Friday, September 29, 2023

Darwin Nunez threat, Eddie Howe error and Jason Tindall’s premature taunt – Things we learnt from Liverpool’s win at Newcastle

Another enthralling chapter in a Premier League fixture that so often delivers was written during Liverpool’s last-gasp win over Newcastle.

Jurgen Klopp’s men looked dead and buried at the halfway point of the St James’ Park clash with Newcastle a goal and a man up – Virgil van Dijk being sent off after Anthony Gordon broke the deadlock.

Liverpool left it late to claim an unlikely win at St James’ ParkGetty

The away side, who appeared destined to succumb to their first defeat of the season, had to wait until the 81st minute for their next shot on target – but they made it count.

Substitute Darwin Nunez took advantage of Sven Botman’s inability to clear an awkward ball before rifling into the corner of the net off the post.

And in the third minute of stoppage time Nunez struck again, sweeping the ball past Nick Pope to give Liverpool a 2-1 win, which seemed most improbable 45 minutes earlier.

Unsurprisingly there were plenty of takeaways from the Liverpool’s dramatic win on Tyneside.

Darwin’s evolution

Where better to start than Liverpool’s man of the moment, who takes the headlines despite only entering the fray in the 77th minute.

Nunez’s goals were accomplished finishes, strikes that more conventional goalscorers like Harry Kane or Robert Lewandowski would’ve been proud of – which is at odds with the erratic form in front of goal we saw from the Uruguayan forward in his debut season at Anfield.

He’s had to be patient for his game time this term with more composed forwards like Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota preferred by Klopp, but Gary Neville believes Nunez has weapons his peers don’t possess as much.

“I’d rather play against Gakpo. I’d rather play against Jota, and they’re both very good players, but I’d rather play against both of them than Darwin Nunez,” Neville told Sky Sports.

Nunez only scored nine goals in 29 Premier League appearances last season but showed he may be more productive in front of goal this termGetty

“He would frighten me to death running off my shoulder. The speed of him, the way in which he always moves… but then if you can’t finish you don’t always have that punch to knock your opponents out…

“If he adds the punch like he has today he becomes a really interesting player for Liverpool.”

Simply the Beck-sed

Nunez deserves huge credit for the impact he had but without some splendid play by Liverpool’s goalkeeper the game would’ve been over before the two-goal hero even got on the pitch.

Alisson Becker made seven saves on Sunday afternoon, the most he’s ever managed in a Premier League match.

Alisson was Liverpool’s best player last season and was arguably the standout star on SundayGetty

Not all of them were terribly difficult but showed his class when denying Miguel Almiron’s stinging effort late in the first half – a stop that one of the Premier League’s best ever goalkeepers has described as a save of the season contender.

“That’s probably one of the saves of the season, and we’re only in the third week,” former Newcastle man Shay Given told Sky Sports.

“He’s one of the best in the world by far,” Given continued. “Liverpool have been successful over the last five years, he’s one of the big parts – him and Van Dijk. The whole of Liverpool transformed and he’s one of the main reasons why.”

Howe could you do this?

Liverpool needed the hand of Alisson to keep them in the game, and perhaps their route back into it was thanks to an unintentional helping hand from the Newcastle manager.

Did Howe get his in-game tactics wrong?Getty

Newcastle’s goal was symptomatic of the misery that Gordon inflicted on Reds right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold – the former Everton forward taking advantage of his fellow Scouser’s failure to control the ball before racing in and slotting home.

Gordon had Alexander-Arnold on toast at points in the first half and forced referee John Brooks into an big early decision having been brought down by the Liverpool man after skinning the ball past him.

Just a few minutes before Liverpool equalised Eddie Howe decided to inject some fresh legs into the Newcastle attack, hooking off Gordon as well as Alexander Isak and Sandro Tonali.

Nunez’s first goal came out of nothing but Newcastle weren’t quite the same after these changes and they could be ones Howe may now rue.

Gordon had Alexander-Arnold’s number for large parts but the Liverpool defender was given some unexpected respiteAFP

Tindall taunt

On the subject of hands, a gesture from Howe’s assistant, Jason Tindall, early in the match would come back to bite him come full time.

Tindall was pictured appearing to shush Klopp with the Liverpool boss seemingly irked at the way the match was flowing.

Klopp was the one smiling at the end though after his team completed the stunning turnaround.

The picture of Tindall sent those wanting to parody him on social media into a frenzy and with cameras everywhere perhaps he may rethink his future conduct on the touchline.

Cameras caught Tindall appearing to shush Klopp mid-match but the Liverpool boss was celebrating at full time

Liv it up

Experiencing wins like these are what make getting behind your team all worth it, Alexander-Arnold calling the victory a result ‘for the ages’ post-match.

But under all the elation of a last-gasp win it’s clear to see there are still plenty of holes in the Liverpool side.

It was a full debut to forget for Wataru Endo, who was frequently overrun in the middle of the park, while Liverpool looked shaky at the back – Van Dijk was caught goalside by Alexander Isak before committing the foul that sent the Dutchman for early bath.

The Reds have faced plenty of setbacks in the transfer window and with less than a week until deadline day they’re still looking like a side that’s a long way off from being a side that can seriously challenge for the main prizes this term.

Is this a victory that merely papers over the cracks for Liverpool?Getty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *