A superb team effort and a much improved display from Steve Bruce’s side, with us battling brilliantly from start to finish in a gutsy draw with Liverpool.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with ours marks out of 10:
Darlow – 9.5* – Man of the match! Multiple world class stops to deny Liverpool and his save to tip Salah’s one-on-one wide in the first half was arguably one of the saves of the year. Martin Dubravka may face a few more weeks on the side-lines if Darlow continues this rich vein of form. He misses out on a perfect 10 rating due to his hesitation at the corner kick which gave Firmino an open look at goal.
Yedlin – 8 – Has been guilty of switching off defensiely during his time o Tyneside, but he was very solid here. Yedlin’s Newcastle career looked all but over this summer, but this performance showed that he still has a pivotal role to play in this squad, with him up and down the line all night and making one outstanding block in the first half. Not only did he win 5 of his 6 duels, he had 2 clearances and a stunning 6 interceptions.
Fernandez – 9 – An absolute man mountain in this one. Fernandez rarely has a bad game and he again proved why is he Newcastle’s unsung hero. His perfectly time slide tackle prevented Mo Salah a clear look at goal and he kept Roberto Firmino quiet for the majority of the game with excellent marking. Also came across on the cover to cut out a few Liverpool attacks late on when others were tiring. A towering display from the Argentine.
Schar – 8.5 – Back to his best tonight. His reactive goal-line clearance was worth as much as a goal at the other end and preserved a precious point, with him reading the play expertly throughout to keep Liverpool at bay. His first-half performance was slightly tentative – he lost Roberto Firmino as a cross came into the box to give the Brazilian a free header and gave away the ball in a bad area once or twice – but when the chips were down and the pressure came in the closing stages, he was sensational.
Clark – 8 – Another unsung hero who did his job tonight with minimal fuss, although he was walking a tightrope for most of it after a poor touch and cynical foul saw him booked early on. Won 10 aerial duels – including a late header that almost won us the game! – and added three crucial tackles and three interceptions to his rock solid defensive performance.
Ritchie – 7 – His dead ball delivery was much improved tonight, with his cross for Clark’s late header perfectly weighted. He looked lost at wing-back against Manchester City and did almost cost us in the first half when trying to play Salah offside, but he had a lot on his plate down that right-hand side and just about coped in the end. More penetration on the ball and plenty tenacity that was put to good use after a few careless displays.
Murphy – 6 – His effort off the ball can never be questioned, but his quality on it was a bit mixed here. He gave the ball away too easily as he began to tire in the second half – appearing to struggle with Robertson’s non-stop energy down their left. Moreover, he wasted two crucial free kicks in good areas with poor deliveries that failed to beat the first man. Put in a shift, but it’s hard to give him a higher rating.
Hayden – 7.5 – Did a lot of the groundwork tonight alongside Matty Longstaff to help protect our defence and Karl Darlow’s goal. Cautious on the ball at times, but his energetic pressing meant that the defence were able to move a few yards higher, alleviating some of the attacking pressure in the process. Unfortunately, he was given a yellow card for a needless foul and will now be suspended for our next game with Leicester.
M Longstaff – 8.5 – He has been thrown into the deep end in his first two starts of the season, but he stepped up to the plate tonight. He was composed in possession, showing some ice-cool touches when surrounded by Liverpool’s midfield three. His early pass in behind for Callum Wilson created our best chance of the evening and his energy was infectious, with him lasting the game well and nicking in with several timely interceptions to break up the play.
Joelinton – 7 – His performances have improved when operating in a No 10 role, however he had mixed success from the left-wing in this one. His ferocious pressing was vital to our success and he won the vast majority of his duels, but his attacking efforts were sometimes laboured. His passing was OK at times and his hold up play solid, but he failed to create any chances for Callum Wilson or offer that explosiveness we sometimes needed to hurt Liverpool on the break.
Wilson – 8 – Our £20m man proved what a complete modern day centre forward he is once again here. His ability to tirelessly press, bully defenders and create his own chances out of nothing is second to none. He threw Nat Phillips off the ball to create our best chance early on and could have caused Liverpool serious trouble if we were able to commit more men forward late on. However, he was more than happy to do the ugly work for 90 minutes, with his movement, pace and physicality giving us a focal point in attack and threat in behind.
Almiron – 6 – Did what was needed of him after replacing a tired Murphy with 25 minutes to play. Some hesitant moments on the ball and the odd overhit pass, but he got in amongst them, protected Yedlin and carried the ball forward on the counter.
Lewis – N/A – Only featured for the final five minutes and barely got a kick aside from one attempt to catch them on the break.