Trent-Alexander Arnold screamer caps Liverpool comeback win over spirited Newcastle

“The turning point is an obvious one,” said Howe. “I can’t understand why Mike Dean did not stop the game. I expected the game to be stopped. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The priority has to be the safety of the player. I thought we have been harshly treated. It made it very difficult from that moment.”

Howe added that in the moments following the incident, Hayden was dazed and ‘did not look in a good place’, which begged the question how and why he stayed on the pitch for the next 69 minutes. 

Newcastle also had themselves to blame for what happened next, Howe disingenuous to ignore Shelvey’s critical role in Liverpool’s second which was scored by Salah after a sloppy backpass sent Mane one-on-one with Dubravka. Salah dashed onto the rebound to give Liverpool the lead and prompt a ceaseless attacking surge which Newcastle did well to survive until half-time. 

For the 15th consecutive Premier League game, Salah has either scored or created a goal, matching Jamie Vardy’s record.

He and Liverpool were not at their optimum best, yet even when searching for top gear they provide the Kop with glorious memories. They could easily have scored another three. It’s a measure of what this side is achieving that you might not even rank this victory among their top half-dozen performances this season. There were, however, mitigating circumstances for that given the morning Covid tests, Curtis Jones joining Van Dijk and Fabinho in isolation.

“We will see now how it develops. This virus has been around us for so long that it is not likely it will stay at three,” said Klopp.

In cold analysis, Howe should find some encouragement in defeat. His side was ultimately outclassed but not embarrassed and had they been awarded a penalty when Alexander-Arnold was forced into a last-ditch lunge to deny Ryan Fraser it would have needed forensic Var analysis to overturn the decision. 

But he desperately needs wins now. Liverpool had far more stamina and quality in the final stages, buoyed by the return of Roberto Firmino and a Premier League summit which has a familiar look.

As news swiftly filtered through of ex-Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez securing a point at Stamford Bridge, the prospect of another duel between Klopp and Pep Guardiola took shape.

Now it’s up to Chelsea to stay on Liverpool and City’s coattails.

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