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More of a Newcastle defeat than a Liverpool win?



More of a Newcastle defeat than a Liverpool win?

Jurgen Klopp was beaming at the final whistle, going so far as to describe this comeback as tougher than the one against Barcelona in the Champions League. Maybe, but Liverpool's 2-1 win over Newcastle United was just as much about the home team throwing it away as it was the Reds clawing it back. When you're 1-0 up, play more than an hour against 10 men at home and end up losing, it can't just be because you're opponent was good. It has to be some combination of bad luck and bad performance.

They played a part in each of Darwin Núñez's late goals. On the first one, Newcastle were unlucky that, after hitting Dan Burn's backside, the ball stood up nicely Nunez to take and score. On the second, you simply can't away the ball the way Bruno Guimarães did or fail to shut Mohamed Salah down in that position.

It's true that Liverpool made some of their luck by not giving up on pressing (albeit intermittently) when down a man, especially after Harvey Elliott and Diogo Jota came on. But it's equally true that Alisson had to make some exceptional saves and Miguel Almirón could have had a hat trick.

For Eddie Howe, this is clearly a teachable moment.

As for Klopp? Once the euphoria subsides, he'll have plenty to work on, especially -- once again -- at the back. Without the injured Ibrahima Konaté, the back four looks substantially worse. Virgil Van Dijk completely mistimed his tackle on Alexander Isak and was rightly sent off. That can't happen from your leader. But it's not just on him: it looks as if he's late because he's distracted by the fact that Andy Robertson did not adequately track Sandro Tonali's run to his left.

As for Alexander-Arnold, acres of newsprint have been devoted to his defensive deficiencies. He hit the trifecta at St James' on Sunday: he picked up a silly booking for throwing the ball away, he should have been sent off for needlessly pulling back Anthony Gordon (if you've already been booked, that's only a foul you commit if there's a legitimate goal threat) and, of course, it was his mistake that sent Gordon through for Newcastle's goal.

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