‘Ruthless Reds’ - English and Spanish media react to Liverpool’s dramatic Champions League final qualification
The national media lauded game-changer Luis Diaz in the Reds comeback 3-2 win at Villarreal.
Was it ever really in any doubt? well, maybe for a bit.
But they did it the hard way, falling to a first-half 2-0 deficit which cancelled out their first-leg lead and flipping the momentum on its head.
The Reds came flying out in the second-half, however, with substitute Luis Diaz changing the game entirely. Three goals on 12 second-half minutes settled Klopp’s men and gave them a three-goal aggregate lead in what looked, in the end, like a comfortable win.
The victory keeps Liverpool on track for an unprecedented quadruple, and their qualification for the showpiece event in Paris caught the attention of both English and Spanish media.
The Guardian’s David Hynter said of Luis Dias: The January signing was virtually unplayable, tormenting anybody in his vicinity with his speed, balance and directness.
The Mirror’s David Maddock also hailed Diaz, writing: Liverpool produced a show of pure defiance, spirit and character to reach their third Champions League final in five years - thanks to a Luis Diaz masterclass.
While The Mail labelled it ‘the great escape’, with writer Dominic King adding: But then came the plea for calm and the introduction of Luis Diaz. Will this go down in folklore as David Fairclough’s introduction against St Etienne in 1977 did? Possibly. Historians will know that all seemed lost in that clash against the French champions, as Liverpool were pursuing the Treble.
The i’s Daniel Storey hailed Diaz as a ‘game-changer’, adding: For all the fine work Diogo Jota has collated since his move from Wolves, it would be a shock – and surely a mistake – if Diaz didn’t start the final in Paris. How is it that the newest member of Liverpool’s squad already seems to personify his manager more than most others?
Spanish outlet Marca hailed Villarreal as heroic in their efforts, before luading Diaz once more: The Colombian arrived at Liverpool a few months ago for around 50 million euros. And he is already looking cheap.
His entrance onto the stage was definitive. He put fear into the hosts and scored one of those goals that takes you straight to Paris. He is tremendous and should be applauded.
Whie Mundo Deportivo said: Liverpool is not the most gigantic city in England either, but over the years it has earned one of the most extraordinary and charismatic teams that any population can dream of.
The ‘Reds’ came back and now they are preparing to live their tenth final of the highest European competition, something that only a privileged few can boast of.