Liverpool survived a slight scare from Newcastle United as they came from behind to beat the Magpies 3-1 at Anfield in the Premier League on Saturday to maintain their perfect start to the season.
Jetro Willems had put Newcastle ahead with a seventh-minute strike, but Sadio Mane scored in the 28th and 40th minutes to give Liverpool a 2-1 lead going into the break. Mohamed Salah then found the back of the net in the 71st minute to end the game as a contest.
During his pre-match press conference on Friday, Jurgen Klopp had said he didn’t expect the international break to affect his side’s intensity and he introduced Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Divock Origi in place of Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino respectively, but as much as they started with their usual high press, it looked as though they wouldn’t be able to sustain their usual high tempo as Newcastle struck within the opening seven minutes.
Willems was on hand to finish his beautiful individual effort with a superb strike from inside the box, leaving Adrian as just a bystander as the ball flew into the top right corner, putting Liverpool in the deficit after only seven minutes.
That was a goal that shocked the Reds, and drew them out into pressing Newcastle higher, depriving them of space and time on the ball. They were soon on the front foot, in their usual style, with Chamberlain and Alexander Arnold both getting half chances, even though none ended in the back of the Newcastle goal.
But the Reds would find the back of the net when Andy Robertson provided Mane with a nice pass inside the box which allowed the Senegal international to finish with a precise effort into the top right corner. The European champions were back in the game after 28 minutes.
In a game like this, it would always be something to get Newcastle on the ball and even they must know that and with Liverpool back in contention, they continued putting the Magpies under pressure as they searched for a goal that will give them the lead. But shortly afterward, Origi would be taken off injured and replaced by Firmino, whom he started ahead of in the first place.
Five minutes before the break, Liverpool would take the lead when Mane burst into the box after a great solo run and got one-on-one with the keeper, who he neatly sidestepped and rolled the ball into an empty net. Wonderful effort and they were up 2-1.
But then a very rare chance came Newcastle’s way in the 55th minute when Emil Krafth made some space to meet a perfect cross inside the box, but he blazed his shot over the bar. High, wide and not at all pretty.
In truth, the Magpies should be taking advantage of such opportunities as they were so rare for them in the game that you had to even wonder how their goal came about.
And in the 72nd minute, the Reds increased their advantage when Salah received a precise pass inside the box from Firmino and he beat the goalkeeper with a neat finish into the bottom right corner. 3-1.
Just when you thought the game was done, Liverpool went close, forcing Martin Dubravka to make a great save to deny Salah, who made himself some space inside the box and unleashed a quick low drive to the bottom right corner.
The win means Liverpool remain top of the Premier League table with maximum points from five games.