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The good, the consistent and the rotation – Last word on Newcastle 0-1 Liverpool

There were no negatives to take from Liverpool’s 1-0 win at Newcastle, with two joyous Reds supporters hailing yet another huge three points.

The Merseysiders made the trip to St James’ Park on Saturday lunchtime, in what always looked like an awkward game on paper.

Liverpool’s class shone through, however, as they dominated proceedings and sealed a win thanks to Naby Keita‘s lovely solo effort.

Here, This Is Anfield’s Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) is joined by Dan Clubbe (@dan_clubbe) to discuss the positives from the win and Jurgen Klopp‘s rotation.

 

The good…

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 30, 2022: Liverpool's Naby Keita celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DAN: Naby Keita. This was another outstanding display in what is already by far and away his best season at Anfield.

The goal aside, he was the instigator of so much from midfield in the absence of Thiago and he can perhaps feel hard done by that he isn’t already an established must-starter in the important upcoming games.

Out of the blue, James Milner was good. Gone were the days whereby I thought we’d see him starting, but yet again he and Jurgen Klopp defy all conventional wisdom.

Milner was superb, so often the man to set the tempo and obviously played a big hand in the goal by winning the ball back in the buildup. Excellent.

The defensive line was at the very peak of its powers.

With Joe Gomez at right-back, the whole operation appeared to work more seamlessly than ever as Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk perfectly executed the offside trap.

HENRY: As Dan says, Keita was the standout player for me. He was superb in all facets of his play and has been on a strong run of form for months now.

This is what he’s capable of when he stays fit, and he took his goal with such class and aplomb.

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 30, 2022: Liverpool's Joe Gomez during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Gomez was outstanding at right-back, Milner proved me wrong after I lost my head about him starting and Jordan Henderson was better than he has been of late.

Luis Diaz always looked a menace, too – you feel an electricity every time he has the ball at his feet and he is only going to get better next season.

Given the sticky nature of the game, coming so soon after such a big Champions League match, this was an incredibly assured performance.

 

The consistent…

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 30, 2022: Liverpool's Naby Keita celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DAN: That offside line! As well as Liverpool’s mentality, class and calibre.

Much of the talk coming into this game was about Newcastle‘s form – perhaps rightfully so – but Liverpool turned up at St James’ Park, rang the changes and still showed all their poise and quality in what was billed as a potential banana skin.

Speaking of consistent, I can’t overlook Andy Robertson here.

Once again the Scot was relentless down the left and is currently enjoying his best run of form in the entire campaign, at exactly the opportune moment.

HENRY: What Liverpool are doing is beyond remarkable, competing with a legendary Man City team with a bottomless pit of funds.

This is scary levels of consistency and in any other era, the Reds would be cleaning up and winning more league titles than they are currently getting.

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 30, 2022: Liverpool's Naby Keita (#8) scores the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If Liverpool win every remaining game, their record for the second half of the season would be: played 19, won 17, drawn two, lost zero.

The draws were against City and Chelsea. What a team.

Sadly, I think City will win every match left, too, which we can do nothing about, but the manner in which Klopp’s men have the bit between their teeth is a joy to watch.

 

And the rotation…

2J6BM3T Liverpool's Naby Keita (centre) celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game with team-mates Andrew Robertson (left) and Luis Diaz (right) during the Premier League match at St. James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. Picture date: Saturday April 30, 2022.

DAN: I’ll admit to being somewhat surprised when I saw the side, even more so at the sheer strength of the bench.

Every shock inclusion stood up to be counted, however – particularly Milner, of course.

On recent showings, Gomez has put forward a genuine case for being the Trent Alexander-Arnold understudy for the foreseeable future and this was another one.

Brilliant in both attack and defence, the lesser-seen party of the central defensive quartet could be reinventing himself all over again.

Moreover, to have the ability and quite frankly the audacity to turn up against a Newcastle side full of confidence and suffer little to no dropoff in terms of performance is a sign of just where this Liverpool squad is at right now.

HENRY: I’ll hold my hands up and say I didn’t like the starting lineup – Henderson and Milner in the same midfield is always a concern.

This Liverpool team keeps making me look like an idiot, though, which frankly I’m delighted about because it means they keep winning.

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 30, 2022: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St James' Park. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In the past, there simply wouldn’t have been the quality and depth in the squad to make five changes and win a tricky game, but it’s very different now.

Being able to bring on the likes of Fabinho, Thiago and Mohamed Salah is a special position to be in – gone are the days of Andriy Voronin and David N’Gog!

This is easily Liverpool’s best squad of all time.

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