A disappointing end to a long old season at St James’ Park, with an early goal from Gayle cancelled out by Van Dijk, Origi and Sadio Mane.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with my mark out of 10:
Dubravka – 6 – Our newly crowned player of the season made a great save to deny Minamino to keep us 0-1 up early on, but couldn’t do much about Van Dijk’s looping header or the brilliant finishes from Origi and Mane.
Manquillo – 5 – It could’ve gone worse for the Spaniard, but he didn’t have the easiest of afternoons in an unfamiliar centre-back role. Beaten in the air for their equaliser.
Fernandez – 7* – Got himself an avoidable yellow card on the half hour mark for kicking the ball away, but aside from that he was our best defender and arguably our best player today. Some top class blocks and a brilliant last ditch tackle to deny Salah what seemed like a certain goal. Good to see the Argentine respond after a rare run of poor performances.
Rose – 5 – Was beaten far too easily by Oxlaide-Chamberlain moments before Van Dijk’s equaliser and went through the motions a little for me. Like Manquillo, he was never going to find it easy as a left-sided centre-back however he’s been far from convincing since he arrived on loan from Spurs. It feels like we’ve very much got a player who’s on the way out and not nearly as fit or hungry as he once was…
Lazaro – 6 – Showed some early promise with a few bright moments on the ball, however was beaten a little too easily by Mane for his goal, allowing him to cut in and shoot on his favoured foot. It’s a real shame we’ve not seen more of him as an out and out winger. He’s clearly talented but not much of a defender and wasted at wing-back.
Shelvey – 7 – Worked hard against his former club and played a huge role in our early breakthrough with a brilliant quick-thinking through ball to set up Gayle. Struggled to make another big impact on the game after that but seemed like one of few in our ranks who threatened to unlock the door.
Bentaleb – 5 – Some decent passes mixed in with some typically risky ones. Won his fair share in the air, but his lack of mobility meant he struggled to get close to their energetic midfield. Was forced off with a knock early in the second half, and it was noticeable how much his replacement, Sean Longstaff, was able to get about the pitch and press in comparison. I don’t think anyone will lose any sleep if today is his last outing for NUFC…
Almiron – 6.5 – Worked tirelessly, made several ball recoveries and some good runs to get us up the pitch, but failed to threaten their goal and spent too much of the game camped in our own half. A great effort but not much to show for it for our top scorer for 2019/20.
Ritchie – 6 – Put in a real shift and battled away throughout, but wasn’t really able to get forward and get at Liverpool youngster Neco Williams at the other end from a left wing-back role.
Saint-Maximin – 5 – A rare off day for the Frenchman, who was withdrawn at half time after looking a little leggy and below par in the first 45. That said, he deserves praise for winning the early free kick that led to Gayle’s 26-second goal. With him barely missing a minute since football resumed, he looked a tired man today and ready for a rest before the 2020/21 season starts.
Gayle – 7 – His movement caused Liverpool problems early on and he was rewarded after just 26 seconds, slotting past Alisson after latching onto Shelvey’s early through ball. Didn’t get nearly enough service but looked lively again – not for the first time since football resumed.
Joelinton – 5 – Replaced ASM at the break but wasn’t able to trouble the Liverpool defence. His red hair stood out more than his impact on the game, sadly.
S Longstaff – 6 – Got about the pitch and pressed far better than Bentaleb was able to, but wasn’t able to see too much of the ball.
Carroll – 5 – Spent more time defending corners than he did at the other end as Liverpool dominated late on.
Hayden – 5 – Didn’t see much of the ball in a late run out following several weeks out with a hamstring injury
Watts – 6 – Did OK on his Premier League debut, with him thrown into the deep end for the final 20 minutes against Salah, Mane and Firmino. A flat day for NUFC fans but a great moment to see a local lad live his dream for the first time.