Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle: player ratings, heroes, villains and man of match as Reds record EIGHTH straight win
Diogo Jota, Mo Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold were all on target at Anfield.
The Reds moved back within a point of leaders Manchester City, although upcoming fixtures are in doubt given the number of COVID-19 cases in the Premier League rising.
The home side were left shell shocked when Newcastle opened the scoring within seven minutes. A poor clearance was picked up by Jonjo Shelvey, who fired home from outside the box.
However, Liverpool were back level in the 21st minute. Sadio Mane floated in a cross and Diogo Jota stabbed home at the second bite of the cherry.
The Reds then got on the front foot and were ahead just four minutes later. Mane was again at the heart of things and he appeared to be tripped by Fabian Schar when he got a shot away but Mo Salah was there to follow up into an empty net for his 22nd goal of the season.
Jurgen Klopp’s men had to wait until the 87th minute to add to their tally when Trent Alexander-Arnold unleashed an unstoppable strike from 25 yards.
- Trent Alexander-Arnold: what a strike from the Liverpool right-back to put the gloss on the victory. As soon as it left his boot, the ball was heading for the top corner. An unstoppable hit. And what about his challenge he made when the game was still in the balance. When Ryan Fraser was picked out in all sorts of space with just Alisson Becker to beat, he looked a certainty to score. However, Alexander-Arnold got back to make a perfectly timed sliding tackle. Who was it who said he can’t defend? Man of the match.
- Jordan Henderson: the Sunderland-born midfielder completely ran the show against the team that were once his fierce rivals. Not only did he keep Liverpool ticking but there were several raking passes that started swift attacks - including one that Salah should have been better with. The boos from the away end soon eased towards Henderson as they were futile.
- Ibrahima Konate: what a player the summer signing is growing into. The biggest compliment that can be given to Konate is that Liverpool barely missed van Dijk, who was absent after contracting Covid. Everything Konate did was with confidence and competence.
- Allan Saint-Maximin: the Newcastle forward missed a huge chance to put his side back ahead after Jota had equalised. After reading Thiago’s poor pass, Saint-Maximin raced towards goal and had just Alisson to beat. However, he failed to find the corner with Alisson saving.
- Thiago Alcantara: the Liverpool midfielder was culpable for the Magpies’ opener. His casual and lazy clearance gifted the ball to Shelvey, who needed no invitation to shoot and finished with aplomb. Then another sloppy pass after the Reds had equalised allowed Saint-Maximin in. Luckily Alisson spared Thiago’s blushes.
- Mike Dean: Newcastle boss Eddie Howe was incensed play was allowed to continue for Liverpool’s equaliser. That‘s because Isaac Hayden was down with what appeared to be a head injury - which should have been an immediate stoppage.
Liverpool: Alisson 7, Alexander-Arnold 8, Konate 8, Matip 7, Robertson 7, Henderson 8, Thiago 6 (Milner 89), Oxlade-Chamberlain 6 (Keita 74 6), Salah 8 (Firmino 74; 6), Jota 7, Mane 7.
Newcastle: Dubravka 5, Manquillo 5, Schar 5, Lascelles 5, Lewis 7 (Richie 15; 6), Shelvey 6, Hayden 6, Murphy 5, Joelinton 6, Fraser 5, Saint-Maximin 6 (Wilson 79)
What’s Liverpool’s next fixture?
The Reds make the trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday (16.30).
That’s if the game goes ahead, however, given the rising Covid cases and Premier League fixtures being cancelled in recent days.