Liverpool’s famous front three put on another brilliant display of attacking football, as the Reds saw off Newcastle with ease…eventually.
Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle
Premier League, Anfield
September 14, 2019
Goals: Mane 28′ 40′, Salah 72′; Willems 7′
Mane proved his goalscoring prowess with an excellent finish after being set up by Andy Robertson down that flank.
He opened his body, picked his spot, and fired into the top corner in front of the Kop, giving Martin Dubravka no chance in the Newcastle goal.
Even when Firmino replaced the injured Origi, Mane remained fairly central and was able to latch onto a through-ball from the substitute to score the second.
He persisted despite an intervention from Dubravka and was eventually able to tap home to give Liverpool the lead.
His pace was a constant threat, and he also used it in defence, tracking back to thwart the equally pacy Miguel Almiron.
Firmino on Fire, Again
If there’s a better player to watch in world football than Firmino at the moment, it would be good to see them.
His impact off the bench was immediate, setting up the goal which put Liverpool ahead, with a pinpoint through-ball for Mane.
A ball lifted delicately over the Newcastle defenders put Andy Robertson through for a great chance, and then shortly after that a wonderful piece of skill sent Salah in for Liverpool’s third.
He was on the pitch for less than an hour, but it was during that hour Liverpool looked like Liverpool, and that is mostly down to Firmino.
Origi Down to Earth
From scoring vital goals on football’s biggest stage in the biggest games, to being taken off injured against Newcastle after an indifferent display: Origi was brought back down to earth.
The Belgian will be needed again this season, but he doesn’t seem to quite fit in Liverpool’s system either as an alternative to what they already have, or a like-for-like replacement for one of the front three.
His unpredictability worked brilliantly in those Champions League games last season, but here he didn’t look like the answer against a packed Newcastle defence.
He went down injured, and was replaced by Firmino, who immediately showed why he’s so important to the team setting up Mane for the winner.
If Origi is out for any length of time it will still be a worry for Liverpool, as he’ll at least be needed to give others a rest, even if he can’t affect games as he did at the end of last season.
Xherdan Shaqiri remained at Liverpool during this international break in an attempt to work his way back into Klopp’s plans ahead of a busy period of games.
Newcastle at home felt like the perfect time for him to feature, but despite his efforts during the break he still couldn’t get in the starting XI.
He warmed up hopefully throughout the second half, and was brought on with around five minutes to go.
Some neat touches and clever link-up play showed he is more in tune with this team than Origi, and suggests he’s ready to start games when needed.
The plan might be to use him in the upcoming clash with Napoli, but that will be a much more difficult environment for him to come in and make his first start of the season.
Being involved in Saturday’s early game following an international can be seen as a disadvantage, as it means those who have been away with their national teams have less time to recover.
On the plus side it gives Klopp and his players more time to prepare for their trip to Naples on Tuesday.
The San Paolo is a difficult place to go and Liverpool lost there in their group game last season.
It was one of three group matches they lost during the last campaign, so this time around they will be hoping to make it easier for themselves as they defend their European Cup.