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Klopp’s subs “swung the game” as media admire “hugely impressive” center-backs – Liverpool FC


The media revealed in Liverpool’s 2-0 win away to Inter Milan in the Champions Leaguewith certain individuals receiving special praise.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men produced a strong away performance on Wednesday night, riding a few waves of Inter pressure but ultimately getting the job done in the space of eight minutes.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool’s goals at the San Siro, before seeing the game out with consummate ease.

The Reds are now firm favorites to reach the quarter-finals, as an unprecedented quadruple still remains possible, if unlikely.

Here’s a look at how the media reacted to Liverpool’s victory.

Some enjoyed the smash-and-grab nature of the Reds’ win…

Goal‘s Neil Jones felt Liverpool got the job done in professional fashion:

“At the final whistle, Simone Inzaghi looked like a man who’d just had his lunch money stolen. No wonder.

Liverpool have one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals, while Inter find themselves halfway out the door.

“And it all seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. For five-sixths of this last-16, first-leg clash, a cigarette paper would not have separated the two teams.

[…]

“If they can win like this when playing like this, imagine what they can do when they really click.”

Melissa Reddy of the Independent enjoyed the gritty style of victory, too:

“Simone Inzaghi would have been dismayed, but not dumbfounded. Inter Milan’s coach predicted such an ending back in December when the Champions League last-16 draw was made.

“Teams like Liverpool have something more,” he mused. ‘They always give you the idea that you’re in it, that you can score a goal. Instead, they punish you. ‘

“It was all shaping up for an Inter triumph, persistent pressure blended with winning the duels, but then Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah breached their defense eight minutes apart to enact Inzaghi’s prophecy. ”

Football365‘s Matthew Stead felt Inter matched Liverpool in general, but the visitors’ ruthlessness shone through after the substitutions:

“The hosts gave a phenomenal account of themselves, from Milan Skriniar keeping pace with Virgil van Dijk in the ludicrously imperious defensive stakes, to Arturo Vidal inhaling the vaguely chaotic nature of this bout and using it to sustain his lifeforce. Ivan Perisic and Hakan Calhanoglu might similarly be wondering what more they could have done.

“But they are not Liverpool and Simone Inzaghi is not Jurgen Klopp. As good as he and his team are, they faced and fell to a ruthless machine that bounced off the ropes to land two knockout blows.

[…]

“For so long it was Inter who had the best of it, but Klopp’s substitutions swung the game. The introduction of Luis Diaz, Jordan Henderson and Near Keita on the hour, combined with Inter’s reluctance to make any such change, reinvigorated Liverpool.

“It came at a time when they really ought to have been behind on the balance of play. But Henderson and Keita helped re-establish midfield control, while Diaz was a livewire. “

Klopp and a number of his Reds players shone…

MILAN, ITALY - Tuesday, February 15, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) celebrates with team-mate Virgil van Dijk after scoring the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg game between FC Internazionale Milano and Liverpool FC at the San Siro Stadium.  (Pic by David Rawcliffe / Propaganda)

Martin Samuel of the Mail lauded Klopp’s tactical nous in the second half:

“Scorers get the headlines but, make no mistake, this was Jurgen Klopp‘s triumph.

“He is not a man for dramatic mid-game gestures. Dramatic emotions on the touchline maybe, but Klopp is not one of those managers who makes flurries of changes, or embarrasses a player by hooking him after 20 minutes.

“So when he makes a substitution after 45 minutes, and three at once 15 minutes later, something must be wrong. And something was going terribly wrong for Liverpool in the San Siro on Wednesday night.

“They were pinned back, overrun. They could not breathe such was Inter Milan’s second-half pressure. So Klopp acted. He ditched Sadio Mane for Luis Diazbrought Jordan Henderson and Near Keita into the overwhelmed midfield. And he changed the game. Suddenly, Liverpool were out of their half, giving as good as they got. ”

The Telegraph‘s Jason Burt focused on Firmino’s continued importance:

“There is so much understandable talk of a changing of the guard along Liverpool’s frontline with the arrival of Luis Diaz and the blossoming of Diogo Jota that it is forgotten what a decisive performer Roberto Firmino can still be.

“The Brazilian appears to have lost his place in the famed attacking trident, for the big games at least, but he emerged after half-time to replace the injured Jota and make the vital breakthrough in the first leg of this Champions League tie which was actually in danger of running away from Liverpool. ”

MILAN, ITALY - Tuesday, February 15, 2022: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (L) celebrates with team-mate Virgil van Dijk after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg game between FC Internazionale Milano and Liverpool FC at the San Siro Stadium.  (Pic by David Rawcliffe / Propaganda)

The Mirror‘s Freddie Keighley was impressed with Virgil van Dijk:

Jurgen Klopp declared Virgil van Dijk is back to his best after Liverpool’s 1-0 victory over Burnley on Sunday, and the Dutchman proved it once again in the Lombardy capital.

Van Dijk was hugely impressive against Inter Milan’s strike partnership of Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko, positioning himself to snuff out the danger and using his remarkable recovery pace to

“During Liverpool’s spell under the cosh early in the second half, the 30-year-old was seen bellowing to his teammates, urging them to raise their level and caulk the gap between defense and midfield.

“Van Dijk was paired with Ibrahima Konate rather than Joel Matip at center-back as Jurgen Klopp and the Frenchman made a number of important interventions including a fine block to repel Ivan Perisic’s effort just before the hour mark. ”

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher loved Ibrahima Konate‘s display, taking to Twitter to provide his thoughts:

It was hard not to focus on potential glory later in the season…

MILAN, ITALY - Tuesday, February 15, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg game between FC Internazionale Milano and Liverpool FC at the Stadio San Siro.  Liverpool won 2-0.  (Pic by David Rawcliffe / Propaganda)

Jones feels the coming months could be hugely exciting:

“And so on to Anfield we go. Liverpool have back-to-back home games in the Premier League now, a chance to make up some ground in their pursuit of Manchester City.

“After that comes the Carabao Cup final, and next month brings an FA Cup fifth round tie with Norwich before the second leg against Inter.

“Big games, big stages, big possibilities. A big few months lie in wait for Klopp and his side. ”

This Is Anfield also looked ahead to a key period:

“So back to Anfield we’ll go and given our form there, hopes will be high that we’re heading into the last eight.

“Before then, though, there’s a lot to get through for the Reds – including two games against Norwich and a cup final.

“The first one against the Canaries is in the league and at the weekend, back to Anfield where we’ve won 11 of the last 12 in all competitions and are unbeaten all season long.

Klopp has already explained how we will be rotating more frequently for the coming run of games, with Leeds and West ham the other opponents before the second leg with Inter.

“Everyone will be needed and by the time that game comes along, we’ll hopefully be a point or two closer to Man city – and have a trophy in the bank. We roll. ”

Finally, Reddy was another who was eyeing up glory for Liverpool this season:

“The scoreline will feel agonizing for his (Inzaghi’s) charges, but enlivens Liverpool’s ambition of picking up more than one piece of silverware this season.

[…]

Henderson was excellent in midfield as Liverpool swung the game and tie in their favor, keeping the big picture of Champions League glory in frame. ”





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