It was a relentless triumph, with goals from Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota that put Jurgen Klopp’s side ahead after an early penalty for the visitors.
VAR once again proved controversial for the kicking incident, Fabinho ultimately judged to foul Oli McBurnie just at the edge of the area after what many thought was a tough but fair challenge.
National media and other publications had a lot to say about the game.
Here is an overview of the reaction …
“VAR created an inflammatory disorder that delays emotions”
Chris Bascombe in The Telegraph: Never have the borders between the last three and those considered as favorites of the title been so blurred. The champions were pushed to their limits by Sheffield United – Jurgen Klopp’s side victorious thanks to Diogo Jota’s second-half header – but screams of relief from players and full-time staff underscored that he It was a triumph of courage.
Liverpool came from a down goal, overcame their notable absentees and made sure contentious arbitration appeals were not high on the agenda for a straight weekend.
Until Roberto Firmino equalized a controversial penalty, sent by Sander Berge after nine minutes, it looked like another email exchange with chief referee Mike Riley was on the to-do list.
When fans are finally allowed to return to football stadiums, the Premier League could also announce a ‘video assistant controversy’ over the match ticket.
What an incendiary mess they created, with every game played amid relentless fear we can’t be sure what we are seeing. Now our emotions need a delay function.
[Fabinho] was judged to have fouled the attacker inside the box rather than his perimeter. The replay was inconclusive on two fronts, suggesting the Brazilian got the ball anyway. The VAR seemed to take this as trivial when they ordered Mike Dean to point to the location. Berge accepted the invitation to beat Alisson Becker.
“Liverpool’s Anfield race continues despite the distraction”
Andy Hunter for the Guardian: Despite the interventions that lead Klopp to distraction, his team extended their unbeaten one at Anfield to 62 remarkable league games.
The 9,999th goal in club history means Liverpool can match their record 63 unbeaten home league games – set between 1978 and 1981 – when West Ham visit next Saturday.
Klopp will be looking to improve his team’s performance, it was harder fought and stubborn than smooth and sleek, but their focus and resilience were once again flawless.
Jota’s winner, coming two minutes after Salah’s refused volley, was the mark of a determined team.
Jota brought even more quality and adventure to Liverpool’s attack as Klopp made a rare formation change to 4-2-3-1 with the Portugal international on the right and Salah in the lead.
Jordan Henderson particularly enjoyed the extra options that awaited him as Sadio Mané flourished as usual on the left.
“Seeing is believing, because VAR dominates the conversation”
Melissa Reddy in The Independent: Seeing is believing, that’s what we’ve been told. Yet even with the advantage of technology – endless reruns, all angles, frozen images – we still can’t believe what we are seeing.
It was yet another day where what VAR failed to spot – Harry Maguire’s take on Cesar Azpilicueta in Manchester United’s goalless draw with Chelsea – to what he did: a penalty when Fabinho tried to steal the ball from Oliver McBurnie, did not calculate.
Andre Marriner was the man at the Stockley Park pit who made the second call 12 minutes into the game at Anfield, in which Liverpool beat Sheffield United 2-1.
Fabinho, stationed next to Joe Gomez again central defender in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, slipped to the edge of the box to thwart McBurnie in possession.
He won the ball and kicked part of the striker’s foot, with referee Mike Dean thinking it was a foul. Marriner reviewed the incident, but only checked if it was inside or outside the area, passing no judgment on the contact itself.
Dean pointed out the spot, Sander Berge sent Alisson back the wrong way and United were leading 1-0 with Liverpool completely losing all direction until the last five minutes of half-time.
“Second half projections prove Liverpool have solved the problems”
Neil Atkinson for the Anfield Wrap: In the second half in particular, Joe Gomez is wonderful. He sniffs danger, sweeps the defensive line and can find a pass out of tight areas.
It’s been a big week for Gomez. He went from a dropout to a nervous first 90 seconds against Ajax, to end this one as Liverpool’s best player, a player who knows he can’t just beat McBurnie directly, but needs to be more faster and smarter. He has a huge say in the direction of the points.
It was a day for the Liverpool captain to play. We have this man and he is an asset. The change in shape didn’t really work at any point. At 0-1, Andy Robertson gave it away by hitting him inside and motioned for Sadio Mane to do a different run. Liverpool’s best partnership is Mane / Robertson. And even that was not the case.
The second half, Jordan Henderson, made it work for everyone. He was the support of all, constantly available, in constant movement. Her heart was racing. He does brilliantly for the second goal. Just like Sadio Mane, just like Robertson. But Diogo Jota too.
In all the ways that matter, Diogo Jota looks like a Liverpool player. First half, it looks like a spare tire, looks at an excess man everywhere he goes. But second, it is constant and it is dangerous. He is lively. And out of nowhere he is good in the air. It’s a Liverpool side getting better half and half, problem-solving, constant and out of nowhere looking good in the air.
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“Liverpool are showing signs of champions despite a crazy start to the season”
Joe Bernstein in the Mail Sunday: In this mad season, Sheffield United threatened to cause the biggest shock of all when they went past Anfield and could have pulled out.
The fact that they ultimately left empty-handed was nothing to reflect their brave and courageous performance, especially since they haven’t won this season.
But he has said everything about Liverpool’s resilience that after a real scare on Saturday night they remain unbeaten at home in the Premier League for more than three years – a 62-game streak.
Although they started the season indifferently, conceding goals for fun, they are this morning at the top of the standings with their neighbors Everton. That’s why they are champions.
Liverpool survived a great scare and it is worrying that they are so high with many more to come.