Scousers shine as ‘routine win’ defies “mood of pessimism” – Media on Sheffield United 0-2 Liverpool

Scousers shine as ‘routine win’ defies “mood of pessimism” – Media on Sheffield United 0-2 Liverpool

The media felt Liverpool’s performance was more eye-catching than the result against Sheffield United, and were impressed with the form of the two young Scousers.

The Reds finally returned to winning ways in the Premier League, cruising to a comfortable 2-0 win against the Blades at Bramall Lane.

Two contrasting finishes earned the three points, with Curtis Jones burying an opener before Roberto Firmino’s fortunate deflected effort sealed the victory.

This was a much-needed needed win for Jurgen Klopp’s side, and one that can hopefully provide a platform to build upon for the top four race ahead.

Here’s how the media reflected on a successful night for the Reds.

 

Reporters felt Liverpool did a “professional” job and the performance was more impressive than the result…

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 28, 2021: Liverpool's Curtis Jones celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Sheffield United FC and Liverpool FC at Bramall Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mail’s Dominic King labelled the victory a “professional” job as Liverpool calmly navigated their way through a game that presented a real banana skin:

Critics will scoff and say Liverpool should be beating Sheffield United regardless of circumstances but there is nothing linear about football, no place for guarantees. This fixture was loaded with difficulty for the champions, another potential bump in the road.

[…]

Those close to it all knew they could not return from Bramall Lane with anything other than three points and that is exactly what they did, professionally grinding out a win that would have been much more emphatic had it not been for the home team’s goalkeeper.

Writing for Goal.com, Neil Jones thought the performance was more impressive than the routine score-line suggested:

This was a victory that ended Liverpool’s four-game losing streak in the Premier League, and one achieved courtesy of a performance that defied the general mood of pessimism which has engulfed the club in recent weeks.

They may have only beaten the Premier League’s bottom club, but they did it well.

The Mirror’s Alex Richards thought the Reds produced a “solid display” and assessed the win as a “small step” forward:

It’s a very small step admittedly, but this was Liverpool ending their miserable run with a pretty solid display and a routine win.

[…]

But they did what was required at Bramall Lane, to put an end to their run of four straight defeats and serve notice that they are still in the battle for Champions League places.

ESPN’s Harry Kettle felt “persistence” was key to the victory, and was impressed by how Klopp’s side retained composure in their play while digging deep for an important win:

The key to victory for the Reds was persistence. They kept the ball on the deck, kept working it down the flanks and didn’t lose their cool — even in the face of mounting pressure from the hosts.

They’re clearly working hard to regain the composure they once had under Klopp but in a general sense, the visitors dug deep in a tough game, which is exactly what they needed to do.

Meanwhile, King thinks a top four finish remains “a huge ask” for the depleted Reds but believes it is not beyond Klopp’s side to pull it off:

It would be ridiculous to fall into the trap that one win has solved all Liverpool’s problems and set them up for a grandstand finish.

Achieving a top four place is still a huge ask but, crucially, it not beyond them. Should Liverpool follow up against Chelsea and Fulham in the next six days, perhaps then they can’t start to think bigger.

 

Members of the media assessed the two young Scousers were the stars of the show…

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 28, 2021: Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the FA Premier League match between Sheffield United FC and Liverpool FC at Bramall Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mirror’s Andy Dunn thought Jones and Alexander-Arnold reminded all watching of how bright Liverpool’s future can be with those two involved in the years to come:

But amidst this mediocre spell for one and all at Anfield, the likes of Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones have not lost their bravado, their swagger.

[…]

Here were two local lads, amidst the glumness surrounding recent team performances, giving a reminder of the long-term future’s promise.

Richards labelled Jones’ rise the “one bright spot” in the this brutal season and enjoyed the “drive” the youngster provided in midfield:

If there is one bright spot for the Reds during this difficult 2020-21 season, then the rise of homegrown midfielder Jones from bit-part player to bona-fide first-teamer is very much it.

[…]

He excelled here, adding drive and thrust from midfield and scoring the first goal that helped take them to an ultimately comfortable victory […] But make no mistake, he’s had a fine individual season and is going to have a major future at Anfield.

Writing for Squawka, Muhammad Butt explained how Jones offers something no other Reds midfielder does and believes the Scouser is a “Liverpool legend in the making”:

Jones adds drive and goal-threat in a way no other Liverpool midfielder does.

[…]

Curtis Jones is here and he is for real; a Liverpool legend in the making. The kid is so determined and talented it probably won’t be long before he’s eyeing up that no. 8 shirt.

 

Journalists also think this can be a turning point for Firmino, while there was praise for Nat Phillips…

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 28, 2021: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Sheffield United FC and Liverpool FC at Bramall Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

First and foremost, Jones was pleased to see a much-improved performance from the Brazilian striker as “when he plays well, Liverpool play well”:

It was Firmino who wrapped the game up for Liverpool. The Brazilian’s form of late has been patchy, to say the least, and his lack of killer instinct can infuriate at times but he was much improved here and, like Jones, got his reward.

[…]

When he plays well, Liverpool play well. And he played very well here.

The Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst commented on how the goal visibly lifted Firmino, and thinks this moment could prove key to helping the No.9 back to better form:

Regardless of how unfortunate you think that call is, the incident could still provide a fuller range of benefits for Liverpool’s No.9. Suddenly, the shoulders were no longer hunched, the scowl was replaced by the smile and the frontman started to play with more freedom, knitting the play in the final third with some neat touches.

[…]

But this game might just give Firmino – and Liverpool – something a lot more important than a notch in goals scored tally.

Also for the Echo, Ian Doyle praised Nat Phillips for his solid performance and feels the defender has proved he can be the “chief starting centre-back” for the rest of the season:

However, the performance of Nat Phillips at the heart of defence made light of the absence of both the Brazilian and Jordan Henderson, who has joined lengthy injury list for at least the next six weeks.

Dominant in the air, resolute defensively and demonstrating the right character, Phillips now has a strong claim to be Liverpool’s chief starting centre-back between now and the end of the season.

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