National media marks return of “Mentality Monsters” after Liverpool comeback

Liverpool just keep on winning at the moment, with those in the media dissecting a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Fulham in the Carabao Cup.

The Reds got the better of the Cottagers in the semi-final first leg at Anfield, thanks to second-half goals from Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side were 1-0 down at half-time, following a limp opening 45 minutes, but their winning mentality shone through yet again.

Here’s the best of the media reaction after Liverpool’s latest triumph.


It wasn’t always pretty, but Liverpool got the job done…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 10, 2024: Liverpool's Curtis Jones celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph hailed the Reds’ “sheer bloody-mindedness” to seal another win:

“This was not about the silky-skilled, fluent Liverpooll which propelled itself to the top of the Premier League. The latest comeback courtesy of Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo is all about the re-establishing of Jurgen Klopp’s mentality monsters.

“For large parts of a game which increased in excitement, Klopp’s side lacked the class and the structure that has typified recent excellence.

“More than any other quality, it was their sheer bloody-mindedness which saw them cancel out Willian’s first half strike which means they take a slender advantage to London in a fortnight.”

Similarly, Lewis Steele of the Mail focused on the Reds’ ability to come from behind in matches:

“The theme of Liverpool’s season is much like an old movie you’ve seen dozens of times before, the sort that pops up every Saturday night on ITV2. You know what’s going to happen, the plot twist is no surprise, but you can’t help but watch it again and again.

“This was the 15th time this season Liverpool had gone 1-0 down and gone in at half-time with complaints of sloppiness in defence and a lack of creativity in attack. But like the ending to so many of those matches this term, the Reds came back to triumph.

“Liverpool had only lost three of those matches, two were meaningless Europa League games and the other was after a VAR shambles at Tottenham. Jurgen Klopp would be quick to deny that his self-dubbed Mentality Monsters are back – but it is hard to argue any more.”


Klopp’s substitutions are so influential at the moment…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 10, 2024: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo (R) celebrates with team-mate Darwin Núñez (L) after scoring the second goal during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Independent‘s Richard Jolly lauded the Liverpool manager’s tactical tweaks:

“Reduce Jurgen Klopp’s options on his bench and the Liverpool manager can still look a master of invention. Three days after the German changed a cup tie against capital opponents to conjure victory where defeat beckoned, he did so again.

“Two changes brought two goals in three minutes, another reshuffle leading to another change in fortunes. The manager felt the match-winner.

“It may be of scant consolation to Fulham that Arsenal know how they feel. At least Marco Silva’s side have a second chance.

“The problem they may already sense is that Liverpool are the toughest of teams to kill off.”

On Twitter, David Lynch argued that two substitutes “made all the difference”:

“Liverpool massively improved in the second half and deserved winners in the end, with Jurgen Klopp again brilliant in using his bench – Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez made all the difference.

Fulham still in this, though, and they’ll make it tricky again in the return leg.”


It was hard not to focus on Conor Bradley, too…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 10, 2024: Liverpool's Conor Bradley during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Writing Twitter, Steele was so impressed with what he saw from the young right-back:

“If it wasn’t creator-in-chief Trent Alexander-Arnold he was replacing, that Conor Bradley performance would win a lot more plaudits.

“A few mistakes, but 87 touches and always an outlet, never stopped running, imperious defensively. Very promising future.”

When asked if Bradley would sleep after his star showing at Anfield, Klopp could only speak highly of his player:

“He will. I’m not sure he’ll make it home, probably he will fall asleep in the dressing room. Exceptional. What a boy.

“Fantastic character, real talent, top potential – and he’s in the right team because everybody loves him and respects him and wants him to succeed, it’s really nice.”