‘Champions in waiting have momentum & motivation’ – media verdict – Liverpool Echo

Posted: December 28, 2019 at 10:44 am


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Liverpool returned from being crowned World Club champions in Qatar by putting in arguably their finest performance of the season yet at nearest title challengers Leicester City to open up a 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.

Such was the imperious nature of the Reds' showing, the four-goal margin arguably flattered the hosts and has led some fans, as well as pundits, to claim Jurgen Klopp 's men now have one hand on the trophy even though there is still slightly more than have the league programme to be completed.

After the win, this is how the national media reacted to Liverpool's performance.

Henry Winter in the Times called out Liverpool as 'champions in waiting', suggesting the lead already built would need "the sort of catastrophic collapse that Jrgen Klopps side simply do not have in them".

"Liverpool have too much desire for a first title since 1990 to let it slip now, too much drive and concentration, the tone set by a manager who simply will not countenance complacency. Liverpool have the momentum and the motivation.

"They are European champions, world champions and will be English champions. They have strength of character, making light of the trip to the Club World Cup, and strength in depth, making substitutions of the quality of James Milner and Divock Origi.

"The reality, unfortunately for City, is that Liverpool started the season strong and maintained their pace."

Barney Ronay in the Guardian focused on the latest stellar performance from Trent Alexander-Arnold, who created two of the first three goals before applying the coup de grace with a stunning drive that a number of observers (including the aforementioned Winter) have compared to Carlos Alberto's immortal strike for Brazil in the 1970 World Cup final.

"Every week the Premier League team-sheets seem to make the same category-mistake with Liverpools defence. Liverpools No 66 plays (it says here) at right-back. In reality Alexander-Arnold is something else, a 21-year-old footballer whose talent has redefined his role, creating in the process something new and excitingly disruptive.

"Alexander-Arnold made two goals, scored Liverpools last one in a 4-0 win and looked irresistible at times. He is an extraordinary player in so many ways, a full-back who operates at a constant level of creative urgency.

"Some will point to the occasional holes in the defensive part of his game, flaws that were apparent here at times early in the match. But this is to miss the point to a world-class degree.

"There is a basic sense of optimism about Liverpools running game, a feeling the team can shift like a single mass to cover its weaknesses with strengths. Liverpool do not have a goalscoring centre-forward (he scored twice here). Liverpool did not have their best defensive midfielder (they did not need him). And, of course, Liverpool dont have a world-class playmaker. Except they do and hes currently bombing forward from right-back."

Melissa Reddy writing in the Independent was impressed by the Reds' resilience in performing with such energy and verve despite the gruelling trip to the Middle East as well as their sheer consistency over the last season and a half.

"The scoreline, as impressive as it was, could easily have been more pronounced. There are 13 points between Liverpool, who still have a game in hand, and their vanquished rivals in second and the question now is not who can catch them, but just how do you ground such a resolute machine?

"That unreal standard, born out of Manchester Citys relentless brilliance in the previous two seasons, has seen the Merseysiders stung by just one defeat in the last 57 top-flight matches away to Pep Guardiolas side on 3 January.

"The hosts had produced a lights and firework spectacle before kick off, set to The Greatest Show. It was followed by a long highlight reel that included Leicesters Premier League trophy lift in 2016, shown on both big screens amid thunderous noise and the synchronised waving of blue-and-white flags.

"But when the whistle went to usher in the real entertainment, there was only one protagonist. The authority Liverpool showed here away to title rivals after an exacting Club World Cup campaign that required unwelcome long-distance travel and extra time in the final - was astounding."

David Armitage writing in the Mirror meanwhile was struck by the sheer authority and relentless nature of Liverpool's approach.

"Champions of Europe. Champions of the World. Surely the coveted Champions of England crown is now just around the corner.

"Liverpool put on a masterclass to cruch their nearest rivals and an agonising 30-year wait for the title seems to be over.

"There is no sign they will be caught. It would take a collapse of epic proportions and that does not look like happening."

See the article here:
'Champions in waiting have momentum & motivation' - media verdict - Liverpool Echo

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December 28th, 2019 at 10:44 am

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