Five things we learned from Newcastle 1-2 Liverpool

It was an extraordinary occasion at St. James’ Park as Liverpool clinched a dramatic 2-1 win in a pulsating game, with Liverpool down to ten men due to a Virgil Van Dijk red card. Here are five things we learned from the game.

Nunez’s clinical brace wins it!

This game could have easily got away from Jurgen Klopp’s men but a one goal lead is a slender lead. With the quality Liverpool posses up front, the game was never safe for the home side. That proved to be the case, as substitute Diogo Jota slid in Darwin Nunez who finished brilliantly to level the game with ten minutes to go. In the 93rd minute, it was a carbon copy for the winning goal. This time Mo Salah slipped the ball through to the Uruguayan, who finished in a similar emphatic way to shock Newcastle and St. James’ Park. An outcome that didn’t seem possible after a shaky first half from Liverpool, but Darwin Nunez ripped up the script and grabbed the points from off the bench! Two devastating finishes, and high drama again in the Premier League.

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Huge refereeing decisions cause controversy

Within the first five minutes, John Brooks had a big decision to make after Trent Alexander-Arnold picked up an early yellow card for throwing the ball away. Moments later, Alexander-Arnold stopped a counter attack for Newcastle by fouling Anthony Gordon and did not receive a second booking despite vocal claims. The referee made the decision to not show a second yellow card. From minute one, the game had a frantic tempo with an electric atmosphere. With it portrayed as such a huge fixture, all eyes were on the referee throughout the afternoon. After no red was shown for Alexander-Arnold, the red card was brandished just before the half-hour mark.

Virgil Van Dijk was shown a straight red for a foul on Alexander Isak. A decision that was hotly appealed by the Dutch centre-back. The denial of a goalscoring situation was what Van Dijk was punished for, his first red card for Liverpool.

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Alisson’s heroics and Almiron close to the spectacular

Miguel Almiron was denied by the woodwork twice during the game, in what would have been two wonder-goals. Liverpool may feel lucky they only conceded the one goal, thanks to their Brazilian keeper. Almiron struck a stunning volley which was remarkably saved by Alisson onto the crossbar. That save would prove to be precious! In the second half the Paraguayan went on a mazy solo run, cut inside and curled a shot onto the post. He was incredibly unlucky not to double Newcastle’s lead. In retrospect Liverpool will have their goalkeeper to thank, and the woodwork. It was the most saves ever made by Alisson in a Premier League match, and it proved to be vital!

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Liverpool defensive woes

Three points were secured, but Alexander-Arnold was yet again in the spotlight as he let the ball run across his body which gifted an opportunity for Gordon, and clean through he slotted past Alisson. A worrying trend after the error made at Anfield against Bournemouth last week. Liverpool’s defensive fragilities were being exposed with Newcastle’s aggressive press. This wasn’t made any easier by Van Dijk’s red card which triggered the introduction of Joe Gomez, to add the balance back into Liverpool’s defence. It was clear to see from the start, Liverpool were feeling the pressure. Newcastle were still finding space, but couldn’t take their chances to add to their lead, and were ultimately punished. Alexander-Arnold had the last laugh as Liverpool leave with all the points.

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Gordon is on fire

On Newcastle’s left hand side was Anthony Gordon and an early tussle with Alexander-Arnold set the tone. It seemed clear Gordon’s job was to unsettle the England right-back, and thus proved to be an avenue to exploit. Not only did he score, but he played a superb through ball to Isak which led to Van Dijk’s sending off. Gordon impressed with his crossing too, and again caused Alexander-Arnold issues with his 1v1 running. He was relentless all game, and is justifying his high price-tag after his move from Everton in January. He would have enjoyed his goal against Liverpool too. A shining star for Eddie Howe’s team.

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