Liverpool eventually took their chances in front of goal having created plenty throughout, with performance levels that fluctuated in a dramatic game in wild conditions at Anfield.
Liverpool 4-2 Newcastle
Premier League (20), Anfield
January 1, 2024
Goals: Salah 49′ 86′ (pen), Jones 74′, Gakpo 78′; Isak 54′, Botman 81′
Alisson – 6
Couldn’t do his trademark speciality and make a one-on-one save when Newcastle striker Alexander Isak broke through.
It wasn’t a game that really gave him an opportunity to excel as other games have, and both goals were pretty clear cut.
Some wayward passes out, but perhaps due to the terrible weather conditions!
Trent Alexander-Arnold -6
Saw an early shot wide and then sent another over from the rebound on Salah’s penalty, when he should have done better and shown a little more patience.
His long passing radar wasn’t quite honed in and one stray pass led to a break for Isak which Van Dijk tidied up.
Was beaten by Anthony Gordon, along with Szoboszlai, for the Newcastle goal, and also has trouble with Joelinton at times.
Ibrahima Konate – 8
Very assured for the most part, forming a solid defensive partnership with Van Dijk, as usual.
It’s very much a league title challenging defensive partnership if it can remain intact.
Virgil van Dijk – 8
Played Isak onside for the Newcastle goal, but was otherwise as good as Konate, if not better.
Joe Gomez – 8
Another very good outing for Gomez, again at left full-back. His versatility is vital with both left-backs out, and he did a good job.
Two very crucial recovery runs in the first half were well received.
Made a good block from Miley early on and also a crunching tackle on Anthony Gordon, which went down well in Anfield. The timing early in the game also meant he escaped a booking.
Wataru Endo – 9 – Man of the Match
Everywhere in midfield, picking up pieces and making tackles. Was beating Newcastle players to every ball, and passed it well during Liverpool’s build-up.
Managed to get a couple of shots away, too, which always look like they might lead to something even if not a goal.
The missed him defensively when he was taken off, and will miss him during his spell at the Asia Cup.
Dominik Szoboszlai – 7
Did some good work off the ball, pressing well and giving Newcastle midfielders little peace.
Had a golden opportunity to play in Diaz or Nunez on one counter-attack but under-hit his pass.
Strong play in midfield during the build-up to the opening goal, leaving Bruno Guimaraes in his wake before feeding Diaz.
Like Alexander-Arnold, could have done more to stop Gordon ahead of Newcastle‘s goal.
Curtis Jones – 9
Great ball through to Nunez which eventually resulted in Diaz finding the back of the net, but the striker had moved a bit too early and was offside.
Looks a lot more dangerous in attack these days, and showed his desire to get in the box and score to get on the end of Jota’s pass to score Liverpool’s second.
Mohamed Salah – 8
Hit his first penalty with power but not direction, neither down the middle nor to the corner, and gave Dubravka a chance to save it, which he did.
Eventually got his goal, motoring into position to tap-in from close range. The movement earned the easy finish.
Eventually got his penalty, too, firing into the corner this time and making no mistake.
Also played a really good pass for Gakpo’s goal with the outside of his boot.
More than made up for his early miss and wastefullness – then chased his hat-trick near the end.
Darwin Nunez – 6
Should score when through one on one with Dubravka, or square to Salah, but made it easy for the keeper to make a save.
Kept kicking the ball at Dubravka rather than into the goal.
The goal eventually came, but not for himself, as he squared a pass inside to Salah who couldn’t miss.
If he and Salah had been able to finish their other big chances, this game would have been over and done with by half time.
Worked hard off the ball which would have earned the approval of the onlooking, former No.9, Roberto Firmino.
Luis Diaz – 8
Looked lively and dangerous in attack, and played a big part in the opening goal, beating defenders before playing a good pass out to Nunez.
Nice work to win the penalty. Had a goal ruled out shortly before that as Nunez was offside in the buildup.
Diogo Jota (on for Nunez, 64′) – 8
Lively link-up with Salah produced the second goal, before squaring to Jones.
Contributed to the team eventually turning their dominance into goals. Liverpool’s most composed forward and it shows.
Ryan Gravenberch (on for Szoboszlai, 63′) – 6
Didn’t offer as much as the other subs. Not sure what he’s done to warrant being ahead of Harvey Elliott in Klopp’s thinking.
Cody Gakpo (on for Diaz, 64′) – 7
Got enough on Salah’s cross to turn the ball into the goal. Maybe a cleaner strike might have been saved by Dubravka given the way this game had gone!
Alexis Mac Allister (on for Endo 75′) – 7
Added some extra playmaking ability in midfield and sent Jota through with an excellent pass for the moment that won the second penalty.
Jurgen Klopp – 9
It was a strong lineup to begin with, one that created enough to finish the game earlier on but failed to finish those chances.
Klopp’s subs ultimately won the game, as the players continued to create but now converted on top of that.
Finished the game with some fist-pumps in front of the Kop, which were well-earned and well deserved for all who braved the swirling wind and rain.
Liverpool are top of the league at the turn of the year, with domestic Cup action now until the next league game on January 21.