Liverpool played out a routine 2-0 win on Saturday afternoon, breezing past Newcastle on Rafa Benitez’s return to Anfield. A first-half goal from Mohamed Salah set the ball rolling before Sadio Mane doubled the score after the interval, rounding off a superb team move. The result sees The Reds move up to 2nd in the league, with Manchester United not in action until Monday night.
Here are the observations from the match.
Salah continues to break records as Liverpool’s run continues
Another game marked by a goal from Mohamed Salah. It’s becoming a bit of a trend, this.
The Egyptian produced goal number 32, combining well with Oxlade-Chamberlain in the middle of the park before coolly slotting the ball through Martin Dubravka’s legs. The assist is more than worthy of a note too, with Ox’s direct run straight at the heart of the defence pulling Newcastle player’s out of position to make room for Mo on the right-hand side of the box. From then on, there would only be one outcome.
Salah’s goal takes him one above Luis Suarez’s best tally for the club, achieved in 2013/14 with 31 goals. Only Rush, Hunt, Fowler and Torres remain above him. It also marked the seventh successive game he’s got himself on the score-sheet – the first man to do so since Daniel Sturridge four years ago.
As the games go by, it’s no wonder Mohamed Salah keeps racking up the plaudits and the awards for what has been a scintillating return to the Premier League. The target now will be beating Harry Kane to the elusive Premier League top goalscorer spot come the end of the season. Based on current form, you’d be unwise to bet against him.
Improving Karius makes another telling contribution
Karius has come under plenty of scrutiny since his move from FC Mainz, largely down to pressure following his arrival as one of the most promising goalkeepers in the Bundesliga. Playing second fiddle to Simon Mignolet for the majority of his Anfield career, the German is now really starting to come into his own, thriving thanks to consistent game time.
Last weekend’s win over West Ham could’ve panned out very differently had he not pulled off a stunning save to tip Marko Arnautovic’s long-range effort onto the crossbar and this week was no different, getting across well to deny a goal-bound shot from Diame just before the break. Had Newcastle scored, the game would’ve taken an alternative pattern in the second-half, allowing the away side to sit back and frustrate Klopp’s side. Yet, Karius’ timely intervention ensured Liverpool recorded another routine win in their bid to finish second in the table.
That’s the second game in a row Karius has been equal to a shot that could’ve altered the outcome of the contest, offering clear evidence of the stark improvement he continues to make in a bid to prove himself as Liverpool’s long-term No.1. Performances such as this certainly won’t do him any harm.
Oxlade-Chamberlain starting to shine under Klopp’s guidance
This was the second game running in which Oxlade-Chamberlain notched an assist for a Mo Salah goal. The former-Arsenal man is now up to double digits for direct goals contribution this season with 6 assists and 4 goals, fitting well into Klopp’s system with his divisive runs from midfield pulling the opposition out of position.
Bear in mind, that's more goal contributions in ten games than he managed in league and Europe in five of his six seasons at Arsenal.
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) March 3, 2018
Klopp’s influence is really starting to show as Chamberlain looks a shadow of his old, Arsenal self. Flowing in confidence and self-belief, seeing him pick up the ball and coast past players at speed is becoming an increasingly regular occurrence. That, and a blossoming partnership with Salah, has seen him become a fan favourite faster than many would’ve anticipated.