Liverpool signed off the season in style and finished on 99 points after a 3-1 win against Newcastle at St. James’ Park. Dwight Gayle opened the scoring in the 26th second after the back four were caught napping at a free kick. Fortunately, though, the Reds dug in once again and pulled a victory out of the hat.
In goal, Alisson started as expected but had virtually nothing to do – I feel like I’ve said that rather a lot this season. He could do very little about the goal but almost got enough on it to turn it around the post.
In defence, Neco Williams came in for Trent Alexander-Arnold and lined up alongside Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson. The Gayle goal came about from a combination of Gomez’s lack of awareness and Williams being too deep compared to the rest of the back four. Van Dijk levelled the scoring on 38 mins with a brilliant looping header after some excellent work on the right wing from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
In midfield, James Milner, Naby Keita and Georginio Wijnaldum were named in the starting eleven. All three had solid games with Naby Keita the standout once again. He always looked the most likely to make anything happen and was so classy in possession, while excellent out of it, too.
Up front, an unexpected trio of Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started the match. Oxlade-Chamberlain had a huge hand in our equaliser when he received the ball on the right on the spin, drove past one Newcastle man with power and clipped a delightful ball into the box for Virgil to nod home. While Divock Origi had a pretty poor game overall, he was the man to put us in front with a beautifully struck curling effort into the bottom right-hand corner from the edge of the box. All three of the attackers who started were eventually replaced in one fell swoop on the 64th minute, with Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino coming on. It was just enough time for our Senegalese stallion to wrap up the three points in the 89th minute with a strike not too dissimilar to Origi’s 30-minutes prior.
As for Man of the Match, I’m going to give it to Virgil van Dijk. Got himself on the scoresheet and had a solid game defensively.