Well, that was an interesting week for Liverpool!
Jurgen Klopp and the lads had the Super League dumped on them. And they in turn dumped the Super League (along with the other Big 6 from England).
The Reds welcome Newcastle to Anfield today.
Without the inconvenience of European football to bother them any more, Klopp is free to shake things up. He goes with a 4-2-3-1 with Salah, Firmino, Mane and Jota all starting.
It immediately pay dividends as a Salah wonder strike give the Reds an early 1-0 lead.
Despite 71% possession, total domination, and 11 shots (4 on target) to Newcastle’s 1/1…Liverpool just lead 1-0 at half. Sound familiar? Jota and Mane are wasting chance after chance. Come on, Reds. Put this away in the second half.
If you’re a Liverpool supporter, you could just feel the equalizer coming all second half. The Reds were wasteful. They were giving up big opportunities.
That equalizer came in stoppage. However, a lame handball VAR ruling cancels out Callum Wilson’s equalizer, giving Liverpool a 1-0 win. ORRRRR NOPE. Willock finds the equalizer one minute past stoppage.
Liverpool blow it. 1-1. Don’t deserve the top 4. Ffs. This is on Klopp today. Thiago should not have come out. And Klopp should’ve made another sub and provided more defensive cover.
Liverpool Player Ratings vs Newcastle
Jurgen Klopp (4) –
It’s been a week for Klopp.
He seems rejuvenated now though. His handling of the Super League drama received applauds all around. With the focus of knowing it’s top 4 or bust, Klopp starts all four of his goal scorers today.
Smart sub with about 30 minutes left, taking Jota out for Milner and going back to a 4-3-3 (although should’ve subbed Mane off instead).
But I’ve gotta ding Klopp here. Liverpool looked worse without Thiago. The Jones sub made no sense. He left a sub on the bench instead of bringing in defensive cover. This was poor game management. He cost Liverpool the top 4 today.
Alisson (8) –
Huge save on Longstaff in the 20th keeps Liverpool level. Another massive save on Joelinton in the 55th. Nothing he could do about the goal, it came off of Fab’s deflection.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (7) –
Wonderful cross in by TAA before the first half ends that Mane can’t put in the back of the net. Dealing with Saint-Maximin all day, who is giving an Adama Traore “hey look at me Jurgen! Buy me!” performance. JUST misses a well struck volley in the 76th. But in general looked way better going forward than defensively.
Ozan Kabak (7.5) –
Some good and heady defending early, including getting booked to stifle a counter. Comically manhandles Almiron on a driving attack. Outshined Fabinho today.
Fabinho (6) –
Steady and heady. Though being out-shined by Kabak.
Gives a bruising tactical foul towards the end of regulation and gets booked. But wasn’t good enough at the end by twice letting Newcastle get past him.
Andy Robertson (7.5) –
Involved and attacking. Playing so far up he’s like a fifth forward. Delivering ball in after ball in that aren’t being converted. Great strike in the second half goes just wide.
Gini Wijnaldum (6) –
Seeing more of the ball early, which I always consider a good thing for Gini. Keeps him more engaged. Though disappears as the game drifts towards regulation. Should’ve been subbed off instead of Thiago.
Thiago (7.5) –
Essentially doing a dual #6 today with Gini. Really dictating terms of the match today. Like seeing this. Feels natural in this set-up.
Gorgeous volley set up to TAA in the 76th almost leads to goal. Subbed off for Jones in the 76th, would’ve liked for him to have seen the game out today.
Sadio Mane (4) –
He’s…just…not…in…form. Something is off with Mane. Lack of confidence? Just not there. So sloppy. Needs to come out at half. Slight uptick in the second half but still not great. Should’ve been yanked instead of Jota.
Roberto Firmino (7) –
Functioning as a #10 out the gate. Some clever and curvy runs. Solidly struck attempt in the 57th is well-saved. Overall, very strong. Three shots and completed dribble. Wins some tackles. Can’t be moved off ball.
Mo Salah (8) –
What. A. Strike!
Salah’s timing on his strike is early and perfect, giving Liverpool a 1-0 lead in the 4th.
Best defender today too early, keeping Saint-Maximin in check. Sets up Jota wonderfully in the 22nd. Salah’s touch is on today.
Misses a brace wide in the 74th. It’s like Mane and Jota’s finishing has now rubbed off on him by osmosis.
Diogo Jota (5) –
Essentially top of the spear to start. Taking shots but not timing them well. If Jota had his finishing shoes on today, he’d have a hat-trick in the first 30 minutes. Poor finishing. Utterly wasteful.
Some careless passing in the second. Just too pedestrian. It’s like Jota and Mane conspired today, “Hey, let’s be as casual and unclinical as possible to drive everyone nuts!”
Subbed off with about 30 minutes remaining for Milner. Jota will be disappointed with his display today.
James Milner (7) –
On for Jota to help see the game out and provide defensive cover. Although playing more advanced. Really great cut and cross in the box to Mane in the 78th. That’s some Bobby-esque movement. Blasts another in the 81st that Dubravka stops.
Curtis Jones (NR) –
On for Thiago. Not sure why. Not necessarily because of anything he did, but this sub might’ve cost us 3 points.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Yet again, the opposing keeper should get it, as Dubravka was a man among boys. But giving it to Salah. He scored and worked tirelessly all match.