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‘Gem cutter’ – National media react to Liverpool win as Jurgen Klopp finds his ‘wildcard’

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Liverpool are on the charge in the Premier League after beating West Ham on Sunday afternoon at Anfield

Liverpool remain one of the early pacesetters in the Premier League season following their 3-1 victory against West Ham United on Sunday afternoon.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were facing an outfit who have also made a promising start to the new campaign, though the Reds’ quality proved too much for the Hammers as they fell to a second league defeat in 2023/24.

For Liverpool, the gap to Manchester City stands at two points – and there is a belief growing this could well be closed before long if the high performance levels witnessed since August remain a theme in the coming months.

Sharing their assessment of the events that unfolded at Anfield were the national media, along with the ECHO’s own Paul Gorst, whose thoughts on proceedings can be found below.

Paul Joyce of the Times wrote:

“For a spell, it looked like being another one of those afternoons for Darwin Núñez. The sort where he could feel the warmth of the Liverpool supporters, their throaty backing every time he shuttled back to help out in defense, but could not quite bring them to a crescendo.

“Shortly after half-time he had found himself standing in front of the Kop, his hands brought up to partly cover his face, after a glaring miss. A neat interplay between Dominik Szoboszlai and Mohamed Salah had created a gilt-edged opening, ten yards out, but the striker screwed his shot wide and lingered on the spot in disbelief.

“Yet one of Núñez’s undoubted qualities is the ability to brush off missteps and he is fortunate, too, to find himself in a Liverpool team who boast so much attacking intent that another chance is usually not too far away.

“Redemption would be sweet. On the hour mark, Alexis Mac Allister’s lofted pass from deep allowed Núñez to dart in between Kurt Zouma and Nayef Aguerd before stretching out his right boot to meet the ball on the volley. His execution of the chance was an instinctive delight, leaving the West Ham United goalkeeper Alphonse Aréola grasping at thin air, and the celebrations suitably raucous.

“He was bought to make the difference and his contribution here ensured that Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the campaign continues to fuel all manner of possibilities.”

‘Klopp has taken on the role of gem cutter’

Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph wrote:

“Darwin Nunez has finally adjusted to life at Liverpool. It is equally true that Liverpool have adjusted to him. Since Nunez became Anfield’s most expensive purchase, Klopp has taken on the role of a gem cutter, applying the necessary polish to a striker who in his debut campaign only occasionally looked the right fit.

“His match-winning double at Newcastle United earlier this season felt like a turning point. The star turn which effectively saw off one of the most accomplished West Ham sides to visit Anfield in 40 years carried an equally exciting maturity, the Uruguayan demonstrating why he is currently in possession of Liverpool’s No.9 jersey.

“Where last year Nunez might live in hope for the perfect pass, now he can draw crazy patterns with those boots in the knowledge Mac Allister and the outstanding Dominik Szoboszlai will not hesitate and more often than not will deliver.

“Klopp’s attack is surrounded by examples of wastefulness.

“Perhaps Liverpool has to accept the trade-off with Nunez: that his physicality and irrepressibility mean he will enjoy plenty of opportunities and the probability that some will be missed embarrassingly. Yet on a day when their other two goals were scored by more clinical finishers, in Salah and the substitute Diogo Jota, Liverpool offered an example of their firepower.”

‘Are they really in the Premier League title race again?’

Lewis Steele of the Daily Mail wrote:

“This win, with goals from Mo Salah, Nunez, and Diogo Jota, takes them to 16 points from 18 to start the season. Are they really in the Premier League title race again?

“Time will tell if they are ready to go the distance and lay consistent gloves on Manchester City and Arsenal after a much below-par campaign last season where they were 22 points adrift of Pep Guardiola’s champions. But the early-season signs are pleasing.

“What will perhaps please Klopp the most is his team’s tendency to get over setbacks. They had to weather a storm of West Ham chances in the first half here, with David Moyes’ side playing some nice football on the counter-attack.”

‘Comfortably eclipsed’

Andy Hunter of the Guardian wrote:

“Something is growing at Liverpool in the supremely qualified opinion of Jürgen Klopp. That judgment applies to expectations at Anfield this season, as well as the development of his refreshed, gifted, and hungry team. West Ham were comfortably eclipsed as Liverpool registered a sixth successive win in all competitions with plenty to spare.

“David Moyes’s visitors started brightly and deserved to head in level at the interval. Once Liverpool’s quality on the ball improved in the second half, however, West Ham was subdued and unable to contain the movement around them.

“Moyes’s long wait for a first win at Anfield goes on. Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool the lead from the penalty spot – he has now scored in 12 of his team’s last 13 home games – before second-half goals from Darwin Núñez and substitute Diogo Jota made Jarrod Bowen’s equalizer a distant consolation. Michail Antonio’s confident boast that West Ham will finish above Liverpool looks seriously misplaced on current evidence.”

‘Enduring brilliance’

“After a sluggish start, the Reds took the lead from the penalty spot 16 minutes after Salah was fouled at the end of a sweeping attack involving Diaz and Nunez by Nayef Aguerd. The Egyptian belted the ball down the middle for his fourth of the season and second of the week.

“It was Salah’s 13th goal involvement in as many games and took his tally for those particular metrics to a whopping 54 since the start of last season (20 assists and 34 goals). For all that talk about Saudi Arabian interest – chatter that will only intensify as it gets closer to January – there is surely merit in exploring the possibility of attempting to extend his stay on Merseyside. His enduring brilliance is showing no signs of dimming as he moves further into his 30s.

“For two players who were maligned at times last term, Joe Gomez, at right-back, and Joel Matip stood up superbly to the considerable set-piece threat of West Ham, with Matip in particular largely shackling Antonio, who left to ironic cheers in the second half.”

 

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