National media: Liverpool “less-than-convincing” but Darwin Nunez “rewarded”

Liverpool recovered from a lacklustre first half to pick up another vital three points in front of a league-record Anfield crowd, with Darwin Nunez among those to grab the headlines.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side were looking for a reaction after a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Arsenal six days earlier, but the early signs weren’t particularly promising.

All three forwards were on target in the 3-1 win, with Luis Diaz and Nunez following Diogo Jota‘s opener shortly after the half-hour mark.

Here’s a look at how the media reacted to the victory.

 

Three points while far from their best…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 10, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Guardian‘s Andy Hunter described the Reds’ performance as “deceptive” while adding that the forwards “punished” the slip-ups from the visitors:

“The home side were in control by the latter stages but the late dominance was deceptive. Vincent Kompany’s relegation-threatened team had made Liverpool fight their way back to the summit.

“Liverpool punished the visitors’ profligacy to secure victory through the tireless Nunez.”

David Lynch admitted on Twitter that it was far from a “vintage” performance from Liverpool, but insisted that recent injury problems should be factored into any post-match assessments:

“Not a vintage performance, but we can’t ignore that Liverpool added Joe Gomez, Alisson Becker, Conor Bradley, Ibrahima Konate and Dominik Szoboszlai to an already lengthy list of absentees this week.

All that mattered today was getting back to winning ways and they did that.”

Carl Markham wrote in the Independent that the victory was “less-than-convincing” but did also concede that absences harmed Liverpool against the Clarets:

“And while the three points re-established their two-point advantage the less-than-convincing nature of victory against the league’s next-bottom side was not quite befitting the occasion of Liverpool’s biggest league crowd of 60,725 after the full opening of the Anfield Road stand.

“They do have Mohamed Salah and Dominic Szoboszlai to return from injury in the next couple of weeks but having negotiated January without the pair it was imperative they regained their momentum after their Emirates setback.”

BBC Sport‘s Gary Rose was slightly critical of Liverpool’s performance, suggesting that the scoreline did not necessarily tell the full story:

“This was not a straightforward win for Liverpool, who were once again far from their best following the setback against Arsenal.

“There was relief at the final whistle after Burnley, who have won just three league games all season, squandered some fine opportunities to score, while Kelleher came to the rescue to keep out Fofana after half-time.

“It was only after Nunez’s header in the 79th minute that the Reds, who lost Trent Alexander-Arnold to a knee problem, were able to relax after numerous scares.”

 

Some shining lights as title race heats up…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 10, 2024: Liverpool's Luis Díaz (L) celebrates with team-mates Curtis Jones (C) and Wataru End? (R) after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Telegraph‘s Chris Bascombe joked that Klopp and Pep Guardiola might wish for “restraining orders” given how often they lock horns in search of the title:

“Where one goes, the other follows, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola probably wishing they could file restraining orders against the other.

“Liverpool returned to the summit after seeing off a spirited Burnley team who had their chances to puncture Klopp’s title aspirations.”

The Daily Mail‘s Joe Bernstein acknowledged the emotion shown by the manager during what was another crucial test in the race for the league.

“Klopp was in demonic form. He turned away from the pitch and howled at the Liverpool fans to get behind their team.

“He then stumbled and stopped himself from falling with his hands before continuing “discussions” with the fourth official.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 10, 2024: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mirror‘s Dan Marsh singled out Nunez as having been rewarded for his persistency after a series of near misses in recent games.

“Somehow, someway, Nunez failed to find the back of the net in Liverpool’s recent 4-1 win over Chelsea.

“Not only did he miss a penalty against the Blues, he was denied by the woodwork on no less than four separate occasions. But the master of chaos finally got his rewards in front of goal on Saturday after another all-action display.

“Nunez – like Liverpool’s first goalscorer, Jota – was a constant thorn in Burnley‘s side all afternoon but looked set to blank for the third match in a row before he struck late on – and he was good value for it, too.”

Ian Doyle of the Liverpool Echo rightly chose to hail Harvey Elliott‘s display, after putting on an exceptional performance in place of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who came off with a knee issue at half-time.

“[Elliott] made an instant impact with his energy and care in possession, and put in inviting crosses for the second and third goals. Helped changed the game.”

Those sentiments were echoed by This Is Anfield‘s Joanna Durkan, who said Elliott provide the “exact impact” required after the lacklustre opening 45 minutes:

“[Elliott] has consistently been a productive sub and here he help set up goals for both Diaz and Nunez. The exact impact you want from the bench and that will give him a timely confidence boost.

“When it comes to Man of the Match, you can’t really look past him. He changed the game at the exact right time.”