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“Exceptional” attacking, Anfield reborn & Salah solutions – Last word on Liverpool 4-2 Newcastle

Liverpool made it six wins in a row against Newcastle to kick off 2024 at the top of the Premier League, and it was a lively affair at Anfield!

The Reds saw off the Magpies 4-2 on New Year’s Day, with all six of the goals coming after the interval in what was a frantic second half.

Mohamed Salah made up for his earlier miss from the spot by converting the penalty that sealed the deal and his brace, with Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo also on target in front of the new Anfield Road stand.

Adam Beattie (@beatts94) and Sam Millne (@sam_millne) are here for a debrief of another huge win for Liverpool in the context of the title race.

 

A hugely satisfying and dominant win, where does that performance rank in terms of this season?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC on New Year's Day at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: That was one of my favourites, Newcastle are always capable of being tricky customers but we constantly looked like scoring and the 4-2 scoreline flatters them immensely.

If Salah had slotted his first penalty the second half might have been a lot calmer, but where’s the fun in that?

SAM: It has to be one of the best for entertainment value, at least for the neutral anyway.

Now the game is won, we can look back without too much care at the missed chances, but Liverpool didn’t half make things difficult for themselves!

Barring their two momentary lapses of concentration, the Reds were exceptional at keeping Newcastle on the backfoot and moving the ball quickly.

The record xG figure of 7.27 speaks for itself in terms of chance creation; the only part Liverpool didn’t master was the finishing.

 

Which players stood out for you?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: Curtis Jones and Anthony Gordon during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

SAM: Once again, Jones backed up his selection with a fantastic performance. He is rapidly becoming vital to Klopp, with fans really noticing his absence when he isn’t there.

His counterpressing is superb and he is even becoming more decisive with his forward passing now. If he stays fit, it will be a massive boost for the Reds.

Meanwhile, aside from Salah’s phenomenal second-half display, I would like to make sure Luis Diaz is praised. This was arguably his best performance in the last few months.

The Colombian was unlucky not to score and looked back to his old self when taking on the Newcastle defenders.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: It feels odd to single them out given we shipped two goals in a game we dominated, but the centre-backs looked really solid and gave us a good platform to work from.

Jones is probably the one for me, though. Partly for his performance but mainly for how much he gave it to the away fans after his goal.

We’ve lacked goals from midfield in recent years but he always looks capable of producing one and making things happen for those around him, it’ll be tough for Ryan Gravenberch to wrestle that shirt off him.

 

Who replaces Salah while he’s gone?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: Liverpool's Luis Díaz during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC on New Year's Day at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: I’ve got this feeling he’s going to try Diaz on that side, but I imagine it’s going to be pretty fluid as the other two positions have been in recent weeks.

Harvey Elliott is definitely another candidate, he’s playing well enough to get regular minutes and looked superb when he was put there in the League Cup against West Ham.

SAM: As Adam says, Elliott and Diaz are the two obvious options. With it being potentially over a month until Salah returns, we won’t just see one solution.

Personally, I would start Elliott on the right and see how that goes. However, Diaz could move to the right with Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez or Cody Gakpo playing on the left, depending on the opposition.

 

A word on the Anfield atmosphere…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC on New Year's Day at Anfield. Liverpool won 4-2. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: I’m not quite sure we’ve cracked it yet, but it has been really reassuring to see that the home crowd can still deliver when it matters most.

Anfield is never going to be rocking for the likes of Burnley at lunchtime, but we need to be ready for whenever they need dragging over the line and that is likely to happen more than once over the coming months.

SAM: If Klopp thinks the crowd delivered, then I’m happy with that!

It really is important that, during games, fans don’t get frustrated by setbacks and keep optimistic – save the moaning for after the match.

If the Reds are to win silverware, Anfield will be key.