Another nerve shredding Newcastle United match, which saw us move one point closer to survival.
It really has been an incredible recovery since the international break, with us taking eight points from our last four matches. The way that the players chose to celebrate with Steve Bruce was also telling. Maybe the manager does have the support of the squad after all…
Here’s my comments and ratings for each player involved:
Dubravka – 9* – It was his best performance since returning to the team, as he made eight saves and kept us in the game. His best contribution came when he came out and smothered the ball before Sadio Mane could get his strike away. It looked to be a massive chance for Liverpool. My man of the match, as we’d have been out of sight by extra time if it wasn’t for him!
Murphy – 7 – I seem to be repeating myself, but Jacob Murphy is a very consistent performer at wing-back. The club need to get him tied down. He was very good on Saturday, especially defensively, as he regularly used his pace and body well to snuff out Liverpool attacks. He made four tackles and two interceptions to help the defensive effort.
Fernandez – 5 – It was a challenging day for the Argentine, as he struggled to cope with the dynamic movement of the Liverpool attack. He was fortunate not to see red for a forearm to Diogo Jota. Another ref would have given it.
Clark – 4 – The Irishman seems to have an error in him almost every week at the moment. It wasn’t a surprise to see him taken off early, as he was struggling with the pressing of Liverpool. Clark doesn’t suit the role in the middle of a back three. On one occasion, he gifted possession to them from a goal kick and was lucky not to be punished!
Dummett – 6 – He was the best performer in the back three, but that isn’t saying much. There was a great tackle on Mo Salah that was typical of Dummett. His pass success rate of 86.7% shows that he is becoming more reliable in possession.
Ritchie – 6 – It isn’t a coincidence that his return to the team has led to an improvement in energy levels. He demands a lot from his teammates. However, he is still weak defensively and could have done more to stop Mo Salah getting a strike on goal. That aside, he was tidy in possession and offered a good outlet.
Shelvey – 6 – In the second half, he was moved back to centre back, which was an incredibly strange move. His passing was good today, but he continues to struggle without the ball. In the first half, he could and should have had an assist after playing Sean Longstaff in with an excellent ball.
S Longstaff – 7 – It was an energetic display from the midfielder, as he offered support in both halves of the pitch. He made five tackles and two interceptions, while his movement was good to offer an option to teammates. Longstaff will be disappointed that he didn’t score in the first half.
Almiron – 5 – This one was a match to forget for Almiron. He wasn’t as effective as usual and he lost possession often. In the first half, he got in the way when Joelinton was through on goal. He ran his socks off, but on the ball, it wasn’t his best day.
Saint-Maximin – 8 – There are no words to describe the Frenchman, as he is now one of the most dangerous players in the Premier League. He completed eight dribbles and caused chaos every time he got on the ball. In the first half, he was let down by those in front of him when he created some great openings. He may have lost possession 25 times, but the risk is worth the reward at the moment. They couldn’t handle him.
Joelinton – 5 – Like Almiron, it wasn’t the best day at the office for Joelinton. His movement was good, but his first touch let him down on a couple of occasions. The lack of communication with Almiron led to the breakdown of a good chance. It is encouraging that he is getting into the right positions though. It was great play in the lead up to his saved shot. The finish wasn’t the best though.
Wilson – 6.5 – It was a pleasing cameo performance for the striker, as he works his way back to full fitness. His movement was excellent and he was unfortunate to see his goal disallowed.
Willock – 7 – We simply have to sign him. Willock has huge potential and his movement means he will always carry a threat. He nearly scored from a header just before he did finish smartly to equalise.
Gayle – 6 – He didn’t do much, but his header to set up the winner was excellent centre forward play.