‘Genius’ Klopp praised as Liverpool man ‘never put a foot wrong’ to help ‘wreck’ Newcastle’s week

Jason Soutar
Joe Gomez competes in an aerial duel with Alexander Isak.
Joe Gomez competes in an aerial duel with Alexander Isak.

Joe Gomez “never put a foot wrong” for Liverpool in their dramatic 2-1 win against Newcastle United on Sunday, according to Garth Crooks.

Darwin Nunez struck in the 82nd and 93rd minute to hand 10-man Liverpool a shock comeback victory at St James’ Park.

Before being reduced to ten for Virgil van Dijk’s 28th-minute challenge on Alexander Isak, Trent Alexander-Arnold was very fortunate not to be shown a second yellow card very early on.

It was Trent who was at fault for Anthony Gordon’s goal, failing to control a simple pass to him, which allowed the England Under-21 winger to put Newcastle ahead.

Gomez was the man who came on for Van Dijk and there has not been a lot said about his performance in very difficult circumstances.

It has been a difficult year or two at Anfield for the 26-year-old, who only featured in two of Liverpool’s final 16 Premier League fixtures last season.

He might have just made a strong case for a big role in Jurgen Klopp’s team this term with a solid performance against the Magpies, however.

FEATURE: Arsenal keeper, Liverpool defender feature in Premier League weekend’s worst XI…

One pundit who was impressed with Gomez was Crooks, who was surprisingly level-headed in his BBC Team of the Week column. Maybe it’s because Granit Xhaka has left the country.

Crooks says Klopp’s tactical tweaks were “genius” and was high in praise of Gomez, who “never put a foot wrong”.

“The tactical changes made by Jurgen Klopp and his backroom staff after Virgil van Dijk’s dismissal were nothing short of genius,” he said.

“Gomez replaced Luis Diaz, who naturally felt aggrieved by the substitution, and was later joined by Harvey Elliott, Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez and Jarell Quansah to take up the fight and try to salvage a point from the game.

“Well, they did more than that – they won it.

“Gomez, who has blown hot and cold in recent seasons, took Van Dijk’s central defensive position after 33 minutes and never put a foot wrong.

“The victory by Liverpool, while devastating to Newcastle, may prove the turning point the Reds have been desperately searching for.”

As well as Gomez, Nunez and Alisson were included in Crooks’ Team of the Week.

On Alisson, he said: “The Brazilian goalkeeper made seven saves against the Magpies, a personal record in the Premier League – his best coming from a Miguel Almiron shot which he somehow pushed on to the bar.

“Alphonse Areola was brilliant for West Ham against Brighton and would have made my team under normal circumstances, but what Liverpool achieved at St James’ Park was extraordinary – and that is why Alisson makes my team.”

And Crooks thinks Nunez will have “ruined” Newcastle’s “entire week” with his match-winning display.

“What a performance by Liverpool at Newcastle, whose boss Eddie Howe looked shell-shocked,” he added.

“There seemed to be no way back for Liverpool with just 10 men on the field and 1-0 down.

“Only substitute Nunez and possibly boss Klopp thought there may have been the faintest chance of snatching a point – but in scoring both his side’s goals, what the striker did was stunning.

“I have doubted this lad for some time but it seemed the perilous situation Liverpool found themselves in galvanised everyone associated with the club.

“Once Nunez equalised, he seemed like a man possessed and desperate to wreck Newcastle’s day. He’s ruined their entire week with his match-winning display.”

READ MORE: 16 Conclusions on Newcastle 1-2 Liverpool: Nunez, Gordon, Alexander-Arnold, Howe, Van Dijk and…