Ten-man Liverpool produced a turnaround for the ages to beat Newcastle United 2-1 at St. James’ Park on Sunday. The Magpies seemed to have the game well and truly in the bag at half-time, but an inspired substitution from Jurgen Klopp saw Darwin Nunez score twice in the last 10 minutes to secure an unlikely three points.
Eddie Howe named an unchanged squad to the one that lost 1-0 against Manchester City last weekend. For Liverpool, Joel Matip came into the defence to partner Virgin Van Dijk, with Ibrahima Konate ruled out with an injury. Wataru Endo made his first start in the defensive midfield role, with Diogo Jota making way. Alexis Mac Allister, who was sent off against Bournemouth last Saturday, had his red card rescinded during the week and started this one.
Anthony Gordon looked lively for The Magpies right from the off, and Trent Alexander-Arnold looked set for a tough day at the office. The full-back was lucky to escape a red card as early as the sixth minute for a tackle on Gordon, having already picked up a booking for dissent two minutes earlier.
The breakthrough came for Newcastle on 25 minutes, and it was in bizarre fashion. Mohamed Salah played a back pass to Alexander-Arnold, who completely missed the ball, allowing Gordon to run through. The former Everton winger only had one goal on Tyneside before today, but he kept his composure to finish past Alisson.
Three minutes later, the away side were dealt another hammer blow. Van Dijk stepped across to cover a run by Alexander Isak, but instead ended up swiping away at the striker’s feet. He was adjudged to have been the last man between Isak and the goal, and was given a straight red card. It was definitely contentious, but the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) didn’t see enough to overturn the decision.
It seemed like just a matter of time before Newcastle scored their second. With spaces opening up on their right, Kieran Trippier and Miguel Almiron were seeing a lot of the ball, and it needed an incredible save by Allison to keep out a shot from the latter.
Liverpool were keeping their shape, but Klopp needed to do something different to get anything out of the game. On the hour mark came Diogo Jota for Cody Gakpo, and the Portuguese had some encouraging inter-play with Salah. At the other end, Newcastle hit the post through Almiron but weren’t able to put the game to end.
With 13 minutes to go, Klopp made the change that made all the difference. On came Darwin Nunez, and it took him just four minutes to make an impact. Sven Botman failed to deal with a ball played up front, and Nunez was on the rebound in a flash, before smashing in a low shot past Nick Pope into the bottom corner.
Newcastle were rocked, with all the momentum they had built-up being sucked out. Just when they thought it couldn’t get any worse, in the third minute of stoppage time, Salah played Nunez through once again. The Uruguayan had the Midas touch on the day, and his finish was assured and calm yet again. The away end with into delirium, and the home fans were dumbfounded.
This isn’t the first time that Liverpool have beaten Newcastle with a last-minute goal in the Premier League era, but the circumstances surrounding this game will make the victory feel very, very sweet for The Reds.
Nick Pope – 6
Kieran Trippier – 7
Fabian Schar – 6
Sven Botman – 5
Dan Burn – 6
Joelinton – 6
Bruno Guimaraes – 7
Sandro Tonali – 6
Anthony Gordon – 8
Alexander Isak – 6
Miguel Almiron – 7
Sean Longstaff – 6
Callum Wilson – 6
Harvey Barnes – 5
Alisson Becker – 7
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4
Joel Matip – 6
Virgil Van Dijk – 4
Andrew Roberston – 6
Wataru Endo – 6
Alexis Mac Allister – 6
Dominik Szoboszlai – 6
Luis Diaz – 5
Cody Gakpo – 6
Mohamed Salah – 7
Joe Gomez – 7
Harvey Elliott – 6
Diogo Jota – 7
Darwin Nunez – 9*
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