Looking to clinch their second Premier League victory on the trot, Liverpool hosted Newcastle United at Anfield for their Matchday 5 clash on Wednesday night (August 31). The Reds, who picked up a huge 9-0 win over Bournemouth in their last outing, were thoroughly tested by the Magpies. In the end, their side’s depth came to the rescue, with substitute Fabio Carvalho scoring a last-minute winner to seal a hard-fought 2-1 win for the hosts. Roberto Firmino scored the Reds’ other goal while Alexander Isak found the back of the net for Newcastle.
Liverpool pulled off their first real opener in the 34th minute, with Firmino playing against Luis Diaz. The Colombian deftly took the ball around the keeper but lost his balance before he could shoot which resulted in a wayward effort. Four minutes later, Newcastle’s record signing Isak announced himself in the Premier League, converting coolly from Sean Longstaff’s through ball.
Ten minutes into the second half, Isak raced into the Reds box, beat a few defenders and found the back of the net past Alisson. Unfortunately for the Swede, the flag was raised for offside. In the 60th minute, Harvey Elliot netted Liverpool’s first shot on target. His effort was tame, but it was a clear sign of intent from the hosts. A minute later, Firmino walked away in celebration after finding the back of the net from inside Newcastle’s penalty area.
The Reds continued to send men forward, but Newcastle resisted with resilience. The stalemate was finally broken eight minutes into stoppage time when Carvalho converted forcefully from close range, sealing a 2-1 win for his side.
It was a mixed performance from Jurgen Klopp’s boys, where some players showed up while others put on a frustrating figure. Here are three Liverpool players who stepped up and two who disappointed in their win against Eddie Howe’s side on Wednesday:
Performer: Harvey Elliott
Harvey Elliott was a force to be reckoned with against Newcastle United on Wednesday night. He was at the heart of nearly every brilliant move for the Reds, pre-assisting Firmino’s goal (pass to Salah) and fending off challenges from the Magpies with unimaginable ease.
Against Newcastle, Elliott made a key pass, accurately delivered four long balls, won six ground duels and made two fouls. If the 19-year-old continues like this, it won’t take long for him to become one of the top names on Klopp’s team sheet.
Underperforming: Jordan Henderson
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson endured a tough outing against Newcastle. He was often slow to react, failed to spot a few obvious passes and was instrumental in the visitors’ opening goal in the first half. He took his foot out to try to clear the ball. His maneuver did more harm than good as the ball went straight to Longstaff, who played Isak with a perfectly weighted pass.
Before being hung in the 71st minute, Henderson lost two of four ground duels, gave away the ball seven times and misplaced a long ball. A nice lob ball for Luis Diaz in the first half was the highlight of his game.
Performer: Roberto Firmino
With Darwin Nunez suspended and Diogo Jota injured, Roberto Firmino has been picked to fill the centre-forward role on Wednesday night. The Brazilian, who netted a brace in the Merseysiders’ previous Premier League outing, once again produced the goods, netting the equalizer in the 61st minute. The goal was nothing out of the ordinary, but his close-range finish exuded confidence.
Firmino regularly fell deep to combine with his teammates, created chances and defended in aerial duels. On Wednesday, Firmino completed two key passes, achieved 82.5% passing accuracy (33 passes accurate), won three aerial duels and attempted a tackle.
Underperformed: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Trent Alexander-Arnold had a horrible game by his standards against the Magpies. His distribution was way off the mark, he lost possession quite frequently and he was outspoken going forward as well.
Before being taken off for match winner Carvalho in the 71st minute, Alexander-Arnold lost possession 29 times and lost 10 of 11 crosses and seven of 11 long ball attempts. He also played a part in Newcastle’s goal, with his whim helping the visitors in the build-up ahead of Isak’s strike.
Performer: Mohammad Salah
Last season, Mohamed Salah became the Premier League’s top scorer (23 goals) and top provider (13 assists). The Egypt international is yet to replicate his form from last season but took some crucial steps in the right direction at Anfield on Wednesday. Salah’s frustration in front of goal continued as he failed to lodge a single shot on target. However, he assisted both of Liverpool’s goals against Newcastle.
In the 61st minute he brilliantly clipped the ball from the right for Firmino, who was waiting inside the box to finish it off. Then, just to the death, Salah launched an aerial challenge after a corner kick. The ball bounced off him and fell on Carvalho, who hammered it past Nick Pope.
Apart from the assists, Salah made six assists, completed three dribbles, won five duels on the ground and made two fouls.
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