is only 20, he very much part of the first team.

“There were youngsters on the bench, but the starting lineup was strong and senior.

It’s perhaps no surprise given what assistant Pep Lijnders had said during the week about this competition and the team’s renewed desire to reach finals.”

 

Jones scored twice, but he wasn’t the only player who came in for praise…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 20, 2023: Liverpool's Curtis Jones celebrates after scoring the second goal, the club's 500th in the competition. during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mirror‘s Mark Jones thought it was a promising night for both Jones and Gakpo:

“Nunez aside, Klopp would probably have picked Jones and Gakpo as second half goalscorers as both enter what looks to be a crucial period of the Reds’ season.

“The pair haven’t often convinced everyone, although Jones has been unfortunate with injuries and suspensions, but they offer so much to this side when they are available, and as both found the net at the Kop end, Jones twice, a large smile spread across their managers’ face.

“It will be interesting to see how many starts the pair get in the coming weeks, because the Reds often look a better side when they are playing.”

Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph felt Szoboszlai was back to his best:

“A 59-minute midfield masterclass from Dominik Szoboszlai erased the memories of a difficult few weeks and probably made Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal players switch off early as Liverpool delivered their most complete performance of the season to reach the Carabao Cup semi-final.

“For the third successive game, Szoboszlai was subbed early. The difference this time was it was in celebration rather than frustration.

“Szoboszlai’s first-half thunderbolt was the highlight of an exhilarating performance to reaffirm the feeling another successful era is brewing at Anfield.”

Jarell Quansah continues to excel, leading to plenty of praise from Nalton:

“It was another performance for Jarell Quansah that shows Liverpool don’t need to sign another centre-back.

“Even with Joel Matip out injured for the foreseeable future, the club still has four central defenders each of whom would likely be starters in most other Premier League lineups.

“Quansah has been key to this, as his rise to being comfortable in the first team has been somewhat unexpected.

“Even to those who recognised his quality at youth level, stepping up to the first team in the Premier League, Europe and in the domestic cups is not an easy task.

“Especially not as a defender, and especially not in Liverpool’s system. But Quansah has stepped up, and you could even say he is now fighting for a starting spot alongside Van Dijk. That’s no easy task given how good Konate is, but he’s asking the question of Klopp.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 20, 2023: Liverpool's Jarell Quansah during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Harvey Elliott was outstanding, as has been the case for much of this season, according to BBC Sport‘s Simon Stone:

“The match-winning hero at Crystal Palace on 9 December, Elliott has made all but one of his Premier League appearances this season off the bench.

“In the cups, though, the 20-year-old has started every game, and provided more evidence of his talent as he excelled in both wide and central areas.

“Elliott gave a sign of what was to come for West Ham as he cut in from the right wing and sent a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the area.

“The England Under-21 international was just as likely to turn up on the left and at points in the second half, he played the midfield anchor as well.

[…]

“On a night when Liverpool matched their biggest win of the season, Elliott made a telling contribution without getting his own name on the scoresheet.”