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English Premier League

Naby Keita proves Liverpool depth with dazzling display as Newcastle man stands out



Liverpool moved top of the Premier League ahead of Manchester City’s trip to Leeds United thanks to a 1-0 win against Newcastle at St James’ Park.

After a hectic opening to the game, the away side settled and Naby Keita – one of five changes for the Reds – got what proved to be the winner. Indeed, the Guinea international was one of the best players throughout the game.

Miguel Almiron thought he had levelled after rounding Alisson Becker, but the offside flag denied him.

In the second half, Newcastle pushed forward to try and get their equaliser, but Liverpool stood firm to keep hold of all three points.

Newcastle’s defence was resolute for portions of the game, despite the defeat. Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka was the standout as he made a number of important saves.

Still, Liverpool missed a number of chances to increase their advantage.


Martin Dubravka: Got done by Keita’s feint in the build-up to the goal and could not make a save, but recovered to save a Sadio Mane effort later in the first half. Put himself about well in the second half to make further saves to stop Liverpool scoring any more. 8.

Emil Krafth: Got himself on the line but could not stop Keita’s opener from close range. Either side of that, made several important headers away and interceptions. Struggled to keep Diaz at bay in the second half. 5.

Fabian Schar: Felt he was fouled in the build-up to Keita’s goal, but showed similarly good commitment to his defence in the first half. Came off with an injury early in the second half. 5.

Dan Burn: Made a number of good tackles and headers but was alongside Krafth on the line for Keita’s strike and could have stuck a leg out. More good defending in the second half. 6.

Matt Targett: Had a mixed time of his time marking Luis Diaz and Joe Gomez on Liverpool‘s right and the opening goal came on his side, with Keita and Diogo Jota combining. Made a fantastic last-ditch tackle to stop Mohamed Salah scoring amid a solid second half. 5.

Matt Targett, Luis Diaz Newcastle v Liverpool April 2022

Bruno Guimaraes: Took his time to get into the game, but grew into it. However, he struggled to create in attack and instead had to defend for most of the first half. Showed much more creativity in the second half, but Newcastle struggled with their end product. 6.

Jonjo Shelvey: Largely ineffective for Newcastle in the first half and struggled to get a hold of Liverpool’s midfield. Much better after the break, pressing and making tackles to help get the hosts forward. 5.

Joe Willock: Quiet first half and struggled to create much in attack. Much better in the second half but came off midway through as Eddie Howe sought a direct goal threat in Chris Wood. 4.

Miguel Almiron: Thought he levelled after doing excellently to get round Alisson Becker, who has a great record in one-on-one situations. However, his offside run to start with let him down. Failed to create much after the break. 4.

Joelinton: Arguably Newcastle’s most lively player in attack in the first half, setting up and linking the hosts’ attacks but also conceding some fouls. Could not find any end product in the second half. 4.

Allan Saint-Maximin: Played in a good cross inside the first minute, but that was his best contribution of the first half. The other notable one was a shot which dribbled harmlessly wide. Lively in the second half but did not create much. 4.


Jamaal Lascelles (on for Schar, 61): Defended well when needed to stop Liverpool scoring a second. 5.

Chris Wood (on for Willock, 67): Received very little service, despite balls into the box being the tall striker’s bread and butter. Struggled to contribute to attacks elsewhere. 4.

Jacob Murphy (on for Krafth, 85): Struggled to get into the game in the final stages with Newcastle seeking the equaliser. 3.


Alisson Becker: Came off his line well to clear with Allan Saint-Maximin chasing a ball over the top, but failed to get the better of Almiron in the one-on-one. Did what he had to do in the second half as he kept a clean sheet. 7.

Joe Gomez: Impressed defensively to stop Joelinton and Saint-Maximin, but his crosses at the other end could have been better. Much better in the second half and Mane should have put one of the right-back’s passes away. 6.

Joel Matip: Made some important defensive contributions to keep Newcastle at bay. Continued to control Joelinton and Saint-Maximin after the break. 7.

Virgil van Dijk: Had a lot of the ball in the first half and his long passing up to the front three was poor overall. But, he made up for it with a solid defensive display. 8.

Andy Robertson: His passing could have been better, but he made good runs forward and defended when needed. Lively down the left in attack and defence to keep the Liverpool momentum up towards the end. 7.

James Milner: All-action for Liverpool in the first half, including three tackles in the first five minutes. Won the ball first in the tackle with Schar in the build-up to Keita’s opener. Continued in that vein in the second half. 7.

Jordan Henderson: Kept the away side ticking over in midfield and he could be heard barking his orders as captain. Solid in the second half before coming off. 7.

Naby Keita, Martin Dubravka Newcastle v Liverpool April 2022

Naby Keita: Liverpool’s best player in the first half. Should have crossed to Robertson on a counter-attack early on but chose to shoot. However, his one-two with Jota caught Newcastle out and he showed brilliant composure to delay his shot and eventually score. Continued to combine well with Diaz and Mane before half time and was solid in the second half. 8.

Diogo Jota: Shot wide from a corner early on and that was his only real first-half chance. Nevertheless, he got the assist for Keita’s goal and pressed Newcastle’s defence well. Failed to put away a few chances in the second half, with Dubravka standing firm. 6.

Sadio Mane: Played through the middle again and linked attack and defence well with tackles and passes. Should have done better with a shot on a counter-attack in the first period. Should have scored with a great second-half chance before getting a yellow card and coming off. 5.

Luis Diaz: Lively down Liverpool’s right and caused Targett and Newcastle’s defence problems. Gave Newcastle problems with his runs from out wide in the second half, but his end product was actually poor. 5.


Fabinho (on for Henderson, 69): Kept Liverpool ticking over in the second half to maintain the 1-0 lead. 5.

Mohamed Salah (on for Mane, 69): Headed over shortly after coming on and failed to get any clear-cut chances. 4.

Thiago Alcantara (on for Milner, 78): Had a lot of the ball going forwards, but his end product was poor. 4.


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