Liverpool reignited their top four hopes by handing Newcastle United their first home defeat of the season. The Reds (the only side to beat Newcastle this campaign coming into the game) took the lead through Darwin Nunez before Cody Gakpo added a quickfire second.

Nick Pope’s first half sending off handicapped the Magpies as they tried but failed to get back into the game. It’s now six points off top four for Liverpool, with Jürgen Klopp’s men having a game in hand. Here are player ratings from the encounter.

Alisson – 9

Quick off his line to gather at the feet of Isak early on. Then made a superb stop to deny Almiron one on one. Played one of the passes of the game to set Salah away on the counter for the Pope sending off. Wasn’t done either, as he made another unreal save to push Saint-Maximin’s shot onto the crossbar. Denied Callum Wilson late on to preserve the clean sheet. The best in the world.

Alexander-Arnold 9

Looked back to his best tonight. Yes he had his hands full with Saint-Maximin but he still made an impact going the other way. His exquisite pass put Darwin through for the opener and he didn’t stop there. Played several wonderful passes and crosses into the danger area. Deserved more than the single assist.

Gomez – 8

Was solid tonight. Didn’t make any glaring errors and covered well for Trent. Played a superb through ball midway through the second half. Back to back clean sheets. That should boost the confidence.

Van Dijk – 8

Made a welcome return to the side and was solid. Kept the ball moving and rarely gave it away. Backheel flicked clearance late on summed up his night.

Robertson – 8.5

In great form again tonight. Bombed on to good effect and was a threat down the left hand side. Should have gone for goal late on when Elliott played him through on goal but he tried to be too cute, with his pass to Salah cut out. Put one on a plate for Jota after a short corner routine. Tireless display. Was still chasing a third in stoppage time.

Fabinho – 7.5

Saint-Maximin just breezed past him early on to set up Almiron for that big chance. He improved afterwards and had to play most of the game on a yellow after a poor tackle on Anderson. He was assured on the ball and set off a few attacks in the latter stages.

Henderson – 7.5

Once again led the press tonight. He’s shown bundles of energy in the last two games. Almost like he’s benefited from his time out of the team. That right hand side of him, Trent and Salah looks much better. Rested after an hour.

Bajcetic 7.5

Caught on the ball early on and wisened up to it. Once again didn’t look out of place. A lovely turn in midfield opened the pitch up for him, with that move leading to the second goal. Stood up tall to a physical midfield battle and won some big tackles.

Salah 7.5

Terrific pass for Gakpo’s goal. Unbelievable vision and execution. Used his pace in behind to cause the Newcastle defence all sorts of problems, including getting Nick Pope sent off. Should have capitalised on the man advantage but his final ball/decision let him down a number of times second half. One tame effort at Dubravka was frustrating. Full of running though, and never gave Burn a moment’s peace.

Gakpo 7.5

Played through the middle again and made it two in two with a lovely tucked finish underneath Pope. He’s coming well into his own now. Given a breather after an hour.

Darwin 8

Opened the scoring with an explosive finish on the half volley after collecting Trent’s wonderful pass over the top. He did well to stay onside, that’s something he struggled with in the early stages of the season. He went close again second half when he cut in off the left and saw his shot parried by Dubravka. Played exceptionally well till he pulled up with a shoulder injury. Hopefully not too serious.


Milner – 7

Came on for Bajcetic and put on a tackling clinic. One on Saint-Maximin was perfectly timed and underlined what the veteran was all about. Won two tackles in quick succession on the edge of the Newcastle box late on. Played Jota through for a good chance.

Elliott – 7

The youngster came on for the skipper and got involved straightaway on the right hand side of midfield. He saw a shot deflected into Dubravka’s gloves before laying on at least three gilt edged chances for his teammates.

Firmino – 5

Actually started brightly, with brilliant footwork seeing him beat a couple of men before playing a fine pass to Salah. Quickly tired though and gave the ball away almost every time he touched it. One such turnover led to Wilson almost halving the deficit.

Jota – 6

On for Darwin and he showed some neat touches down the left wing. Should have scored from Robertson’s centre but tried to be too precise with the header, sending it just wide of the upright. He was then played through on goal, and after rounding the goalkeeper could only see his shot cleared off the line. Headed a Trent pick out across goal but was adjudged to be offside. Clearly blowing away the rust.

Jürgen Klopp

The manager made just the one change to his lineup, with Van Dijk coming in for Matip. After a shaky start, his men hit Newcastle with two quick attacks and two quick goals. Pope’s sending off basically ended the game as a contest but the hosts still carried a threat.

He could be disappointed that his substitutes didn’t take the game away from the Magpies but the three points and back to back wins are the most important thing. A crucial time to pick up some form. Madrid at Anfield next.



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