Newcastle United 1-2 Liverpool: Núñez brace rescues three points for Liverpool after Van Dijk dismissal

Looking to build upon the positive momentum from last weekend’s 3-1 win against Bournemouth, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool headed north on Sunday. They’d face Newcastle United, who were narrowly defeated by Manchester City last time out – despite registering an impressive victory against Aston Villa on the opening day.

NEW: Pope; Burn, Boatman, Schär, Trippier; Joelinton, Guimarães, Tonali; Gordon, Isak, Almirón

LIV: Alisson; Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold; Mac Allister, Endo, Szoboszlai; Diaz, Gakpo, Salah

This clash of two titans in the North East was full of action from the offset, with Trent Alexander-Arnold lucky to remain on the pitch after receiving a yellow card for throwing the ball away. John Brooks opted not to show the right-back a second yellow card just a minute later, as he thrust an arm into the face of Anthony Gordon in a desperate bid to bring the winger’s marauding run to an end.

But the first real chances would begin to appear after fifteen minutes or so, with an impromptu game of pinball inside the penalty area allowed Joelinton to thunder a shot towards goal – though his compatriot goalkeeper was able to palm away with ease. Nick Pope would also be put to work at the other end of the pitch though, with Luis Diaz’s sensational run towards goal culminating in the ‘keeper pushing his effort around the post for a corner.

It was on 25 minutes that Anthony Gordon found the breakthrough for the hosts, having left Liverpool’s local rivals last year to swap Goodison for St James’. A horrific mistake from Trent Alexander-Arnold allowed the forward to dash towards goal, slotting a right-footed effort through Alisson’s legs to cue euphoric scenes amongst the home support.

Yet somehow bad would turn to worse for Jurgen Klopp’s side merely three minutes later, as Virgil Van Dijk was shown a controversial red card for a reckless challenge on Alexander Isak. With the Swedish striker seemingly through on goal, the Dutchman clattered through his legs from behind to win possession – and the referee was quick to dismiss the defender.

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Newcastle United should have doubled their lead with ten minutes of the first half remaining, as Kieran Trippier’s short corner was ultimately whipped towards the back post. A half-clearance allowed Miguel Almirón to thump a volleyed strike towards the top-right corner, with Alisson forced into a magnificent save to tip the ball onto the crossbar before hoofing the rebound away from danger.

The chances continued to flow for Eddie Howe’s side in the second half, as Sandro Tonali worked his way into a pocket of space before driving past Trent Alexander-Arnold and delivering a cross towards the far post. Miguel Almirón’s first-time strike was powered well over the crossbar, squandering a golden opportunity to extend the advantage.

But as the hour-mark rolled around, Jurgen Klopp’s side began to benefit from a visibly increased morale. Diogo Jota’s progress on the left flank allowed the Portuguese winger to thread a through ball inside for Mo Salah – but the Egyptian’s run was halted by a superb block from Sven Botman inside the area.

Further advances into the penalty area failed to bear fruit, until Darwin Núñez found a way to restore parity with Liverpool’s first shot on target since Virgil Van Dijk’s early dismissal. Sven Botman will be shooting himself in the foot, as a ricocheting ball allowed the Uruguayan striker to dart into the box and dispatch a low effort into the bottom corner with nine minutes of regulation time remaining.

And in stoppage time, the forward cemented himself as a Merseyside hero – latching onto Mo Salah’s pass on the right flank, taking his time as he progressed into the box before poking an effort into the far corner past a despairing Nick Pope to net his second goal of the game.

Despite finding themselves reduced to ten men for more than an hour, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool were able to rescue three points against an ever-impressive Newcastle United side. Now sitting in the top four, the Reds will look to build upon this result with another win against Aston Villa on Sunday – while Eddie Howe’s side will travel to Brighton on Saturday.

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