Goals from Diogo Jota in the second half – the club’s 10,000th goal in total – and a late Mohamed Salah penalty gave Jurgen Klopp’s men a three-point lead over their stubborn visitors.
With a 2-0 win over Danish champions FC Midtjylland on Tuesday evening in Anfield, Liverpool continued their 100% start to this year’s Champions League.
National media reaction to Liverpool’s 2-0 home win over FC Midtjylland in the Champions League
The 19-year-old defender Rhys Williams, who was on loan to Kidderminster Harriers, a non-league club, last season and made a brief Champions League debut away from home with Ajax just last week, came off the bench to put in a good performance in the Brazilian’s place and provided a ray of hope for the injured Reds.
However, another defensive injury – this time from central defender Fabinho’s replacement – added to concerns over how the Reds will cope with this season’s hectic schedule, with Virgil van Dijk likely to be absent for most of the season and Joel Matip also currently unavailable.
A monotonous test of patience
The national media had a lot to report about the game.
Here is a summary of the reactions…
A first European night without Anfield audience was the monotonous ordeal one might have expected, but there were individual bonuses for the Liverpool manager. Diogo Jota scored the 10,000th goal in Liverpool’s competitive history, Trent Alexander-Arnold provided Jota’s opening shot and Mohamed Salah’s 90th-minute penalty, and young Rhys Williams made his second appearance in the Champions League to replace Fabinho.
Andy Hunter in the Guardian
But the sight of the Brazilian, who took off injured in the first half to accompany not only Van Dijk but also Joël Matip into the treatment room, took some of Klopp’s shine away. His team reacted perfectly to Van Dijk’s injury, but the resources are painfully strained in the back.
A relentless, aggressive start to the guests was another departure from last week’s Champions League opener against Atalanta, when they did not commit a foul in the first 40 minutes and fell back 3-0 at half-time.
There was no doubt about Midtjylland’s motivation to make amends at Anfield. Goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen, who made his first start of the season with the injured Jesper Hansen, only had to collect a routine cross for his team-mates and the bench in the opening minute to shout approval.
Midtjylland had booked three players before the break. The last of them, for Jens-Lys Cajuste’s lunge on Henderson, caused an outburst of anger at Klopp. His patience had already been torn after Fabinho’s departure in the 30th minute due to injury.
The guests continued to rave about Liverpool in the early substitutions, but Klopp’s team began to exploit the threat and energy of the opponent by controlling ball possession at every opportunity and changing the game.
The signing of Jota in the summer, worth at least £45 million, brought some relief to the defeated Liverpool.
David Maddock in the mirror…