MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

National media call Liverpool the “real deal” as they avoid “banana skin”

Liverpool were outstanding in their 4-0 victory at Bournemouth on Sunday, as the Reds outlined their Premier League title credentials in style.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side may have taken a while to get going at the Vitality Stadium, but their second-half display was one of the best this season.

Darwin Nunez opened the scoring soon after the interval, before Diogo Jota twice found the net, and the former completed the win late on.

Here’s how the media reacted to Liverpool’s win.

 

An impressive day at the office for Klopp’s men

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail lauded a professional Reds victory in tough conditions:

“The building blocks of any title challenge are set down on filthy midwinter days like these, with the wind swirling and rain slanting down on teams stretched to their limits by injuries and absences but Liverpool refused to be blown off course.

Jurgen Klopp‘s team stood up to the challenge in the first half when they struggled to find any sort of rhythm and sailed away with it after the break with two goals each from Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota.”

On X, David Lynch was excited by what he saw, as Liverpool show signs of going through the gears:

“Thought this could be a real banana skin for Liverpool and we saw a bit of why in the first half, but they always looked in control and just kicked on after half-time.

Jurgen Klopp sides always get better in the second half of the season and they seem to be clicking into gear.”

Neil Jones was similarly impressed by an empthatic Reds performance:

“That’s a hell of a second half from Liverpool, and a hell of a win.

“They’re the real deal.”

 

Jota and Nunez rightly earned special praise

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's Diogo Jota scores the second goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Guardian‘s David Hytner focused on the impact of Nunez on the day:

“When Liverpool were here at the beginning of November, Storm Kieran raged and they won to advance in the Carabao Cup.

“There was another weather warning here, with Storm Isha incoming and another powerful message. Liverpool are back from their winter break and they have their eyes on the Premier League title.

“Once again, Storm Darwin also blew. In the cup tie, it was Darwin Núñez who scored the winner and it was his goal at the end of the slickest of team moves early in the second half that tiled this game in his team’s favour.

“Nunez was very good after the break, all power and threat, that untamed feel of his to the fore, and he was involved in the second goal that made the points safe, Liverpool extending their lead at the top of the table to five points over Manchester City, albeit having played an extra game.”

BBC Sport‘s (Everton-supporting!) Phil McNulty hailed Jota and Nunez for stepping up without Mohamed Salah:

“Salah’s presence with the Egypt squad at the Africa Cup of Nations saw the usual questions asked about how Liverpool would cope without their talismanic superstar.

“The answer so far has been a highly impressive one, with victory at Arsenal in the FA Cup fourth round, an EFL Cup semi-final first-leg win against Fulham and now a stroll to three points here on a stormy south coast.

“Nunez and Jota came to the party once again with two goals each, proving what weaponry Klopp has at his disposal even without Salah. Both showed the quality required here to compensate for the fact the Premier League‘s joint-leading scorer was missing.

“This was also a Liverpool side without several other high-profile players, including the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, Dominik Szoboszlai, and Japan midfielder Wataru Endo also away at the Asian Cup.”

 

There were standouts in defence and midfield, too

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez (L) celebrates with team-mate Joe Gomez after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mirror‘s Felix Keith waxed lyrical over an immaculate Alexis Mac Allister display:

“Mac Allister is not a natural in the position, that much is fairly obviously, but he did show plenty of promising signs in the first half, with Jamie Carragher correctly identifying him as Liverpool’s best player at half-time on Sky Sports.

“The World Cup winner twice found Darwin Nunez with raking balls – one a cross-field spray, the second a pinpoint through ball after he evaded pressure – but neither came to anything.

“There was another great moment when the play appeared to be retreating backwards under the Bournemouth press, only for Mac Allister to fire a vertical pass straight through it to Elliott.

“He may not be Fabinho, but his passing range certainly gives Liverpool a threat from deep.”

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's Diogo Jota (L) celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On X, Steele also singled out the Argentine:

“All-action display from Alexis Mac Allister – 95 touches, 70 passes, 13 tackle, 0 fouls, 3 interceptions.

“Exceptional performance.”

Finally, This Is Anfield‘s Lynch thought Ibrahima Konate and Virgil van Dijk were exceptional:

“Of course, as much as Liverpool controlled things in the middle, there were still moments when Bournemouth were able to threaten their box.

“However, Andoni Iraola’s men only found themselves running into the brick wall that is Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate, who might well be the Premier League‘s best defensive pairing in this moment.

“Here, Van Dijk made five blocks and four clearances, while Konate won an impressive eight out of his 10 aerial duels and four out of five on the ground as Bournemouth were consistently repelled.

“If Jurgen Klopp can keep this pair consistently injury free, then Liverpool have every chance of keeping their remarkable recent form going.”