Liverpool’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League were dented on Saturday afternoon as Jurgen Klopp’s side drew 1-1 with Newcastle at Anfield in the Premier League.
The Reds got off to the perfect start when Mohamed Salah swivelled and smashed the ball home inside the near post. But Newcastle reacted strongly, with Allan Saint-Maximin at the heart of a number of dangerous attacks before Sean Longstaff missed a golden chance to level the score. Missed opportunities by Salah, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane left Klopp wondering how Liverpool didn’t score more than the single goal at the break, and they were nearly made to pay after Joelinton’s effort had to be matched by Alisson just before the hour mark.
The Reds would eventually rue their missed chances when Callum Wilson had a goal ruled out for handball in stoppage time before Joe Willock equalised with one of the last kicks of the game.
While the finishing boots weren’t on today, Liverpool’s chance creation was excellent with countless opportunities to extend their lead. Roberto Firmino gave one of his best performances of the season, and in a formation that may have provided Klopp with a go-to system when playing against teams with a defensive setup.
Liverpool’s defence was unorganised, which gave too many opportunities to Newcastle’s attack. Missed chances left the game on a knife edge and the Reds were eventually punished.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Klopp’s team selection was aggressive and the German manager was unlucky not to see more dividends paid as the Reds frequently worked the ball into dangerous areas. The James Milner substitution was timed well, with more control required at that point in the match, and it helped limit Newcastle’s counter-attacking ability. Not much more the manager could have done.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 8 — Top goalkeepers make saves when called upon and the Brazilian goalkeeper’s stops against Sean Longstaff and Joelinton kept Liverpool ahead at crucial points in the game. Alisson couldn’t do anything about the equaliser.
Salah was superb in creating chances, but Liverpool in the end couldn’t get more than one goal and it proved costly vs. Newcastle. John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 6 — It’s unsurprising to see a solid performance on the ball, but the young defender had a couple of defensive moments where concentration had to be better.
DF Fabinho, 6 — The 27-year-old wasn’t at his best today and didn’t seem to work well with players around him. Liverpool fans will want to see Fabinho moved back into midfield as soon as possible.
DF Ozan Kabak, 6 — The on-loan centre-back got himself into the book too easily after a clumsy challenge against Allan Saint-Maximin in the ninth minute, but showed maturity to keep a cool head for the rest of the game.
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DF Andy Robertson, 6 — Liverpool attacked through the middle more often than usual, but Robertson looked dangerous in the moments he did venture forward. The Scotland captain almost doubled the home side’s lead when striking narrowly wide of the goal and defended well throughout.
MF Mohamed Salah, 7 — A world-class finish from the Egyptian winger put Liverpool ahead early but Salah will be disappointed to not have scored another.
MF Thiago, 7 — The former Bayern Munich man looked comfortable in a more familiar 4-2-3-1 formation, transitioning attacking moves well by threading balls into tight spaces for Liverpool’s front four.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 6 — The Dutchman kept the ball ticking over as Liverpool moved the ball forward, but he could have done more defensively in a physical midfield battle.
MF Sadio Mane, 6 — A big chance before the break should have been converted as the Senegalese winger seemed to be caught in two minds. Positively, Mane looked sharp throughout the game and got into a number of good areas.
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 — The 29-year-old attacker was unlucky not to pick up an assist after exquisitely putting Mohamed Salah 1v1 against the goalkeeper in the first half. Clever movement often found the Brazilian with the ball in dangerous areas with Firmino looking in his best form for some time in a Liverpool shirt.
FW Diogo Jota, 6 — The Portuguese attacker has been clinical this season but Jota was wasteful against Newcastle with a number of chances scuffed. Replaced by James Milner close to the hour mark with Klopp looking to control the game.
MF James Milner, 6 (replaced Jota, 58″) — Milner’s introduction provided more security and importantly, stopped the ball from getting to Allan Saint-Maximin.
MF Curtis Jones, N/R (replaced Thiago, 77″) — The academy graduate provided more height in the middle of the park as Liverpool looked to see out the game.
Sources : Espn.com