Alexander-Arnold tops player ratings in Liverpool victory over Newcastle

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Liverpool are back within a single point of Manchester City in the Premier League table after defeating Newcastle 3-1 at Anfield on Thursday evening, becoming the first English club to hit 2,000 top-flight wins.

As COVID-19 outbreaks across the Premier League have caused a slew of match postponements this week, Anfield was bizarrely quiet throughout the match with what one can only assume is the fans’ fears that more cancellations are ahead.

Though the match proceeded as scheduled, the Liverpool starting XI did not make it unscathed, with two key players in Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho out after the two returned positive tests on Thursday. It wasn’t long before their defensive absence was noted, with Newcastle taking a quick 1-0 lead on their first attack with the help of a poor clearance attempt from Thiago Alcantara. The Reds’ hadn’t conceded a goal at Anfield since October 30.

Luckily, Liverpool’s time trailing was short-lived. Just 14 minutes later, Diogo Jota and Mo Salah scored within four minutes of each other to equalize and take the lead, respectively. With the go-ahead goal, Salah has now provided or assisted a goal in 15 consecutive Premier League appearances. A late wonder goal from Trent Alexander-Arnold secured the victory for the Reds.

Though it wasn’t the smoothest Liverpool performance by far, it luckily didn’t need to be. If all goes as scheduled, next up for the Reds is a trip to north London to face Tottenham on Saturday.

 

GK/Defensemen

Allison – 6

Though more of the concession blame falls to Thiago, Allison was rooted in place on Jonjo Shelvey’s opener. He registered a decent save on an attempt from Saint-Maximin a bit later on and was basically a passive bystander for the second half.

 

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 9 (Man of the Match)

Alexander-Arnold was absolutely vital on both sides of the ball following halftime. He took the risk to tackle in a one-on-one duel with Ryan Fraser for a cross just inside the penalty box in front of a lone Allison, successfully stopping a huge opportunity for an equalizer for the Magpies in the second half. With just a few minutes left to play, the Scouser drilled an absolute rocket into the top corner above Martin Dubravka to secure the Reds’ victory. The 23-year-old defenseman also continued to set up opportunities for his teammates, becoming the first player in the top flight to create 100+ chances in 2021.

 

Joel Matip – 8

Matip had what can be described as a quietly stellar performance. The center back led the Reds with a 92% pass accuracy including 5 of 6 long balls completed, helping fortify a backline that looked extremely shaky to start the evening. Matip’s three tackles and three of four ground duels won were a huge factor in keeping Newcastle’s attacks far from Allison.

 

Ibrahima Konaté – 8

Konaté was tasked with the unenviable job of keeping Allan Saint-Maximin contained and filling the enormous shoes of the sidelined Virgil van Dijk. Frankly, Konaté was the man of the match before Alexander-Arnold stole the title with the late goal.

 

Andy Robertson – 6

Robertson struggled to find opportunities for his signature bursts into enemy territory against Newcastle, with his heatmap almost completely concentrated by the centerline. With some sloppy passing partially to blame, it was a rather uneventful match for the Scotsman.

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