Home News National media are convinced Liverpool are “too good for the Europa League”

National media are convinced Liverpool are “too good for the Europa League”

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Liverpool cruised into the Europa League quarter-finals, dispatching of Sparta Prague 11-2 on aggregate, on a night that convinced the media they are “too good.”

Jurgen Klopp‘s men led 5-1 from the first leg and went one better on Thursday evening, romping to a 6-1 victory at Anfield.

Darwin Nunez, Bobby Clark, Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo (twice) and Dominik Szoboszlai all got on the scoresheet, with Salah also claiming a hat-trick of assists.

Here’s how the media assessed Liverpool’s win, on yet another positive night for Jurgen Klopp and his players.

 

The Reds were imperious yet again at Anfield…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 14, 2024: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott and Cody Gakpo celebrate the sixth goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Guardian‘s Jamie Jackson lauded a brilliant performance by Klopp’s men, saying it bodes well ahead of the FA Cup clash with Man United:

“This was an unadulterated duck shoot for Liverpool and the apt way to send a shudder through Man United ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford.

Jurgen Klopp’s admirable side are into Friday’s quarter-final draw via a goal-fest that required, metaphorically, an abacus to keep count because when Cody Gakpo touched in his second on 55 minutes that was 6-1 on the night and 11-2 on aggregate.

Mohamed Salah’s successful return to the XI for the first time since New Year’s Day is the headline news ahead of the cup tie versus United. His contribution: a goal and three assists and the completion of the match. Further reason for Erik ten Hag’s team to ponder their fate this weekend.

“There was only one way Klopp would instruct his men to play and this was their usual breathless attack-mode. Within six minutes a first dividend was reaped as Brian Priske’s men were rocked – as they would be three more times before the quarter-hour mark.”

On Twitter, David Lynch described it as a “perfect evening” for Liverpool:

“A thumping win, minutes in the legs of those who needed them, goals from the forwards and, most importantly, no new injuries.

“A pretty perfect evening for Liverpool in the end.”

Richard Jolly of the Independent focused on a stunning start to the game at Anfield:

“When Jurgen Klopp’s reign is over, when they remember the great European nights at Anfield in his tenure, a 4-0 scoreline will spring to mind. Barcelona remains the touchstone and, lacking the same sense of jeopardy, a second leg against Sparta Prague was never going to rival it.

“Yet there was nevertheless something remarkable in seeing Liverpool 4-0 up so soon: only one team had ever been four goals to the good after just 14 minutes of a match in a major European competition before.

“Make that two now. Whirlwind starts have been a feature of many a match in the Klopp years but they do not normally produce such an immediate reward.

“It was Czech mate for a rather hapless Sparta side – with Liverpool staging another blitz at the start of the second half to make the eventual score 6-1 and the aggregate 11-2 – as, with their hunger and ruthlessness, they turned a formality into an occasion and a warning for Man United, Sunday’s opponents.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 14, 2024: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph is so impressed with how much Klopp is getting out of his squad this season:

“Klopp could not have envisaged a round of sixteen European tie becoming such a training session.

“No matter how many changes he makes – how many youngsters he turns from academy players into senior professionals – Liverpool are playing as fluidly as at any point this season.

“Sparta are clearly not in the same class, but it does not require so much of a leap to believe this tie would have been less of a formality 12 months ago.”

 

A number of players caught the eye…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 14, 2024: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez (L) celebrates with team-mate Dominik Szoboszlai after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Josh O’Brien of the Mirror praised Nunez’s attitude, no longer allowing himself to be affected by bad misses:

“Much has been made of some of Nunez’s profligate finishing since he arrived at Anfield in the summer of 2022, but he’s certainly found his feet now.

“The Uruguay international has managed nine goals in his last 11 appearances and is sitting on 17 goals across all competitions so far this season. He still misses the odd glaring chance – he did again this evening, all strikers do, but Nunez doesn’t seem to dwell on it as much anymore.

“His sitter 35 minutes in was met with a smile from both him and Klopp.

“The 24-year-old could sense there were goals for him in this game from the very first whistle and it came as little surprise when he netted the opener. If Liverpool are to end this campaign with an impressive trophy haul, Nunez will have to keep up this kind of form long after the upcoming international break.”

 

Are Liverpool favourites to win the Europa League?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, March 14, 2024: Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai celebrates after scoring the fifth goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bascombe feels the Reds are primed to go all the way:

“Liverpool are too good for the Europa League. They know it, everyone hoping to avoid them in Friday’s quarter-final draw knows it, and so do all those Champions League clubs grateful Jurgen Klopp’s farewell roadshow will not be pitching up at their stadium.

“There is no certainty Liverpool will win the competition. There are plenty of other strong contenders who, like them, would have excelled in the higher tier tournament.

“But all the evidence suggests it’s going to take a brilliant team and monumental effort to prevent Klopp’s Liverpool swansong being May’s Dublin final.”

Finally, O’Brien said that a perfect farewell for Klopp in May is still on the cards:

“Liverpool have already got this season’s Carabao Cup in their trophy cabinet following last month’s success, but every member of the Reds squad will be desperate to win four from four before bidding farewell to the manager.

“Every member will also know that far tougher games await Liverpool than this one, but it sets the tone for what is another huge game that awaits them this coming weekend.

“Sunday sees the Reds travel to Old Trafford knowing a place in the FA Cups semi-final is at stake. If they can get past Man United, there will be even more belief that Liverpool can give Klopp both of the domestic cup competitions at the very least as a parting gift.

“Though the title is still on the cards, and this performance tonight suggests that the Reds have no interest in taking it easy in the Europa League.”