Before this game, I was predicting a blowout. No particular reason to think that, except that Liverpool failed to beat West Brom in a somewhat miraculous (for the visitors) fashion a few days ago, and it felt like the Reds would respond to that in convincing fashion. And in a way, Liverpool did; the number and quality of chances they created today was outrageous, but somehow, the balls just didn’t go in, as if under a dark spell.
Somebody better go back to Selhurst Park and find those finishing shoes and bring them back to Kirkby.
Yes, luck played a role. Yes, Karl Darlow did well, but in all honesty, he shouldn’t have been given the chance to do so, and from the look of him as he was puffing his cheeks towards the very end, he knew it too. For Salah to miss the chances that he did today requires more than just having a bad day, and I suspect that it is going to have a further negative effect on his confidence following his horrendous miss of a sitting header over this past weekend. Bobby’s misses were maybe a tad more elaborate, but he, too, failed to convert a routine headed chance that he could normally hit looking the other way. And so it went, with even Robbo joining the missing party by bungling a golden opportunity in the box that, in a reversal of roles, was delivered to him by Mane.
At least in Robbo’s case, one can’t be particularly upset.
And so, as is always the case in these sorts of games, if you don’t score, you are liable to get bit, and Liverpool almost did. It took an incredible reflex save by Alisson to keep the Magpies from causing a magnitude five earthquake at St. James’ Park. Newcastle also repeatedly tried to, in particular, get Nat Phillips into trouble, and on occasion they succeeded, but Alisson played the sweeper part of his role highly effectively throughout the game. For that, and for his ability to otherwise keep such composure under the danger of a random error costing big (as evidenced by three out of Liverpool’s back four being cautioned), I am awarding him my man-of-the-match.
This game should easily have wrapped up with a five-nil scoreline, and nearly did. Instead it almost ended up, uhh, nil-one.
Seeing Thiago make an appearance towards the end was, at least, one positive takeaway. I’m looking forward to seeing him add his creativity to the machine moving forward. So… when is Jota coming back again?