Premier League

Newcastle 0-1 Liverpool: Player ratings as Reds beat Magpies

Graeme Bailey
Naby Keita fires home for Liverpool
Naby Keita fires home for Liverpool / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages
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FROM ST JAMES' PARK - Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League table as they sealed a 1-0 win over Newcastle United.

Naby Keita's goal midway through the first-half was enough to give the visitors the win, although in truth the margin of victory could, and should, have been much greater.

The win was enough to move Liverpool above title rivals Manchester City - albeit possibly only for a few hours as Pep Guardiola's men face Leeds United later on Saturday.

Eddie Howe will be left disappointed as his side tasted home defeat for the first time this year, but he will also know that Jurgen Klopp's quadruple chasers were just too good for them on the day and deserved the win.

Liverpool had started brightly with Diogo Jota, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk all seeing efforts wide in the opening ten minutes.

Newcastle did not heed the early warning signs and were behind after 20 minutes. James Milner beat Fabian Schar to a challenge in midfield, the Swiss stopper and the majority of the capacity crowd wanted the foul but Andre Marriner rightly allowed Liverpool to played on.

The ball broke to Keita on the right of the box, he swept inside the area taking it beyond Martin Dubravka before firing home.

Liverpool's dominance continued for the rest of the half and they should have doubled their ten minutes before the break. A sweeping counter attack saw Keita feed Luis Diaz and his no-look pass for Mane was sublime but the Senegal star could only fire at Dubravka.

Dubravka was then called into duty again to tip over a towering header from Jota as Jordan Henderson found him with a brilliant cross. The resulting corner then fell for former Newcastle man Milner on the edge of the box but he could only volley wide when he should have at least hit the target.

Miguel Almiron did put the ball in the next before half-time, but just as he wheeled away in celebration the flag was rightfully raised and that was as good as it got in the opening 45 minutes for the home side.

Newcastle began the second half better, but still found it all too hard to breakdown the Liverpool midfield and defence.

On the hour and again Liverpool missed a great chance to double their lead as Joe Gomez did well down the right to find Mane in the box, but from just ten-yards out he fired wide.

Klopp had seen enough from Mane and brought on Mohamed Salah to replace him, and he injected more urgency in to their play.

Not long after and Jota missed a great chance to score as he broke clear but could only fire at Dubravka, who was becoming increasingly busier.

But with the score still just at 1-0, Newcastle were still in the game and they had a great chance when Allan Saint-Maximin broke and looked to play substitute Chris Wood through on goal - but the New Zealander strayed offside at the crucial moment.

Dubravka continued to deny Liverpool at the other end, first Jota then Diaz, but the game was still not done and dusted.

Bruno Guimaraes had a great chance to level for the home side on 87 minutes as he picked up the ball on the edge of the box but could only find his international teammate Alisson and that proved to be Newcastle's last hope of taking anything from the game as Liverpool took the victory.

How the players rated at St James' Park...


Newcastle United vs Liverpool player ratings

1. Newcastle United (4-3-3)

Bruno Guimaraes, James Milner
Guimaraes fought hard / Stu Forster/GettyImages


GK: Martin Dubravka - 7/10 - Some very good saves and couldn't do much with the goal. Kept the score down late on.

RB: Emil Krath- 7/10 - Battled and did well defensively against Sadio Mane.

CB: Fabian Schar - 5/10 - Beaten by Milner in the tackle that led to Keita's goal - should have done better. Taken off.

CB: Dan Burn - 7/10 - Another very solid performance from the January signing, coped with Jota very well.

LB: Matt Targett - 7/10 - Some big tackles, stuck to his task.

CM: Jonjo Shelvey (C) - 5/10 - Didn't see the ball as much as he would like and caught out by the counter attacks too often.

CM: Joe Willock - 5/10 - Barely involved at times, game passed him by a bitt too easily.

CM: Bruno Guimaraes - 7/10 - A class act that is for sure, doesn't waste possession and gets stuck in.

RW: Miguel Almiron - 6/10 - Worked hard for the team but didn't see too much of the ball in the final third.

CF: Allan Saint-Maximin - 4/10 - Such a frustrating player, often too busy wasting his time moaning about a decision in trying to work for the team. When he did see the ball, did very little with it.

LW: Joelinton - 6/10 - Struggled to get involved but was always willing to track back and work, unlike some.

SUB: Jamaal Lascelles (60' for Schar) - 5/10 - Solid enough did nothing wrong.

SUB: Chris Wood (67' for Willock) - 4/10 - Offered little when he came on.

SUB: Jacob Murphy (85' for Krafth) - N/A


2. Liverpool (4-3-3)

Naby Keita, Luis Diaz
Keita was the hero / Stu Forster/GettyImages


GK: Alisson - 7/10 - Like with a lot of games had little do, but did what he needed to well.

RB: Joe Gomez - 7/10 - Not a full-back but performed well - especially getting forward whenever he could. Barely gave Saint-Maximin a touch.

CB: Virgil van Dijk - 8/10 - Talk about playing with a cigar in your mouth. Van Dijk could have played in flip-flops and been just as good as he commanded the Reds back-line.

CB: Joel Matip - 7/10 - Just as dominant as his central defensive partner. Rarely troubled.

LB: Andrew Robertson - 6/10 - Did not get forward as much as he sometimes does, but rarely troubled.

CM: James Milner - 7/10 - Wonderful tackle to help create Keita goal. Didn't put a foot wrong.

CM: Naby Keita - 9/10 - Hard to think of a better game Keita has ever played for Liverpool - brilliant goal, but was all over the pitch. Gives Jurgen Klopp something to think about in the next few weeks.

CM: Jordan Henderson (C) - 8/10 - Looked like the England star he still is, up spaying passes around at will. Newcastle could not stop him playing.

RW: Luis Diaz - 7/10 - Constant threat, didn't see too much of the ball but broke with pace and purpose whenever he saw the ball.

ST: Diogo Jota - 6/10 - Will argue that he did not receive much support or service, but one of his quieter games.

LW: Sadio Mane - 5/10 - Struggled to get involved and missed one great chance in the first half.

SUB: Mo Salah (67' for Mane) - N/A

SUB: Fabinho (67' for Henderson) - N/A

SUB: Thiago (81' for Milner) - N/A



Follow our Transfer Correspondent Graeme Bailey on his 90min.com page or on his Twitter page

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