Before we start this piece, I’m going to have to tender an apology in advance. If any of the writing is incoherent, blame it on Liverpool Football Club and this priceless ability it has, to ensure that fans are never able to enjoy games in peace.
Well, that was massive! It had to be done somehow, and it was done, as Jurgen Klopp picked up his first win at St. James’ Park in a gripping 3-2 victory for the Reds over Newcastle United. Rafa Benitez’s side had a good ol’ crack at it tonight, and did not allow Liverpool a moment’s peace. In the end, though, Jurgen’s Mentality Monsters found a way. They always have found a way, this season.
Here’s how each player fared:
Alisson Becker – 7/10
There can be no blame attached to him for either of the goals. He was very important after Origi’s goal, though. Newcastle launched balls into the Liverpool box, and Alisson was there, calmly collecting, authoritatively punching. No clean sheet, though.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8/10
Well, Atsu troubled him, but he did hold the fort for the most part. Atsu’s goal even gave him a reprieve. If that ball didn’t end up in the back of the net, it was definitely going to be an early shower for him. Two sensational assists, though, to take his tally for the season to 13.
Dejan Lovren – 4/10
Bad Dejan is horrible to watch. Tonight, Bad Dejan turned up. He was run ragged by Rondon. It was his dodgy back pass that opened up the opportunity for Newcastle’s first goal. It was him being out of position that forced the Newcastle corner for their second goal.
Virgil van Dijk – 7/10
The superb first goal, he barely lost any duel against Rondon and was commanding throughout. Ensured that it was Shaqiri who took the free-kick that resulted in the winning goal.
Andy Robertson – 7/10
Superb again, full of energy. A little unlucky with some of his crosses, which were just inches off intended targets. With Klopp screaming for work-rate and desire midway through the first half, Robertson was the first to step up, as he always does.
Fabinho – 6/10
He wasn’t as calm and authoritative as he generally is. His passing was hurried and at times, shabby. His tackles weren’t exactly being won cleanly. But he got the job done, especially after moving to centre-back for the final few minutes.
Jordan Henderson – 5/10
The first real underwhelming league performance from the skipper in a while. Maybe, it was the result of the exertions in Barcelona, but his energy was down, there was no real verve in his passing, and overall, it was a very flat performance.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6/10
In the first half, his energy and close control were extremely necessary. He was Liverpool’s best midfielder before the break. He got taken off with half an hour to play, as Klopp went for the jugular by bringing Shaqiri on.
Mohamed Salah – 7/10
A constant thorn in Matt Ritchie’s flesh. A sensationally taken goal. An increased lead in the race for the Golden Boot. All, extremely significant, but probably not as significant as the state of his own physical well-being. The Reds need him for the next week.
Sadio Mané – 6/10
Not the greatest performance from Mané, particularly in the second half. When he should have grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, he just went AWOL, a little. Should’ve put the Reds 3-1 up, when faced one-on-one with Dubravka in the first half.
Daniel Sturridge – 5/10
Some sensational passes as he came deep to orchestrate play. But, in between that, there were periods of his lack of work-rate coming to the fore. Klopp was thoroughly annoyed.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 7/10
Well, another big moment from Liverpool’s no.23! Van Dijk implored him to take the free-kick, and he slotted it straight on to Origi’s head. Perfection.
Divock Origi – 10/10
So what if some (most) of his play in the game bordered on the mindless? Why would anyone associated with this club care? The big Belgian just got the Reds another priceless win, with another priceless late goal. Not quite Jordan Pickford-small-arms-drama though.
James Milner – N/A
Clattered into black and white shirts a few times in injury time.