MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

Conor Bradley dominates the back pages as “star is born” against Chelsea

Liverpool put on a masterclass in their 4-1 win at home to Chelsea, with so much of the media’s focus on Conor Bradley and his stunning performance.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side were in top gear on Wednesday night, staying five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Diogo Jota and Bradley had Liverpool in complete control with first-half goals, while Dominik Szoboszlai and Luis Diaz put the game to bed after the interval.

It was a special evening at Anfield, as belief continues to grow about this being one of the greatest seasons in the club’s history.

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

 

This was something close to perfection by the Reds…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 31, 2024: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Guardian‘s Andy Hunter felt this was a big psychological win for Liverpool before the League Cup final, on an inspired night:

“Liverpool are counting down the days already. Chelsea must be dreading them.”

“A high-octane affair flew by with Liverpool refusing to allow Chelsea any time to play their way through a relentless press and peppering Djordje Petrovic’s goal almost on sight.

“Klopp got the atmosphere and the performance he requested. His team were at full throttle from the first whistle and the crowd parked their despair over Friday’s announced departure to produce a raucous noise. One fed off the other.”

On Twitter, David Lynch hailed a fantastic Liverpool victory:

“This was supposed to be a real test of Liverpool’s title credentials up against a £1bn team that has shown improvement of late.

“In the end, it was an utter demolition led by a 20-year-old academy graduate that keeps the Reds top. Some win.”

Miguel Delaney of the Independent feels Liverpool look well-equipped to finish Klopp’s reign in style this season:

“A show of force from Liverpool but, maybe more importantly, intent. If one of the concerns from Jurgen Klopp’s shock announcement has been that his burgeoning title challengers might get distracted or lose focus, they responded by winning 4-1 against Chelsea in a strikingly convincing manner.

“Mauricio Pochettino angrily disputed some decisions but it’s hard to argue it would have made too much of a difference to the end result.

“The long goodbye continues with some of the most devastatingly quick play in Europe, which was certainly too fast for a soft Chelsea team.

“It is another reason they will miss him, especially since this was yet another indication that an exciting new team really is coming together.”

 

Conor Bradley was sensational, earning endless plaudits…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 31, 2024: Liverpool's Conor Bradley scores the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Oliver Holt of the Mail lauded a defining display from the Liverpool youngster:

“In the days since he announced that he was leaving at the end of the season, it had become more and more obvious that Jurgen Klopp was craving an antidote to the preoccupation with his impending departure that had gripped English football. At Anfield on Wednesday night, he got a shot of it.

“It came in the shape of a 20-year-old kid called Conor Bradley, a young player wrapped in excitement and energy and skill and optimism and love for the game, a kid who could not more accurately personify the themes of renewal and hope that are coursing around Anfield this season if he tried.

“If the club’s supporters have spent much of the past few days glorying in Klopp’s past and celebrating his present, then Bradley represents a taste of the future that the manager is bequeathing to the fans on the red half of Merseyside who worship him.”

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher was another who loved what he saw:

During his commentary stint on TNT Sports, Ally McCoist couldn’t hide his admiration for Bradley:

“He will be bursting inside, and so he should be. What an unbelievable 65 minutes from the young man.

“He has been wonderful since he came into this Liverpool side. His phenomenal strike in the 39th minute has capped off a wonderful night for him.”

Jason Burt of the Telegraph not only praised Bradley, but also talked up the idea of Trent Alexander-Arnold moving into midfield:

“A star is born. That is always a bold statement to make when it comes to Liverpool, given their stellar history, but that is exactly what Conor Bradley is as he delivered the kind of performance that will be talked about for years to come.

“An outstanding goal, in only his second Premier League appearance, and two assists were followed by a rousing standing ovation as he was eventually substituted having humiliated an abject Chelsea. His name rang around The Kop – and that has to be earned. And it was earned.

“His replacement? It was Trent Alexander-Arnold who has been irreplaceable for so long at right-back for Liverpool but now, amazingly, has competition for his place from a 20-year-old academy product from Castlederg in Northern Ireland who also plays the kind of fearless, front-foot football that Jurgen Klopp demands.

“Of course, Alexander-Arnold will return to the starting line-up but maybe Bradley has given Klopp food for thought; maybe he can now actually play the England international more fully in midfield?”

2WFM8R3 Liverpool's Conor Bradley celebrates after assisting their side's third goal of the game scored by Dominik Szoboszlai during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Wednesday January 31, 2024.

Finally, BBC Sport‘s Gary Rose said that it was a night that “belonged” to the young Irishman:

“This was Liverpool’s second game since the shock announcement by Klopp that he will leave the club at the end of the season after eight years at the club.

“The first game following the news was an emotional FA Cup fourth-round fixture against Norwich against Anfield on Sunday, and it clear from both that performance and now this that Klopp’s players are determined to ensure his final season at the club ends in memorable fashion.

“Liverpool put five goals past Norwich to win 5-2 and they could easily have had as many in a dominant first half against Chelsea, with the unfortunate Nunez striking the woodwork three times.

“But the night belonged to the exceptional Bradley, who once again rose to the occasion despite the presence of fellow full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench, and he was deservedly given a standing ovation when he went off in the second half.”