A 4-2 scoreline absolutely flatters the hapless visitors, as Liverpool kick the blood money barcodes from pillar to post at Anfield, sending a floundering Newcastle side deeper into the mid-table mud.
Exactly how good were the Reds and how many goals should they have won by? Join us below the line to find out as we take a look at some of the winners, losers and narratives on the night.
Absolute Dominance: It’s an odd thing to say in a game where they put four past the keeper but we have the stats to back it up: Liverpool should have scored more. The Reds were dominant to an outrageous degree tonight, getting over 60 touches in the Newcastle box, racking up 34 shots to Newcastle’s five, forcing double digit saves out of martin Dubravka, missing a penalty, hitting the post, having a score chalked off for offside, and accumulating a world record 7.5 expected goals over the course of the 90 minutes.
Newcastle have had a rough go of it recently, losing seven of their last eight, but Eddie Howe’s men did play Champions League football this season, having qualified after a legitimately impressive year in the Premier League, and Liverpool made them look like they had never faced a top tier team before.
The attacking firepower at Jürgen Klopp’s disposal was the main reason some fans were willing to place Liverpool in title contention this season and the ability to bring excellent attackers onto the pitch due to the depth of talent at the position has proven critical time and again, as subs make game winning contribution on a weekly basis for the Reds.
Egyptian Prince: Mohamed Salah scored his 150th Premier league goal for Liverpool tonight, making him only the fifth ever player to reach that tally for a single club in the competition. He scored a second as well, and set up Cody Gakpo for the third goal, which puts him at the top of the list for both goals and assists in the league this year.
It’s an outrageous run of form for the man who signed a new contract amid furious speculation this summer, and there can be no doubt that deal was money well spent by the club, as Salah has developed from being the final piece of the puzzle when he arrived into the team six years ago, to being the best player in the side and the one everything revolves around in the attacking third.
The only drawback to having such a supremely dominant player in the squad is that Salah will now miss the next seven games for the Reds, as he travels to the Ivory Coast to join up with the Egyptian national team for the African Cup of Nations, and it will be interesting to see how Klopp deals with the absence of his star player.
The Slingshot: Begging for Darwin Núñez to have a four-goal game now. The Uruguayan does everything right, including setting up his teammates for tap-ins, but he just can’t get his finishing to stick. Exactly what needs to happen for the former Benfica man to acheive some consistency in front of goal is hard to say, but if he could manage it while Salah is away that would be wonderful.
The Hamstrings: Dominik Szoboszlai was holding his hamstring when he was subbed off for Ryan Gravenberch tonight, and while his performance levels have dropped from near transcendental to merely very good over the course of the season, he’s still a critical part of Liverpool’s press and chance creation, so we’re hopeful any potential injury proves to be only short-term.
The Standard of Officiating: While Anthony Taylor did call two penalties in favour of the home side tonight — with the first being of the softer variety —he still had another dreadful game in a career full of dreadful games. Terrified of sending anyone off — Joelinton had racked up four bookable offenses and three professional fouls before he was finally given a yellow card well into the second half — but freely dishing out cards for barely kicking the ball away, and handing out soft free kick after soft free kick to the defending team under pressure, the Manchester man rightly drew the ire from both Klopp and Kop and if we never see that man at Anfield again it will be too soon.
What Happens Next
It’s a bit of a cup bonanza coming up, as Liverpool travel to London to take on Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday, before they host Fulham for the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday.
The Reds won’t play another league match until they travel to in-form Bournemouth on January 21st, and as such — depending on how seriously you take their chances at Premier League gold and how highly you rate the domestic cups — it’s a chance to try and get players right and rested before the second half of the league season begins in earnest.