Liverpool got back to winning ways on Tuesday evening with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Rangers at Anfield on Champions League Group Stage match day three.
Trent Alexander-Arnold silenced his doubters with a sumptuous first half free-kick, before Mohamed Salah added another from the penalty spot in the second half, to wrap up the points for the Reds.
Jurgen Klopp fielded a new-look 4-2-3-1 formation, with Salah, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz playing behind Darwin Nunez and the reshuffle seemed to do the trick on the night. The result puts Liverpool on six points in Group A, behind Napoli who are yet to drop a point. Here's a round-up of what the national media had to say about Liverpool's victory.
The Telegraph - Sam Wallace
The next 11 days present Liverpool with the kind of challenge that every fine team with an eye on the important prizes in the game must confront: a visit to the league leaders and, after that, a meeting with the side that seem capable of beating anyone, at any time.
Between those two Premier League games, Jurgen Klopp’s team will venture north to take on Rangers in their Ibrox habitat where the assumption must be that something more serious than was attempted on this evening will be offered by the team from Scotland. Liverpool have been beaten soundly on their only other European away trip so far this season and the game in Glasgow, a week on Wednesday, will surely present more of a challenge than the one Rangers presented at Anfield.
Just two goals although the scope of Liverpool’s victory was much bigger. One of last season’s break-out sides in Europe, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team, the beaten Europa League finalists last time around, scarcely created a chance of note. With the full backing of Ibrox, and not a goal scored yet in three Champions League group game defeats, one can only imagine it will be a different prospect next week.
Hard to decide whether this was a Liverpool renaissance after such an indifferent start to the season, given the kind of game it became. Just the fourth win in ten games in all competitions this summer for Liverpool. Nevertheless Napoli’s 6-1 victory over Ajax in Amsterdam demonstrated the strength of the Italians in Group A. Klopp was eager to point out this was a different kind of attacking line-up for Liverpool with four attackers and just two midfielders.
Among them, the striker Darwin Nunez for whom there is still no Anfield goal yet. The man who will eventually cost £85 million was denied at least three in the first half by a brilliant performance from the 40-year-old Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor. Klopp said that the system – a 4-2-3-1 - had been practised just once in training in the days before the game and even then at a low intensity.
The Mail - Martin Samuel
Crisis over. In Europe at least.
Napoli will take some catching, but Liverpool are now comfortably on course for qualification in the Champions League group stage. The humiliating reverse in Naples is now a distant memory and there have never been any prizes for first place in the round of 32. So while domestic form remains a concern, in this competition, their next game is up at Rangers and if this tie is any indicator, there is a gulf between these teams which is unlikely to be overturned even with home advantage at Ibrox.
The 2-0 scoreline flattered Rangers almost as much as a 6-3 defeat in the Manchester derby flattered Manchester United. Were it not for a heroic performance by goalkeeper Allan McGregor, Rangers would have returned north egos bruised and reputation in tatters. Liverpool have not won at home against a Scottish team since beating Aberdeen 4-0 in 1980, and have failed in their last three attempts, but this was never in doubt.
Liverpool should have put so much more on opponents who barely ventured over the halfway line and left their most prolific goalscorer on the bench. Instead, it was only when teenage prospect Leon King brought down Luis Diaz – he got there marginally before John Lundstram who looked set to do the same thing – that Liverpool could feel comfortable.
Not that Rangers were threatening. Just that a 1-0 lead will always leave a team vulnerable, no matter the disparity between opponents. Once Salah had put his penalty down the middle – he has now scored 10 times in his last 10 Champions League group game appearances – Liverpool had the cushion they needed.
As if to prove this point, with five minutes remaining, Fashion Sakala had a shot blocked on the line and from the resulting corner, Alisson made his first real save of the game from Antonio Colak, on too late. You can never be too careful.
Yet, really, despite the fire and rivalry on the perimeters, the game itself was a disappointment. No contest. It has taken these clubs since the dawn of European competition to finally meet and, when they did, were it not for McGregor, the game would have been over before half-time.
BBC Sport - Phil McNulty
The build-up to this Champions League confrontation contained the usual 'Battle Of Britain' narrative as Rangers travelled south of the border to Anfield to test their credentials against one of the Premier League elite.
In reality, this was over as a contest once Alexander-Arnold demonstrated perfect technique to curl his free-kick beyond McGregor. Liverpool never looked back and Rangers never mounted a serious threat.
Liverpool's only disappointment was that they did not make the most of the host of chances they created, with the hard-working Nunez hitting the target with most of his efforts and showing good movement, only to put his finishes too close to McGregor on too many occasions.
For all their domination, Liverpool relied on a brilliant free-kick and a penalty to secure the win. It was the ideal game for them to gain some rhythm and momentum, with Klopp selecting an all-out attacking line-up with a front four of Salah, Nunez, Diaz and Diogo Jota. They will surely face a tougher test at a hostile Ibrox in the return game but this simply could not have been more comfortable, making it a satisfactory night for Klopp, who wanted to see Liverpool edging somewhere back towards their best.
The Guardian - Andy Hunter
The first competitive meeting between two of Britain’s most successful clubs captured the imagination, drew Steven Gerrard back to his beloved Anfield and even lured Sir Alex Ferguson into enemy territory. It proved an occasion only on paper. The gulf between Liverpool and Rangers in terms of Champions League experience, revenue and quality was reflected on the pitch where Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team were thoroughly outclassed.
Jürgen Klopp’s 60th Champions League game as Liverpool manager – qualifiers excluded – was just the elixir his team required in their quest for confidence and defensive solidity. Trent Alexander-Arnold reminded Gareth Southgate of the attacking prowess that the England manager may decide to go without at the World Cup with a stunning free-kick.
Mohamed Salah added a second from the penalty spot. Limiting the defeat to two was Rangers’ finest achievement on a night when they were indebted to the enduring excellence of goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
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