Liverpool’s 4-1 win at West Ham sealed three wins from three in a superb week for Jurgen Klopp’s side, and sends them into the international break with a smile on their face.
And the national media were smiling too, though much of their focus fell upon what fate awaits Hammers boss Slaven Bilic.
Here is how they reacted:
In the Mail on Sunday, Rob Draper was impressed with what he saw from the away side.
He writes: Liverpool could take heart, whilst remaining realistic about the quality of the opposition they faced. Salah was superb, Mane infinitely better than might be expected for a man who had been out for a month and completed two training sessions and, cheeringly, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was flourishing. Klopp added Firmino’s performance to the mix.
They played what at times looked a highly-aggressive 4-2-4, but Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mane defended enough to make it work. Still, they didn’t need to be excellent because the theme throughout was West Ham’s inability to defend and Liverpool’s first goal was almost comical, so awful was it from West Ham’s perspective. Thirteen seconds passed between Manuel Lanzini taking West Ham’s corner at one end and Salah scoring at the other.
Jack Lang in the Independent goes all post-modern in his analysis, but is no less succinct – and bonus points for the description of the ‘unstoppable neon-orange smear’ for the opener.
He writes: There was a tentative roar from the crowd as the centre-backs bounded forward to attack a Manuel Lanzini corner in the 21st minute. 12 touches later and one unstoppable neon-orange smear later, the ball was in the West Ham net.
If you were to compile an itemised list of things you don’t want to do against Jürgen Klopp’s side, it would probably look something like this:
– Allow Mo Salah and Sadio Mané to run at your hilariously exposed defence.
– [FRESH AIR]
– [MORE FRESH AIR]
– Let Coutinho shoot, let their full-backs bomb on, etc etc.
Yet there was poor Aaron Cresswell, all alone and frantically backpedalling against two players who wouldn’t have looked out of place lining up for the 100m at this stadium back in 2012.
Praise for Salah, as expected, in the Telegraph from Sam Wallace.
He writes: When it comes to the effect of Mohamad Salah on Liverpool it is enough to know that his two goals against West Ham took him to within two of the total of 14 that Philippe Coutinho managed in the entire campaign last season, when he finished as the club’s leading goalscorer.
Salah scored his eleventh and 12th against an admittedly shambolic West Ham defence, although the home team were cut apart by the Egyptian and his team-mate Sadio Mane, back from injury after just two training sessions. By the time the international break is over Jurgen Klopp hopes to have Adam Lallana and Coutinho fit again and a side that was taken apart at Wembley by Tottenham last weekend may be in a position to renew their challenge.
Liverpool won their third consecutive game, a feat they have not managed since August and much of it was down to Salah who now has 12 goals this season and resumed his partnership with Mane in a fine breakaway goal for Liverpool’s first. Salah came to the club in the summer, Klopp said, as the unanimous pick of the scouting department and the coaching staff, a £34 million acquisition from Roma who already looks value for money.
And finally, the superb Jonathan Northcroft of the Sunday Times reflects on how Liverpool finished strongly.
He writes: The London stadium emptied, the home supporters bored of even booing, and Liverpool’s fans sang about Slaven Bilic’s team going down with Everton. Jurgen Klopp could even send on Dejan Lovren for a gentle runaround and some rehabbing of his confidence. West Ham were pathetic. They were also lucky — 4-1 and it could have been so much worse.
Liverpool were cutting through them, in the closing moments, like in a practice exercise against the training-ground mannequins. James Milner missed an easy one, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had one blocked and Joe Hart saved well from Mohamed Salah.
Two utterly supine bits of home defending led to Liverpool taking a 2-0 lead.
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