Liverpool maintained their 100% start to this season's Champions League with a 2-0 win over Danish champions FC Midtjylland at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Second half goals from Diogo Jota - the club's 10,000th in total - and a late Mohamed Salah penalty gave Jurgen Klopp's men three points over their obdurate visitors.
But another defensive injury - this time to stand-in centre-half Fabinho - increased concerns over how the Reds will cope with this season's hectic schedule of matches with Virgil van Dijk already likely to be out for much of the season and Joel Matip also currently unavailable.
19-year-old defender Rhys Williams, who was on loan at non-league Kidderminster Harriers last season and only made a brief Champions League debut away at Ajax last week, came off the bench to perform well in the Brazilian's stead and provided a ray of light for the injury-hit Reds.
The national media and other publications had plenty to say about the match.
Here is a round-up of reaction...
'A drab test of patience'
Andy Hunter in the Guardian
A first European night without an Anfield crowd was the drab test of patience that may have been 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 created Jota’s opener and Mohamed Salah’s 90th-minute penalty in an imperious display and young Rhys Williams made his second Champions League appearance as Fabinho’s replacement.
But the sight of the Brazilian hobbling off injured in the first half, to join not only Van Dijk but Joël Matip in the treatment room, removed some of the gloss from Klopp’s perspective. His team have responded faultlessly to Van Dijk’s injury in terms of results but resources are being stretched painfully thin at the back.
A relentless, aggressive start from the visitors was another departure from their Champions League opener against Atalanta last week, when they did not commit a foul inside the first 40 minutes and found themselves 3-0 down at half-time.
There was no doubting Midtjylland’s motivation to make amends at Anfield. Goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen, making his first start of the season with Jesper Hansen injured, had only to collect a routine cross in the opening minute for his teammates and bench to roar their approval.
The visitors continued to swarm over Liverpool in the early exchanges but Klopp’s side began to exhaust the threat and their opponents’ energy by controlling possession and switching play at every opportunity.
Midtjylland had three players booked before the interval. The last of them, for Jens-Lys Cajuste’s lunge on Henderson, sparked a furious outburst from Klopp. His patience had already snapped after seeing Fabinho depart injured the 30th minute.
'At least £45m summer signing Jota provided some relief for underwhelming Liverpool'
David Maddock in the Mirror
If history was made at Anfield on Tuesday, then it hardly seemed fitting in a contest that, if it’s remembered at all, will be for the wrong reasons.
Diogo Jota was the player to write his name in the record books, with the landmark 10,00th goal in Liverpool’s history, as they secured an almost embarrassed Champions League victory over Midtjylland to take control of their group.
Yet that was virtually the only highlight of an evening of more misery for boss Jurgen Klopp, who endured yet more defensive woes, after a worryingly under-par, lethargic display from his team.
This time it was Fabinho who limped out of the fray on the half hour, with what appeared another serious injury, a hamstring problem that could sideline him for several weeks.
It is a nightmare for the Reds manager, who now has just one fit senior centre half at the club…and even lost potential stand-in Jordan Henderson at half time, after he took a whack on his ankle in a physical confrontation with Midtjylland.
At least £45m summer signing Jota provided some relief for underwhelming Liverpool, after an anaemic display as they singularly struggled to impose themselves on their Danish opponents.
'European nights under the lights have a way of highlighting just how empty, sterile and stale football is in its Covid-affected state'
Melissa Reddy in the Independent
FC Midtjylland were at Anfield, contesting a Champions League game in the realisation of what chairman Rasmus Ankersen simply called “a dream.”
But this wasn’t one of those famous continental nights here where emotion takes control, anything seems possible and you are left in awe. A dire affair was decorated by a Diogo Jota winner on 55 minutes, with Mohamed Salah adding a penalty at the death in a match the Danish champions may hold dear but no-one else will care to remember.
Too much football in a short space of time, overloading players and with no backdrop or soundtrack of supporters was always going to lead to encounters like this. By the half-hour mark, there had just been two shots in total in the game.
The biggest – and only – talking point was Fabinho pulling up with what looked like a hamstring issue, leaving the English champions with Joe Gomez as their sole senior centre-back.
With no Virgil van Dijk and no Joel Matip, 19-year-old Rhys Williams was introduced to the rearguard. His only other experience of Champions League football was coming on to replace James Milner on 90 minutes in the 1-0 victory over Ajax last week. In truth, this was no massive occasion for a teenager to manoeuvre under a mountain of pressure.
These European nights under the lights have a way of highlighting just how empty, sterile and stale football is in its Covid-affected state, without fans or magic or the feeling that something special is taking place. There wasn’t much for Williams to do for the rest of the first half, with Midtjylland managing more yellow cards than they did shots of any kind.
'When was the last time that happened?'
Ian Ladyman for the Daily Mail
Liverpool were admittedly under strength and under par. With their usual front three starting the night on the bench, this was an evening for other attacking players to impress but it didn't really work out that way.
It was astonishing to realise that their goal 10 minutes into the second half was their first shot on target of the whole night. When was the last time that happened?
Indeed, until Salah's injury time penalty, that was how it stayed. One shot on target and one goal.
It was, however, a lovely one, quite out of keeping with the mediocrity of what preceded and followed it. Liverpool moved the ball left to right across the field and when Gini Wijnaldum — on at half-time for Jordan Henderson — fed Trent Alexander-Arnold, an exchange of passes with the hitherto anonymous Xherdan Shaqiri enabled the full back to square the ball to Jota who scored from six yards at the Kop end.
Jota has settled well at Anfield since his summer move from Wolves and this was his second big goal in three days after his winner against Sheffield United in the Premier League.
That's a bonus for Jurgen Klopp but a worry was the injury to Brazilian Fabinho in the first half. Already missing defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip, Fabinho has been filling in alongside Gomez but now he is injured too. With a game against Manchester City on the horizon, Klopp is running out of options.