Liverpool’s patience paid off as they sealed a 2-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday, as Mo Salah and Sadio Mane continued their rich vein of form.
Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle
Premier League, Anfield
March 3, 2018
Goals: Salah 40′, Mane 55′
Loris Karius – 8 (out of 10)
The German cut a lonely figure in Liverpool’s area for much of the game but a sensational save in first-half stoppage time to deny Mohamed Diame was yet another standout moment in his burgeoning career at Anfield.
Brimming with confidence Karius look unwavered in the few moments where Newcastle looked to question the ‘keeper’s resolve.
Yet another solid performance to silence the critics.
The right-back continued his ever-impressive run of form in his fifth consecutive starting appearance.
With the Magpies offering little attacking threat he was able to offer width and unleash a number of the renowned crosses which set him apart from his right-back competitor Joe Gomez.
Dejan Lovren – 7
Preferred over Joel Matip, Lovren looked at ease alongside Virgil van Dijk in a largely comfortable afternoon for the defensive pairing.
Expected to primarily make an impact with his defensive duties, the Croatian featured more prominently in our attacking third having been on the end of a number of chances from set-pieces.
A solid return to action for Lovren.
Virgil van Dijk – 8
This man oozes class. Bar a skewed clearance from a corner the colossus of a defender had a comfortable evening clearing every ball in his vicinity.
His range of passing cut Newcastle wide open in the first period and offered a sight of what is to come as he continues to grow in the red shirt.
The Dutch defender’s leadership was clear for all to see as he readily organised the back line who were rarely disturbed throughout the 90 minutes.
Andrew Robertson – 7
Whilst not exactly reaching the heights of his last few appearances it was yet another solid performance for the Scotland international as he continues to stamp his mark on the left-back position.
Although DeAndre Yedlin had him for pace Robertson did well to close the attacker’s space and offer an attacking threat of his own.
This man continues to impress and he is undoubtedly the left-sided defender we have all been craving for, for years.
Jordan Henderson – 8
With James Milner under a fitness cloud the skipper returned to fold after last featuring in the 5-0 thumping of Porto.
Despite often being criticised for his lack of forward intent, Henderson proved decisive in moving the ball towards his front three and was pivotal in breaking up play once Newcastle gained possession.
It proved to be an emphatic return for Henderson who slotted seamlessly back into his midfield position.
Emre Can – 8
The German impressed with his ability to pick a pass and was often seen gesticulating to his team-mates to up the tempo in the early stages.
He proved to be key in linking the defence with the attack and continued to showcase why clubs across Europe have been sniffing around as his contract saga rumbles on.
No yellow card also ensures he can feature against Man United, so that is a major plus.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7.5
Not too dissimilar from his outing against West Ham last time out, he grew into the game as time progressed.
Given the freedom to roam across midfield, his drive and forward intent allowed him to find space in Newcastle’s half and he duly punished the visitors for it.
His sixth assist of the season came as a result of his willingness to win the ball back and with each passing game he is slowly starting to find where he fits in the side.
Sadio Mane – 8
After scoring four goals in his last two games heading into the clash it was apparent that Mane’s confidence levels have started to return to those on show in his debut season at the club.
He was willing to power towards defenders and was duly rewarded with his 14th goal of the season, a phenomenal return considering he was deemed to be far from his best for much of the season.
Mohamed Salah – 8.5 (Man of the Match)
What. A. Man.
Honestly, what more can be said about the Egyptian that hasn’t already? Having looked the most likely in the opening stages Salah did what we all expected him to do, hit the back of the net for the 32nd time this season.
With space proving hard to come by against Rafa Benitez’s well-drilled side, Salah’s clever movement and runs off the shoulder of the defenders paved the way for our patient approach to pay off.
The opening goal settled the team and proved decisive in steering us to second place in the table.
Roberto Firmino – 7.5
The Brazilian—like many of his teammates—struggled to find his rhythm prior to the opening goal, with his first touch and wayward passing reflective of the lack of space offered by the visitors.
However, it did not take long for him to showcase his supreme ability as he emerged from the break with a renewed intent which led to a sensational pinpoint pass for Mane’s goal, there really is nothing this man cannot do.
With yet another hardworking performance under his belt he was duly rewarded with two minutes’ extra rest by his manager.
Starting XI Average Rating: 7.3
Adam Lallana (on for Mane, 74’) – 6 – The Englishman easily transitioned into the pace of the game but didn’t have enough time to make a lasting impact.
James Milner (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 79’) – N/A
Joel Matip (on for Firmino, 88’) – N/A
Subs not used: Mignolet, Moreno, Gomez, Solanke
Jurgen Klopp – 8.5
Liverpool have been guilty of easily growing frustrated and attempting to force things to happen against deep-lying sides in recent times.
But Klopp had his brigade primed for a patient approach and it paid dividends.
The continued work to rid the Reds of their historic woes cannot be understated as the breakthrough came as a result of continued perseverance and willingness to bide our time—a maturity Klopp has imparted on this young and ever-improving side.