Another thrilling chapter in a Premier League game that so often lives up to its promise was written in Liverpool’s latest victory over Newcastle.
Jurgen Klopp’s men looked dead and buried halfway through the St James’ Park clash with Newcastle with a goal and a man clear – Virgil van Dijk being sent off after Anthony Gordon broke the deadlock.
The opposing team, who looked destined to succumb to their first loss of the season, had to wait until the 81st minute for their next shot on target – but they made it count.
Substitute Darwin Nunez took advantage of Sven Botman’s inability to clear a troublesome ball before digging into the corner of the net from the post.
And in the third minute of stoppage time, Nunez struck again, sweeping the ball past Nick Pope to give Liverpool a 2-1 win in what seemed most unlikely 45 minutes earlier.
Unsurprisingly, Liverpool’s spectacular victory at Tyneside was instructive.
What better start than Liverpool’s man of the moment, who is making headlines despite only coming on in the 77th minute.
Nunez’s goals were consummate finishes, strikes that more conventional goalscorers like Harry Kane or Robert Lewandowski would have been proud of – which is at odds with the erratic form in front of goal we saw from the Uruguay striker during his first season at Anfield.
He’s had to be patient for his playing time this season with calmer forwards like Klopp’s favorite Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota, but Gary Neville thinks Nunez has weapons his peers don’t possess as much.
“I prefer to play against Gakpo. I prefer to play against Jota, and they are both very good players, but I prefer to play against both of them rather than Darwin Nunez,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“He would scare me to death running over my shoulder. His speed, the way he always moves… but if you can’t finish you don’t always have that punch to knock your opponents out. .
“If he adds punch like he did today, he will become a really interesting player for Liverpool.”
Simply the Beck-sed
Nunez deserves huge credit for the impact he made, but if not for the Liverpool keeper’s splendid play, the game would have been over before the two-goal hero even stepped onto the pitch.
Alisson Becker made seven saves on Sunday afternoon, the most he has ever made in a Premier League game.
Not all of them were terribly difficult, but showed his class by denying Miguel Almiron’s stinging effort late in the first half – a save one of the Premier League’s top goalkeepers described as a stoppage of the contender of the season.
“It’s probably one of the stoppages of the season, and we’re only into week three,” former Newcastle player Shay Given told Sky Sports.
“He’s hands down one of the best in the world,” Given continued. “Liverpool have been successful in the last five years, he’s been a big part of that – him and Van Dijk. The whole of Liverpool has transformed and he’s one of the big reasons for that.”
How could you do that?
Liverpool needed Alisson’s hand to keep them in the game, and perhaps their return to this game was due to an unintended helping hand from the Newcastle manager.
Newcastle’s goal was symptomatic of the misery Gordon inflicted on Reds right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold – with the former Everton striker taking advantage of compatriot Scouser’s inability to control the ball before rushing and to go home.
Gordon toasted Alexander-Arnold at points in the first half and forced referee John Brooks into an important decision after being knocked down by the Liverpool man after passing the ball past him.
Just minutes before Liverpool equalized, Eddie Howe decided to inject some fresh legs into Newcastle’s attack, snagging Gordon as well as Alexander Isak and Sandro Tonali.
Nunez’s first goal came out of nowhere, but Newcastle weren’t quite the same after those changes and they might be ones Howe may now regret.
Speaking of hands, a move from Howe’s assistant Jason Tindall early in the game would come back to bite him full-time.
Tindall was pictured appearing to silence Klopp, the Liverpool boss apparently upset with the way the game was going.
Klopp was the one smiling at the end after his side pulled off a stunning turnaround.
Tindall’s photo sent those who wanted to parody him on social media into a frenzy and with cameras everywhere, maybe he could rethink his future conduct on the sidelines.
Experiencing victories like these is what your team is worth supporting, with Alexander-Arnold calling the win a post-game result “for the ages”.
But for all the excitement of a last-minute win, it’s clear there are still plenty of holes in Liverpool’s side.
It was a complete start to forget for Wataru Endo, who was frequently overtaken in the middle of the park, while Liverpool looked shaky at the back – Van Dijk was caught by Alexander Isak before committing the foul that sent the Dutchman to the early bath.
The Reds have faced numerous setbacks in the transfer window and, with less than a week to go before the deadline, they still look like a side that is far from a side that can seriously challenge for the main ones. price this season.