Liverpool secured a 1-0 win at Newcastle to go top of the league, built on strong defence and thanks to the most composed of finishes.
Newcastle 0-1 Liverpool
Premier League (34), St James’ Park
April 30, 2022
Goals: Keita 19′
Alisson – 7 (out of 10)
Involved early on in some moments the commentators tried to convince us were perilous, but the Brazilian was as composed as ever.
Sometimes has to make saves but the flag usually goes up shortly after that. Made a particularly good one from Chris Wood in one such situation.
Nice save from his compatriot Bruno Guimaraes later on with five minutes to go.
Joe Gomez – 9
Looks comfortable in the position, and also drops into midfield now and again to contribute when needed.
Played a nice early cross into the danger area, even though Mane was offside, and was a threat down the right, helped by Diaz.
Stormed forward to help an attack from which Liverpool should have eventually scored. Gomez’s cross was perfect for Mane but the shot went wide.
If he can stay fit in such a physically demanding position, he is showing he can provide able back up to Alexander-Arnold while also covering at centre-back when needed. If indeed he is happy with such a role.
Joel Matip – 8
Like Alisson, he didn’t seem to have much to do, but he did well in his one on one battles when called upon.
Particularly so when faced with the dribbling talent of Allan Saint-Maximin in one moment later in the game.
Made a couple of classic Matip runs forward from defence and was part of a very disciplined defensive line.
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) April 30, 2022
Virgil van Dijk – 8
“Calm as you like” personified. Even completed a dribble to get out of trouble when closed down by a few Newcastle players.
Blasted a volley over from a corner – great connection and would have broken the net had it been on target.
Andy Robertson – 8
Another tireless performance down the left from the Scotland captain.
Had a good chance to create some havoc after Jota had challenged Martin Dubravka, leaving the Newcastle goalie stranded, but he kicked it straight into the keeper’s arms.
Brilliant tackle on Jacob Murphy in added time.
Jordan Henderson – 8
Booed by the home crowd due to his Sunderland roots but didn’t let it affect him, and the crowd soon got bored of that.
Stepped up to take a free-kick, much to the amusement of Alexander-Arnold and Salah as the usual free-kick takers watched from the sidelines.
Played a good cross from his specialist crossing area in the right halfspace, which led to a good header from Jota.
Helped Liverpool control the game, completing 93% of his passes.
James Milner – 8
Made a great tackle in the build-up to Keita’s goal, which the referee did well to let go.
The 36-year-old played well as the second midfielder in the three and looked comfortable with the pace of the game – more so than some of those in black and white.
Saw a well-hit shot fizz just wide and also played a great ball over the top for Jota to run on to.
Naby Keita – 9 – Man of the Match
Was running the show in the more attacking midfield position. Composed on the ball in deeper areas too, his technique helping Liverpool play their way out of trouble.
Played some nice angled passes in the final third.
His goal was epitomised his composure on the ball, taking it around the goalkeeper leaving the defence helpless on the line as he shot through them with his weaker left foot.
Luis Diaz – 8
A constant threat down the right and Matt Target struggled to deal with him. This also created space for others including Gomez and Keita.
Did well to stay on his feet on one occasion in the box when it looked like he’d been fouled.
Couldn’t quite produce a goal, either through an assist or by scoring himself, but was an important part of the attack nevertheless.
Sadio Mane – 6
Had a couple of chances, sending one decent opportunity straight at Dubravka and shooting wide from a good Gomez cross.
Worked hard for the team and was withdrawn midway through the second half in preparation for future challenges.
Diogo Jota – 6
Just 19 touches in the first half, but among those was an assist for Keita’s goal, a chance sent off-target after a great touch to control, and a brilliant header from a Henderson cross which was saved.
Had another good chance in the second half when put through on goal by Milner, then had an even better chance but opted for power rather than placement or to square it. Thankfully those missed chances didn’t come back to haunt him and us.
Mohamed Salah (on for Mane, 69′) – 6
Had a couple of half-chances but nothing quite fell for him.
Fabinho (on for Henderson, 69′) – 7
Added a bit more physical protection in front of the backline. A planned sub, no doubt.
Thiago (on for Milner, 78′) – N/A
His supreme technical ability helped Liverpool keep the ball see out the game in the last 25 minutes.
Jurgen Klopp – 10
It was bold rotation from Klopp, with five changes from the Champions League win against Villarreal in midweek.
We might have thought he’d wait until the second leg to rest a few players, seeing as they already have the lead there, but he decided this was the best lineup for this must-win game, presumably as they would be fresh and ready to run.
It worked in the end, as the effort needed all the energy in those fresh legs, and the subs late in the game kept Newcastle on their toes, worried about Liverpool perhaps more than trying to find their way back into the game.
It’s credit to the manager that he can bring in the likes of Milner and Gomez and the duo are among the best players on the day. Training must be spectacular.