Liverpool showed “threatening best” but “defensive frailties” still there

Liverpool finally got back to winning ways with a 4-2 win over Tottenham, and the watching media found some much-needed positives.

Jurgen Klopp won on his penultimate Anfield game in charge of the Reds, even though things got hairy after a late fightback from Spurs stemming from his choice of substitutes.

Liverpool were in cruise control for much of the proceedings, playing superbly, with Harvey Elliott‘s screamer the pick of the bunch.

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


This was much more like it from Liverpool…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 5, 2024: Cody Gakpo of Liverpool scores a goal and celebrates 3-0 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Photo by Ryan Brown/Propaganda)

The Independent‘s Richard Jolly felt this was a reminder of Klopp’s brilliance:

“Eight and a half years after Jurgen Klopp’s reign began against Tottenham, five years after it peaked in a Champions League final against them, Spurs may prove a final example of what made it great and why Anfield will mourn the German.

“An action-packed affair – like many a game this season, some of the drama stemmed from Liverpool’s defensive frailties – contained irrepressible pressing, irresistible attacking football, a goal from a rampant and recalled Mohamed Salah: Liverpool’s only regret could be that it came now and not a few weeks earlier.

“If it was too late for the title race, it was too good for Tottenham.”

On X, David Lynch gave his thoughts on a largely positive display, saying Liverpool looked far fresher than of late:

“A little nervier than it should have been in the end but that was a game that further underlined to me that fatigue was the cause of Liverpool’s recent struggles.

“No coincidence they looked so fresh and dominant against a good side after enjoying a week off.”

Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph was baffled by a limp Spurs showing:

“The urgency which brought Spurs two late goals made what preceded it even more bizarre.

“With Aston Villa losing to Brighton, the door was ajar to a late Spurs’ bid for Champions League football. Liverpool were not exactly there for the taking at Anfield.

“They never are on their own turf, and with the Kop in a party mood as Jurgen Klopp’s farewell party heads towards last orders, Spurs evidently arrived a couple of weeks too late.

Mohamed Salah was back to his best, Harvey Elliott reminded next manager Arne Slot of the young quality he is inheriting, and the three week aberration that cost the chance to win more trophies was cast aside.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 5, 2024: Andrew Robertson of Liverpool celebrates a goal 2-0 the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Photo by Ryan Brown/Propaganda)

Klopp himself assessed the performance after the final whistle, providing some typically balanced thoughts:

“It was a bit what we are: outstanding until we are not. It was a really good game. It was the whole situation.

“Villa lost before and Spurs can close the gap to the top four. We are safe in top four. In high performance, you need to find a reason.

“The boys showed it. Anfield was a special place again because the boys were outstanding, until we were not, then we saw how dangerous Spurs could be if we let them.”

BBC Sport‘s Phil McNulty thought there were signs of peak Liverpool on show at times:

“Liverpool may have ended this game, remarkably, with some anxiety around Anfield but for an hour they were back to their imperious, threatening best.

Tottenham‘s two goals gave the scoreline a closer look than Liverpool’s performance deserved but they were never in serious danger of giving up the victory.

“Salah had clearly recovered from his disagreement with manager Klopp at London Stadium as he led the charge by scoring the first goal and having an involvement in Robertson’s second.


“Klopp was not whipping up the Kop for a final push for the Premier League title – that has gone after this season once held hopes of four trophies – but it certainly sets the scene for an emotional Anfield goodbye in a fortnight.”


Elliott received special praise for a great performance…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 5, 2024: Harvey Elliott of Liverpool celebrates 4-0 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Photo by Ryan Brown/Propaganda)

The Mirror‘s Mark Jones loved what he saw from the Liverpool youngster:

“He’s been one of the players of Liverpool’s season, but you’re never quite sure whether or not Elliott will even play.

“Bright, creative and always tuned in to the rhythm of the game, he’s been a valuable substitute throughout the campaign and often makes game-changing contributions, but nobody wants to be a sub forever.

“It remains to be seen what system Slot will choose to play at Liverpool – remember Klopp played a 4-2-3-1 at Dortmund – but he’ll need to find a spot for Elliott within it in order to ride the crest of his emerging talents.

“The very fact that he is so in and out of the team, plus his tender age – he only turned 21 last month – means that full England honours haven’t quite arrived yet ahead of the summer, but when you look at the lazy contribution of Tottenham sub James Maddison you begin to think they won’t be far off.”


We really are nearing the end of the Klopp era now…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 5, 2024: Jurgen Klopp Manager of Liverpool celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Photo by Ryan Brown/Propaganda)

Jones feels that the Liverpool manager is leaving Liverpool in a great position:

“Has a manager ever left a squad behind in better shape than this one? That was what Klopp said he was desperate to do when he announced that he was leaving, and if anything that could prove to be somewhat intimidating for Slot. Surely he can’t mess this up?

“The template is there for the Dutchman to follow, and everything we know about his style of football means he’d have appreciated the pressing and hard running that was on show here from his new side during what turned in to a relentless display either side of half-time.

“These are players who know how to play the way that Slot wants them to, even if they are still rather rough around the edges as as their second half slackness showed.”

And Jolly noted the qualities of Klopp’s Liverpool that will be missed:

“Klopp’s Liverpool have offered entertainment in abundance, sometimes with a sense of jeopardy, providing the sense anything could happen. The unpredictability and the excitement, as much as the excellence, will be missed.”