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“Simply refused to lose” – National media captivated as Liverpool “found a way”

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Liverpool showed a special response after a worrying first half, beating Luton 4-1 at Anfield, and the watching media lauded the mentality on show.

The Reds had to come from behind on Wednesday night, having trailed 1-0 at half-time, but some scintillating football earned them yet another victory.

Virgil van Dijk, Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz and Harvey Elliott got the goals for the hosts, who are four points clear at the top of the Premier League once again.

Here’s how the media reacted to Liverpool’s memorable win.

 

This was a serious show of mentality by the Reds…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 21, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chris Bascombe of the Telegraph dissected a nervy night that threatened to be disastrous at one point:

Jurgen Klopp had demanded a ‘European night’ to ensure Liverpool overcame adversity to keep Manchester City and Arsenal at bay.

“Being bereft of eleven first team players does not quite equate to being 3-0 down in the Champions League semi-final to Barcelona, but for a brief moment against Luton Town, Klopp must have felt his side was infused with the spirit of Divock Origi.

“They scored three in 15 minutes in the second half to launch a comeback win which transformed the Anfield mood from sustained anxiety to prolonged jubilation.

“Do not be fooled by the emphatic 4-1 final score. This was one of the strangest and manic high-scoring wins Klopp’s reign has witnessed.”

On Twitter, David Lynch hailed the mental resilience on show from all concerned:

“Yes, it’s Luton and yes, Liverpool have a good squad, but that is a huge win that shouldn’t be underplayed. The quality of players missing here can be the difference between winning these games or coming unstuck.

“But mentality is also huge and Liverpool simply refused to lose.”

Richard Jolly of the Independent feels Liverpool are heading to Wembley this weekend in “buoyant” spirits after their comeback:

“As long as they had 11 players, Jurgen Klopp had vowed, Liverpool would give it a go. Deprived of ten, going a goal down, they certainly did.

“A stunning turnaround brought Klopp’s band of brothers four goals and took them four points clear at the Premier League summit.

“They head to Wembley on Sunday buoyant, despite their injury problems. Depleted, they were not defeated, transforming a deficit into an emphatic triumph with irrepressible energy.

“Klopp had imbued his makeshift side with a defiant spirit and, as Luton Town threatened to earn their maiden win at Anfield, they required it.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 21, 2024: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lewis Steele of the Mail was blown away by a memorable second-half rampage by the Reds:

“Anfield was subdued and a venue filled with frustration at missed opportunities.

“That all changed at the break, as if Klopp had telepathically included the Kop in his half-time team talk. His team, and the fans, returned for the second half with more energy and urgency. The pattern of wayward shooting continued – but not for long.

“Instead, the pattern changed to one of the themes of this season. Once one goal goes in, the others soon follow, with the Reds now winning 22 points from losing positions this term.

“In two, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it minutes, Liverpool turned this game on its head.”

 

Key players shone after the break…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 21, 2024: Liverpool's Luis Díaz celebrates with team-mate captain Virgil van Dijk (L) after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Writing for This Is Anfield, Lynch focused on the unrivalled influence of Van Dijk:

“As good as Liverpool were in the second half here, the importance of levelling things up early cannot be understated.

“And, with the forwards continuing to struggle to find the finish in the absence of key men, it was time for the captain Virgil van Dijk to step up.

“As well as generally being the best defender in the world, the 32-year-old has made a habit of scoring game-breaking goals down the years for Liverpool.

“This was another case of him stepping up exactly when his team needed him – just as a captain should.”

Speaking after the game, Klopp himself had to pay special attention to certain figures:

“He [Luis Diaz] put it in the back of the net, Cody Gakpo what a game and Ryan Gravenberch too – they were all exceptional.

Caoimhin Kelleher had to fight against eight to nine men just to get a hand on the ball from set-pieces.

“Then the kids came on and did an incredible job. It is cool how culture educated the next generation.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 21, 2024: Liverpool's Cody Gakpo celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Mirror‘s Felix Keith felt the impact of Van Dijk and Gakpo was huge:

“As the hour-mark approached, it looked like it might be a frustrating night for Liverpool, who had Luton penned in but couldn’t find the killer blow. Then came two Alexis Mac Allister crosses and two headers from Netherlands internationals to change the score and the mood inside Anfield.

“First Van Dijk lost Ogbene to power in a header from an out-swinging corner. Then Luton went to sleep from a throw-in, allowing Mac Allister to power in a cross for Gakpo to convert.

“It could – and perhaps should – have been 3-1 via a similar method minutes later, but Van Dijk could only get his shoulder to another corner and Kaminski saved.

“In many ways, it was indicative of Liverpool’s season. They were behind, with people beginning to question just how they are top of the league, and then they found a way to turn it around.”