Football Features

Newcastle 1-2 Liverpool player ratings: Nunez seals unlikely comeback win despite Van Dijk red card

By Squawka News

Newcastle 1-2 Liverpool player ratings: Nunez seals unlikely comeback win despite Van Dijk red card

Published: 18:45, 27 August 2023

Ten-man Liverpool defied the odds to come from a goal down and beat Newcastle United 2-1 at St. James’ Park in an incredible Sunday afternoon of drama.

The Reds suffered a barrage from Newcastle early on and went behind thanks to a goal from former Everton winger Anthony Gordon, who profited from a Trent Alexander-Arnold error to race through and finish beyond Alisson. Just three minutes later, Liverpool were down to 10 men as Virgil van Dijk was sent off for bringing down Alexander Isak as the Swedish striker ran through on goal.


It looked an impossible task to come back from there but, through a mixture of good luck, goalkeeping brilliance from Alisson and ice-cold composure from Darwin Nunez, Liverpool snatched the win with two goals from the Uruguayan striker at the end — one on 81 minutes, the other in the third minute of stoppage time.

St. James’ Park was absolutely stunned into silence at the final whistle, save for the Liverpool players and staff, as well as the supporters up in the gods. However, Jurgen Klopp’s men deserve huge credit for keeping their cool and staying in the game under immense pressure.

Liverpool now move into the top four in the early Premier League table, while Newcastle are 13th with two defeats from three. But how did the players perform on the day? Here are full ratings from a stunning afternoon of football:

Newcastle United

Nick Pope –  5 – A few nervous moments early on but settled to make a couple of decent saves. Had no chance with the Nunez goals. 

Kieran Trippier – 8 – Showed all of his usual creativity and quality going forward and did what he needed to defensively. 

Fabian Schar – 7 – Solid throughout and safe with the ball.

Sven Botman – 5 – Was enjoying a strong afternoon but got tangled up to allow Nunez to run free and score the equaliser. Came off injured near the end.

Dan Burn – 6 – No surprise that he wasn’t as adventurous as Trippier, but another solid outing from the giant left-back. Struggled when moved inside at the end and allowed Nunez to get away from him for the winner.

Sandro Tonali – 8 – Looks right at home in a Newcastle shirt. Drives forward with the ball brilliantly to commit opposing defenders, shows a great passing range, and looks all set to be a goalscoring midfielder with the runs he makes.

Bruno Guimaraes – 5 – Put in a lot of defensive work but undid it all by giving the ball away for Liverpool’s winner.

Joelinton – 7 – Didn’t see as much of the ball as his counterparts, but that’s because he was busy putting in the hard yards and making life hard for Liverpool.

Miguel Almiron – 8 – Deserved a goal for his sheer perseverance. Tested Alisson with a wicked volley just past the half-hour mark and rattled the post in the second half.

Alexander Isak – 6 – Drew the foul that saw Van Dijk sent off but was quiet otherwise. Completed just four passes and only touched the ball 10 times.

Anthony Gordon – 8.5 – Put in an electric performance. Had Alexander-Arnold on pins with his speed and direct dribbling. Fully deserved his goal that he’ll savour tonight given his Everton roots, even if it counted for nothing. Everything fell apart for Newcastle after Gordon came off.


Sean Longstaff (for Tonali, 72′) – 6 – Took a while to get going but carried a threat toward the end.

Callum Wilson (for Isak, 72′) – 4 – Barely saw the ball.

Harvey Barnes (for Gordon, 72′) – 6 – Didn’t really scare the Liverpool backline as Gordon did, though he had a few bright moments.

Elliot Anderson (for Joelinton, 82′) – 5 – Failed to change the game.

Matt Targett (for Botman, 87′) – 6 – Clean and tidy but no time to really affect the game.

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Alisson – 8.5 – The scoreline could have been a lot worse for Liverpool if not for Alisson’s timely interventions. The Brazilian’s role in this win should not be overlooked, especially considering he set a new personal best in the Premier League of seven saves in one match.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4.5 – Was booked early, made a horrendous error for Newcastle’s goal and looked terrified of going toe-to-toe with Gordon at times. To give him some credit, he kept his head to avoid a second yellow and improved slightly after the break.

Joel Matip – 7 – Did okay under the circumstances, kept Isak quiet.

Virgil van Dijk – 2 – Sent off on 28 minutes for swiping through Isak as he ran on goal, making life very hard for his teammates, who bailed him out.

Andy Robertson – 7 – Restricted going forward after the red card but brought some calm and composure to the Liverpool ranks.

Dominik Szoboszlai – 6 – Still learning the ropes, but has the engine and determination required to thrive under Klopp.

Wataru Endo – 7 – Tidy on the ball and combative in his first Liverpool start. Will look forward to playing with 11 men, with Liverpool receiving red cards in both of his two appearances for the club so far.

Alexis Mac Allister – 6 – Did a decent job of making sure Liverpool saw some possession when they went down to 10 men. Calm under pressure. Unfortunately held back in the final third due to the numerical mismatch.

Mohamed Salah – 8 – Understandably not his most active game, but Salah looked dangerous whenever he got the ball. Provided a great assist for the winner.

Cody Gakpo – 5 – A couple of bright moments aside, he was extremely isolated. Especially after Van Dijk’s red card.

Luis Diaz – 7 – Looked very dangerous early on and almost opened the scoring following a dazzling run through the Newcastle defence. Can feel a little hard done by that he was the one sacrificed to get another defender on.


Joe Gomez (for Diaz, 33′) – 7 – Came on in difficult circumstances but, for a player who has his fair share of critics, performed well.

Harvey Elliott (for Endo, 58′) – 7 – Added some craft and quality to the Liverpool midfield.

Diogo Jota (for Gakpo, 58′) – 6 – Didn’t fare much better than Gakpo but provided the pass Botman failed to clear for Nunez’s first.

Darwin Nunez (for Mac Allister, 77′) – 9.5 – If Gomez has his fair share of critics, Nunez has his unfair share and the big Uruguayan silenced them here with two brilliantly taken goals to steal the win for his side. Superb accuracy and composure from the bench.

Jarell Quansah (for Matip, 77′) – 6 – Helped get the job done. A mature cameo from the youngster.