Liverpool were taken right to the limit by Swansea City as the Merseyside club needed a late winner from James Milner. Jurgen Klopp’s men did return from the Liberty Stadium with all three points but it was a tough game, to say the least.
Swansea took the lead through Leroy Fer and the Reds were extremely poor in the first half. Klopp threw the book at the Liverpool players and the side came out as a different beast. It was Roberto Firmino who got the equaliser and then won the penalty late in the game.
Milner might have saved Liverpool’s blushes and here is how the media reacted to Liverpool’s fourth Premier League win in a row.
ESPN’s Steven Kelly praised the side for grinding out a victory, even though they were poor in the game.
“Playing badly but still winning” might be a much-used motto for any team that wants to challenge for the title, but it fits snugly with this performance, one in which the visitors really showed up only for the second half.
Kelly’s colleague, Iain Macintosh actually compared the side to that of Brendan Rodgers’.
There is belief in this team, a compulsion to keep attacking that invokes memories of that near miss for the title under Brendan Rodgers in 2014. If you score one, we’ll score two; if you score two, we’ll score three. If nothing else, it’s certainly entertaining.
James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo stated that the club had taken in Klopp’s qualities this season.
The qualities Klopp has instilled in his squad were there in abundance – resilience, perseverance, a never-say-die spirit and an unswerving belief in their style of play.
The Mirror’s Andy Dunn even tipped Liverpool to be in the race for the title this season.
It [victory] won’t send their supporters dizzy with title delirium. It won’t make their rivals sit up any straighter and take greater notice.
But this WAS a check on the realism of Liverpool’s title aspirations. And it turns out they are real.
Many outlets upset about Liverpool’s play
There were those who weren’t impressed with the club’s performance, especially in the first half.
Stuart James of the Guardian felt that the Reds were too slow in their play and had underestimated Swansea.
Liverpool were so pedestrian in their build-up in the first 45 minutes and seemed to be taken by surprise when Swansea played them at their own game by pressing aggressively all over the pitch.
The Echo’s Neil Jones felt that the change in position of Philippe Coutinho in place of Lallana actually worked in favour for the Reds.
He’s had more spectacular performances in a Liverpool shirt, but his second-half display here was maturity personified. He pressed, he cut off angles, he tackled, headed and got his side playing forwards.
He looked strong, fit, motivated. He might have had a goal for himself, but he should be very pleased with his performance.
The Telegraph’s Graham Thomas also praised the Brazilian duo of Coutinho and Roberto Firmino.
Firmino’s pace and the probing of Philippe Coutinho swayed the second-half in Liverpool’s favour after Swansea had taken a deserved lead after only eight minutes.
Dafydd Pritchard from BBC Wales also stated that the equaliser from Firmino was the start of Liverpool’s dominance.
Klopp’s side dominated from that point and, after they were initially thwarted by dogged Swansea defending, they eventually struck when Angel Rangel pushed Firmino in the back and Milner calmly converted the penalty.
Goalkeeper issues for the Reds
Pearce went as far as saying that Karius should be benched and Mignolet should return to the XI against United.
Klopp said he would re-assess the goalkeeping situation during the international break having given Karius three games in place of Simon Mignolet.
But if the decision is based solely on performances so far this season then Mignolet should be restored to the side for the visit of Manchester United in a fortnight.
Tony Barret, though, was not at all impressed by Karius.
Again, he was part of a winning Liverpool team but again the Germany international bore the hallmarks of a young goalkeeper struggling to come to terms with a new style of football in a new country.
The next game against Manchester United will be tricky but the Reds do start as slight favourites, even if the goalkeeping issue has come back to light.