Ruthless Klopp ditches Karius as Liverpool burn off Boro
Decision to drop keeper overshadowed by return of attacking form as Reds leapfrog Arsenal to go second in the League
Middlesbrough 0 Liverpool 3
Liverpool reclaimed second spot in the Premier League last night, with Jurgen Klopp's side producing a performance that ensured his decision to bench goalkeeper Loris Karius did not dominate the headlines.
The Reds travelled to Middlesbrough in the wake of the manager's spat with pundit Gary Neville over the keeper. However, it was no surprise to see Karius on the bench after several high-profile gaffes.
Nevertheless, Klopp's side made sure the focus remained on the pitch as they swept Boro aside 3-0.
"The cameras attempted to pan towards Liverpool's dropped goalkeeper on more than one occasion here but no one was really noticing," says James Riach of The Guardian. Instead, it was Adam Lallana who grabbed the limelight as Liverpool produced "the kind of scintillating football that has become their trademark this season".
The midfielder scored twice as the Reds turned on the style in the second half, flanking the goal of Divock Origi, who has netted in five consecutive matches.
"Klopp showed there is a ruthless streak behind his toothy smile and his Liverpool side displayed their class in a crushing away win that re-established their title credentials", says Luke Edwards of the Daily Telegraph.
It was a "powerful return to form" for the Reds, he adds: "The way they moved through the gears in the second half was like a sports car pulling away from a family saloon."
It was "just what the doctor ordered", says James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo. "All the negativity of recent weeks was banished as Liverpool rediscovered their mojo on Teesside.
"The Riverside Stadium has been a graveyard for the Reds' title challenges over the years. But this time it was the setting for Liverpool to breathe new life into their latest pursuit of the Holy Grail."
The passing was crisp and the movement spellbinding - the only person who didn't appear to be enjoying it was Karius, who Klopp admitted wasn't happy to be dropped, says Dominic King of the Daily Mail.
"For all the hullabaloo around him, with critics having their view, it has been easy to lose sight of one thing: Karius came under fire because his performances were not of the required standard and he had cost a team with ambitions joining the title race priceless points," says King. "Given that Chelsea are setting a relentless pace and showing no signs of stopping, Klopp had to act."