Liverpool 4 – 2 Newcastle – The Postmortem 

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Liverpool’s New Year Triumph Over Newcastle

This was an opportunity for the Reds to increase their lead at the top of the Premier League table, as Arsenal dropped from away title favourites and back into their preordained lane. Aston Villa will continue to impress and overachieve (until they do not), with Manchester City inevitably emerging as the team to beat within the 2023/24 Premier League. With major sanctions set to befall the self-proclaimed innocent parties at the Etihad, this may legitimately be the last time that Pep Guardiola’s controversy-ridden club compete for major honours. To beat the 115-charge champions one more time would be a marvellous send-off for the sports washing entity, with this New Years Day beat down perhaps acting as a sign for what is to come.

Below is how the team lined up, with match details following.

The Starting Eleven:

  • Alisson Becker
  • Trent Alexander-Arnold
  • Virgil van Dijk (c)
  • Ibrahima Konaté
  • Joe Gomez
  • Curtis Jones
  • Dominik Szoboszlai
  • Wataru Endō
  • Mohamed Salah
  • Luis Díaz
  • Darwin Núñez

Substitutes:

  • Diogo Jota – Darwin Núñez (64 minutes)
  • Cody Gakpo – Luis Díaz (64 minutes)
  • Ryan Gravenberch – Dominik Szoboszlai (64 minutes)
  • Alexis Mac Allister – Wataru Endō (75 minutes)

Goals:

  • Liverpool 1 – 0 Newcastle (Mohamed Salah, 49 minutes)
  • Liverpool 1 – 1 Newcastle (Alexander Isak, 54 minutes)
  • Liverpool 2 – 1 Newcastle (Curtis Jones, 74 minutes)
  • Liverpool 3 – 1 Newcastle (Cody Gakpo, 78 minutes)
  • Liverpool 3 – 2 Newcastle (Sven Botman, 81 minutes)
  • Liverpool 4 – 2 Newcastle (Mohamed Salah, 86 minutes, Penalty)

Important Match Stats:

  • Possession: Liverpool 63% – 37% Newcastle
  • Total Shots: Liverpool 38 – 5 Newcastle
  • Total Crosses: Liverpool 37 – 5 Newcastle
  • Counter Attacks: Liverpool 4 – 1 Newcastle
  • Corner Kicks: Liverpool 7 – 3 Newcastle

The First Half:

The opening period of this game was 100-mile-an-hour football as the Reds looked to swarm and get that all-important first goal. Trent Alexander-Arnold had an early shot deflected wide, Darwin had a close-range effort smothered, before Luis Díaz had a goal chalked off for an offside in the build-up. Moments later, a penetrating burst by the Colombian flyer created a foul and subsequent penalty award for his side. Unfortunately, Mohamed Salah had his blasted shot saved before Trent blazed over the bar from the angle. The Reds were knocking on the door, yet somehow the scores remained 0-0.

Luis Díaz was truly electric through the first half, yet Newcastle was still able to break on the odd occasion. Eventually, the visitors scored with a close-range header from Dan Burn, before the raised flag was confirmed as correct by VAR. Despite 18 chances on goal falling to the Red men (in that first half), the rain-soaked players departed the field with the score goalless. Within that half, Darwin had a one-on-one opportunity that was well saved as his inconsistency in front of goal continued.

The Second Half:

On the resumption of the second half, the routine of Liverpool overpowering their guests ramped up even more so. Inevitably, the dazzling display of the Reds’ Colombian flyer created the opening, as a supreme link-up between he, Mohamed Salah, and the Uruguayan chaos, Darwin Núñez, finally told. A rampaging run from wide (by Luis) erupted after a beautifully deft touch from his central striker, which allowed the space to deliver a perfect pass back to his number 9, who squared to an eager number 11 in the middle of the box. The goal had finally arrived; however, the lead did not last for long.

The high defensive line and desire to cut the pitch in half will always see opportunities arise for fleet-footed attackers, especially those with an elite skillset, such as Alexander Isak. In the blink of an eye, a well-crafted through ball released the giant striker in behind Virgil, who was inches behind the defensive line. Though the Reds’ skipper was almost able to get across the advancing Swede, a precise finish beyond Alisson Becker brought the scores back level. Shortly thereafter, Jürgen Klopp rang the changes and the alterations delivered the new energy that was needed. Darwin left the field after a flurry of saved chances, Dominik departed with a suspected hamstring injury, whereas the unplayable Luis Díaz was replaced to maintain his slow build back to top form.

A twenty-minute spell of constant pressure followed that unexpected equaliser before a wonderful combination between Salah and Diogo Jota ended in a simple goal for the immensely impressive Curtis Jones. Cody Gakpo took the scores to 3-1 just minutes later, as a sublime pass from Salah found him unable to miss from close range. With this score seemingly taking all fight from the Toon army, another away goal emerged from a well-taken corner, which Sven Botman met with power and intent. Luckily for the slightly panicked Kop, Alexis Mac Allister was on the field to supply a superb long pass to the scampering Jota, who after some deliberation, was adjudged to have been brought down in the box. Mohamed Salah once more stepped up and this time found the corner with confidence.

The scores remained as this, with a 4-2 defeat flattering Newcastle United.

Final Thoughts:

This was a marvellous result, especially given the horrendous weather conditions on Merseyside. The only concern is the number of chances being given up by the Liverpool attack, however, not all opposing keepers will be as inspired as Martin Dúbravka, who was brilliant for his travelling team tonight.

Something is very much building here, which could lead to more unbelievable success.

Pre-game prediction: Liverpool 4 – 3 Newcastle

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