Newcastle 0-0 Liverpool: Player ratings as missed chances cost Reds

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Liverpool’s title success was built on ‘finding a way to win’, but their title defence has been hamstrung by their repeated failure to do so.

It wasn’t a vintage performance but it should have been enough to take the three points. The Reds have been left two reflect on the two glorious opportunities they squandered.

Here is how they rated.

Alisson Becker – 7/10

No qualms about the ‘keeper’s performance whatsoever. Distributed the ball tidily and sprung into action to push Ciaran Clark’s header to safety 10 minutes from time.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7/10

Significantly closer to his best than he was against West Brom. Scuffed a shot at the end of a move which featured a pass of the season contender. Very nearly teed-up Mane with a low ball across the face, and Wijnaldum should have done better after collecting a fizzed, incisive pass on the edge of the area.

One or two wayward set-pieces.

Nathaniel Phillips – 6/10

Wilson left him behind early on to fashion a chance from a tight angle, and he looked as if he might pull the striker down for a penalty before mercifully backing out. Other than that, he was reasonably solid, though he didn’t look particularly comfortable in possession.

Booked for a tactical foul on Almiron.

Fabinho – 7/10

Another to be booked after taking one for the team, Fabinho’s biggest contribution was the block he produced to close down Wilson’s early opening. He continues to impress at centre-half.

Andrew Robertson – 6/10

Looked a little frustrated in the closing stages. Not quite as potent as usual in the final third. A heavy touch let him down when he surged into the penalty area.

When his delivery was on point, Firmino couldn’t apply the finishing touch.

Jordan Henderson – 7/10

Superbly picked out Salah to create what was the best chance of the first chance. His passes were generally precise rather than merely hopeful this time.

James Milner – 8/10

I thought Milner played very well in the 70 minutes before he was substituted. The booking following a late challenge on Joelinton probably made it an easier decision to withdraw him.

He was excellent at breaking up play and moved the ball well.

Curtis Jones – 6/10

At times, it has felt like games are revolving around him. This one passed him by. Substituted on 68′.

Mohamed Salah – 4/10

I don’t think Salah could have done much more with the first opportunity. Darlow narrowed the angle expertly and made a top-drawer save.

There was no excuse for the second miss, though. Salah has won Liverpool countless games but he is a big part of the reason they left St James’ with only one point. He had the time to pick his spot, but he sidefooted it a good yard or so wide. Really poor miss. A night to forget.

Roberto Firmino – 5/10

Mixed. But a five rather than a six because of the glaring miss after Darlow misjudged a corner.

On the other hand, his driving run and pass for the aforementioned Salah chance was top-class. It commanded a finish.

In the dying stages, Darlow pulled off a huge low stop from his header.

Sadio Mane – 6/10

Mane’s best moments in this game were creative. First, he floated a ball in-behind to Firmino, and Robertson fumbled the cut-back. Then the Brazilian should have buried his pinpoint cross from the left on the stroke of half-time.

He was fractions away from ending up on the scoresheet, glancing a header into the side-netting from Alexander-Arnold’s corner before Fabian Schar’s heroics denied him a tap-in.


Georginio Wijnaldum – 6/10

Some encouraging forward running, but nothing came of it.

Thiago – 8/10

This cameo threatened to get out of hand. It was silly. The vision, the pass selection, the inviting execution – this is why we have missed watching him so very much.

You could easily put together a highlight reel from those 20 minutes alone. We may not be able to bask in his return, but if Thiago is in from the off, Liverpool will surely create more than enough opportunities to put the opposition to bed.

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