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National media praise “job well done” as Ryan Gravenberch “really looks the part” – Liverpool FC

The national media could be forgiven for finding Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Union SG a tough watch, but they still praised aspects of the victory.

The Reds’ Europa League triumph was rarely in doubt on Thursday evening, but the hosts were never quite at the races.

Ryan Gravenberch‘s first Liverpool goal gave his side a half-time lead, but the home crowd had to wait until Diogo Jota‘s strike in stoppage time to celebrate again.

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

 

There will hopefully be more famous European nights to come at Anfield…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) embraces manager Jürgen Klopp as he is substituted during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Richard Jolly of the Independent felt it was simply a case of winning and then moving on:

“This time, at least, Jurgen Klopp has no need to ask for a replay.

“The significant human error came from Darwin Nunez, not a pair of video assistant referees, but the Uruguayan’s latest shocking miss did not prevent Liverpool from marking the return of Europa League football to Anfield with a victory that is unlikely to be remembered for as long as Sunday’s controversial defeat to Tottenham.”

“Its repercussions, and Klopp’s view that the game should be restaged, may continue to overshadow much else, but while Diogo Jota‘s injury-time goal was the right kind of response to his red card in London.”

This Is Anfield‘s James Nalton dissected a disjointed contest at Anfield:

“Maybe it was the number of substitutions at half-time that unsettled the game, or maybe it was some kind of comedown after the drama of the weekend, but this game never really seemed to get going.

“The atmosphere was fairly quiet, though content and relaxed, and the early-ish goal meant Liverpool just had to pass their way to a 1-0 win if they wanted to.

“That’s not to say they didn’t try to add more, and one eventually came via Jota, but there was always the sense they didn’t really need to.

“This was reflected in the overall atmosphere of the game as it ended up being a job well done for Liverpool.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's Ryan Gravenberch celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lewis Steele of the Mail admitted that Liverpool were rather gifted their victory:

“Following five days of debate about replaying matches and overhauling officiating after Liverpool were let down by a monumental mess-up by VAR at Tottenham, the Reds were now the benefactors of a huge mistake that tilted a tight game.

“Jurgen Klopp‘s side dominated their Belgian opponents Union Saint-Gilloise from start to finish but ultimately were thwarted by poor finishing on their behalf and inspired goalkeeping from Luxembourg international Anthony Moris.

“It was a shame, then, that Union’s captain Moris will leave Anfield knowing he has cost his team dearly, especially noting the Belgians went undefeated in five European away days last season.

“A weak effort was parried into Ryan Gravenberch‘s path and that’s all Liverpool needed.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's Luis Díaz sees his shot hit the post during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Telegraph‘s Chris Bascombe admits that the Europa League hasn’t been too exciting yet this season:

“No VAR hiccups, no red cards, no controversies and no need to hear audio tapes of confused officials. Jurgen Klopp must have thought there was an outbreak of normal football at Anfield.

“His side put one of the most curious weeks of his reign behind them with a routine Europa League victory over Belgium’s Union SG.

“In truth, the excitement level never extended much behind that of listening to Darren England and Dan Cook’s ramblings on Monday evening. This second tier of European competition has not quickened the pulse of the six-time Champions League winners yet.”

 

This was a night when Gravenberch and Jarell Quansah proved their worth…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's goal-scorer Ryan Gravenberch (R) shakes hands with manager Jürgen Klopp as he is substituted during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Athletic‘s James Pearce really liked what he saw from the Dutchman:

“Unlike Mac Allister and Szoboszlai, who have proved instant hits at Anfield, Gravenberch didn’t have the luxury of a full pre-season under Klopp to get to grips with exactly what’s required from him tactically.

“The 21-year-old has been eased in gently but the signs are promising. He’s an elegant footballer who is good at finding pockets of space to operate in and is so aware of his surroundings. Quick and purposeful, he repeatedly drove forward from the left side of Klopp’s midfield three.

[…]

“Gravenberch’s career stalled at Bayern – Thomas Tuchel didn’t fancy him – but he’s growing in confidence and starting to really look the part at Liverpool.”

Jolly briefly touched upon his admiration for Gravenberch’s display:

“If there is a long-term consequence of the defeat of Union Saint-Gilloise, it may come in the form of a first Liverpool goal for Ryan Gravenberch; the temptation is to brand it the first of many, given how impressive the Dutchman has looked since his arrival from Bayern Munich.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's Jarell Quansah during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kieran King of the Mirror was very impressed by another assured showing by Quansah:

“Having spent the second-half of last season on loan at Bristol Rovers, not many would have expected Jarell Quansah to have quite the impact he has had at the start of this season.

“The 19-year-old excelled after being thrown in for his debut against Newcastle in August, and he has not looked back.

“Quansah shone on his first Liverpool start at Wolves last month, and also grabbed his maiden Reds assist in the recent 3-1 win over Leicester.

“The England under-20 international was handed another chance to impress after being handed his full Europa League debut against Union – and he took the opportunity with both hands.

“The centre-back produced a superb performance and didn’t put a foot wrong as Liverpool kept their first clean sheet in six matches since before the last international break.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On Twitter, David Lynch touched upon the low-key nature of the win, also praising the performances of Gravenberch and Quansah:

“Not a game that’ll live long in the memory but job done from a much-changed Liverpool.

“Gravenberch a standout yet again, but Quansah’s performance should also be noted. CB was considered a weakness coming into this season so to have a player like that emerge is a huge boost.”

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