Monday, 14 September 2009

Media Round-Up: Liverpool 4 - Burnley 0

Liverpool's victory over Burnley has produced mostly positive reviews in the media. I say mostly, but there are still critics churning out the same old criticisms of Benitez and his team, whipping dead horses like his use of zonal marking and debating if the team does posses actual title credentials. Out of the so called 'top four', Liverpool have received the most negative headlines, even after a win. It is interesting to note that Arsenal's defeat at the hands of 'would be' title contenders Manchester City, did not deliver any 'Gunners in crisis' headlines. Liverpool have not been so lucky.

The Telegraph
"Among the 44,000 in Anfield’s rickety stands, Michael Shields yesterday watched Liverpool with an open mind. For 41/2 arduous years, he has been kept away from the team, and the ground, he loves. At 2.55pm, flanked by his family, he took his seat in the directors’ box, after a low-key entrance, a guest of the club and a free man."

"He has missed four years of claim and counter-claim about Rafa Benítez’s management, culminating in a barrage of criticism for the Spaniard’s sale of Xabi Alonso, for his side’s poor start to the season, their continued reliance on zonal marking and their weakness at set pieces."

"Few fans will have attended Anfield yesterday or, indeed, this season, so free of prejudice and agenda as Shields. After witnessing a Liverpool performance of confidence and precision, of power and control which swept Burnley aside with contemptuous ease, which could have led to twice as many goals as the four they managed, he may have left Anfield wondering why all talk of titles is deemed so foolish on Merseyside, why so many fans harbour doubts about the state created by 2005’s 'Rafalution’.

"Shields’s response to his first visit to Anfield since Liverpool won their fifth European Cup, four long years ago, will have been just as awestruck, just as optimistic. In that, too, among his fellow fans he may be alone, for now. If Liverpool can keep this up, though, he will not be for long."

The Guardian
"Gone here were the horrors of Liverpool's last home league match – the 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa – instead, Rafael Benítez's side displayed the relentlessness and deadliness to suggest they can, after all, better last year's second-place finish. Bar a first-minute strike from Martin Paterson that slid just wide of Reina's near post, the men in red were rarely threatened by Burnley."

"Yossi Benayoun was superb throughout this contest, as he has been since the tail end of last season, and played a defining role in releasing Liverpool from their initial sluggishness. His clever running worried Burnley throughout, and it was fitting that the Israeli should score his third hat-trick since arriving on Merseyside from West Ham in July 2007."

The Times
"At kick-off on Saturday afternoon, Liverpool and Burnley lined up as equals according to the Barclays Premier League table. Within a couple of hours, any ideas that such an unlikely equality could last had been ruthlessly dismissed."

"Liverpool scored four times but, such was their dominance as the game wore on, could have underlined their superiority with several more goals."

"it was a string of poor home results against teams from whom they should have taken maximum points that cost them the title last season."

"The penny finally appears to be dropping, though, with Stoke and Burnley on the receiving end of four-goal hidings."

"Then Benayoun provided a wonderfully incisive finishing flourish and what had been a contest increasingly turned into a procession."

The Independent
"Hat-trick one game and the substitutes' bench the next. That is the scenario facing Yossi Benayoun, yet Liverpool's reluctant substitute knows Rafa Benitez well, hence he has already accepted he may be missing when the team launch their Champions League campaign on Wednesday."

"Even if the Israel international feels aggrieved about his lack of starts this season, he certainly was not prepared to air them in public on Saturday. "Everyone wants to play all the time – I don't know anyone who is happy to sit on the bench," Benayoun said after the third hat-trick of his Anfield career. "But at Liverpool that can happen because there are so many good players. You have make sure you take the chance when you are on the pitch."

The Express
"Burnley were swatted aside, though the confidence Liverpool"

"There have been so many tensions simmering below the surface at Anfield in the opening weeks of the campaign that piecing together self-belief is key as Benitez seeks to build momentum before the trip to Chelsea on October 4."

"When Liverpool manager Benitez imparted the well-worn cliche about taking each game as it comes after this win, he was not being evasive, just realistic."

“We have been talking about rebuilding the confidence of the squad,” said Benitez. “Everyone was talking about the challenge of winning the Premier League before the season, but people were expecting us to win the title in September. That is impossible. We have to improve but you can see that we can play well and score goals. That is the way forward for us.”

"Benayoun, who revelled in a role on the right of midfield , has arguably been the club’s most consistent player since the start of 2009 and is beginning to thumb his nose to the notion that he is more effective off the bench than when starting."

"Brazilian midfielder Lucas has adopted that same outlook and the smattering of applause he received when taking a corner in front of The Kop suggests he is on the verge of a breakthrough in his battle to be taken seriously by Liverpool fans."

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