Football News

Newcastle 0-2 Liverpool: Player ratings as Reds expose 10-man Magpies with quick-fire salvo

By Ben Green

Published: 19:57, 18 February 2023

Liverpool have bolstered their bid to push for the Premier League’s top-four places with a 2-0 win over 10-man Newcastle at St James’ Park.

Jurgen Klopp’s men withstood early pressure from Eddie Howe’s Champions League-chasers to subdue the Tyneside crowd 10 minutes in. Darwin Nunez evaded a usually-sturdy Newcastle defence to rifle home a bullet strike, before Cody Gakpo doubled the visitor’s advantage seven minutes later.

Nick Pope picked up a red card shortly after for a careless handling of the ball outside his area, and as such, he will miss next week’s League Cup final. The hosts pressed and probed to claw their way back into the contest, but Alisson’s resolve held strong, and the three points has travelled back to Merseyside.

It was a terrific Tyneside encounter — and here’s how the players rated in at St James’ Park:

Newcastle

Nick Pope – 2 – A beacon of consistency all season, the England international had a moment to forget 20 minutes in as he mistimed his clearance to thwart the onrushing threat of Mohamed Salah, inadvertently handling the ball outside of his box and getting his marching orders as a result.

Kieran Trippier – 5 – Another buccaneering display from the England right-back, but defensively he wasn’t up to scratch today.

Fabian Schar – 5 – Had no idea where Gakpo was for the Dutchman’s finish, while Nunez also managed to evade his presence to burst forward, and burst the net for Liverpool’s opener.

Sven Botman – 6 – Given the circumstances, Botman wasn’t culpable for either of Liverpool’s goals, but can perhaps hold his head high that his side kept a clean sheet when down to 10 men.

Dan Burn – 6 – Pushed forward in a deceptively menacing way, the unorthodox full-back was always a willing runner and contributed largely to Newcastle’s relentless press.

Sean Longstaff – 6 – Held his own in the midfield battle when down to 10 men, which is certainly no mean feat in a contest against a high-octane Liverpool.

Elliot Anderson – N/A – The sacrificial lamb to allow Martin Dubravka to come into the fray, the 20-year-old was afforded just 24 minutes on his first Premier League start. He certainly held his own during his ephemeral stint.

Joelinton – 6 – A bit like Longstaff, the duo combined well in tandem to keep the engine room purring and ensure they wouldn’t capitulate when they went down to 10 men.

Miguel Almiron – 5 – Huffed and puffed, and gave Robertson a good battle, but when Newcastle had chances, he was unable to influence the game like his attacking team-mate…

Allan Saint-Maximin – 7 – A source of inspiration going forward, the fleet-footed French trickster flew hither and thither down the wing and never gave up. Titanic showing.

Alexander Isak – 6 – Some very neat touches from the Swede, who connected with Saint-Maximin well and kept the Liverpool defence on their toes.

Substitutes:

Martin Dubravka (for Anderson 24′) – 6 – A few hesitant moments, but by and large a composed showing from the unexpected gloveman.

Callum Wilson (for Isak 64′) – 5 – Had a few openers and really should have scored, save for Alisson’s none-shall-pass exploits.

Anthony Gordon (for Almiron 64′) – 5 – Brought a renewed energy, but gave possession away far too often.

Jacob Murphy (for Trippier 64′) – 5 – Not really much to write home about, but tidy enough.

Matt Ritchie (for Joelinton 71′) – 6 – Tracked back to make an excellent last-ditch challenge with what seemed a certain Liverpool goal. Exactly what his manager would have wanted from him to replace Joelinton’s workhorse exploits.

Liverpool

Alisson – 9 – A stellar performance from Liverpool’s trusted No. 1. The Brazilian bulwark neutralised every Newcastle threat and took up his usual role as the club’s springboard for initiating attacking transitions. It was his precision ping upfield that led to Pope’s red card.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6 – Played an absolutely sublime ball to set up Darwin Nunez for the Uruguayan’s opener. It was trademark Trent. But, Saint-Maximin gave him a really stern examination in the first half, and Liverpool were carved open a few times.

Joe Gomez – 5 – That Alisson was Liverpool’s best player perhaps tells the tale of the visitor’s defence. They were all at sea in moments when Newcastle charged forward with blurry-eyed pace, with Alisson producing a blinder to preserve the clean sheet.

Virgil van Dijk – 6 – First game back since the start of last month and you could sense an element of rustiness. This was certainly a baptism of fire on his return as Newcastle offered a baleful threat going forward, but he will be delighted with the shutout.

Andy Robertson – 5 – Got forward well enough in his typical fashion, but fluffed an easy lay-off to Salah to kill the game in the second half and was equally suspect as his full-back partner to keep a lid on his marker, with Almiron enjoying his moments of success.

Fabinho – 6 – The Brazilian metronome lunged into a clumsy challenge early on to receive a risky yellow, and it looked like a sign of his recent carelessness. But, he recovered well to anchor the midfield and screen his backline, particularly in an awkward match where Newcastle refused to yield.

Stefan Bajcetic – 6.5 – The tempo-setting bambino conceded possession in a dangerous area early on as Newcastle pressed forward, but he also stabilised to stamp his authority in midfield. It was his shimmy and half-turn from a Van Dijk ball out that instigated Liverpool’s second and showcased his class in microcosm.


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Jordan Henderson – 5 – It was the type of game where Liverpool could have used the non-stop, tenacious running of Henderson to quell Newcastle’s persistent harrying and get a foothold in the middle of the park. He didn’t do a whole lot wrong, did Henderson, but at times where Liverpool needed a bit of composure, he wasn’t always there to deliver.

Mohamed Salah – 7 – The Egyptian didn’t get on the scoresheet, but his assist to Gakpo was simply world class. From the vision, to the timing and the execution, even the audacity to attempt it: pure poetry.

Cody Gakpo – 6.5 – A solid enough showing for the Dutchman, who is starting to come into his own, while also taking his goal very well.

Darwin Nunez – 7 – With Liverpool heavily under the cosh in the opening sequence of play, Nunez served as a relief valve to release the pressure. The Uruguayan has come in for criticism this season for his finishing, but he took his goal extremely well on Tyneside, unleashing a thunderbolt that left Pope rooted to the spot.

Substitutes:

Diogo Jota (for Gakpo 60′) – 6 – Neat and nimble, Jota had moments to grab a third. He didn’t nab one, but will take confidence from the room he manipulated.

James Milner (for Bajcetic 60′) – 6 – Industrious as ever, the veteran factotum returned to Tyneside with a professional showing.

Harvey Elliot (for Henderson 60′) – 5 – Put his body on the line and gave a good half-hour shift.

Roberto Firmino (for Nunez 60′) – 7 – Firmino is just a joy to watch. His repertoire of pirouettes, jinks and half-turns were mesmeric at times.


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