Darwin Nunez came off the bench to score twice in the final 10 minutes as 10-man Liverpool came from a goal down to stun Newcastle 2-1 at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
Anthony Gordon had pounced on a Trent Alexander-Arnold mistake to put the Magpies in front before Virgil van Dijk was sent off for bringing down Alexander Isak inside half an hour.
But Newcastle failed to make the man advantage count and were punished when Nunez produced two moments of quality rare so far in his Liverpool career to turn the game on its head.
Liverpool spent a club-record £85 million on Nunez just over a year ago, but the Uruguayan has found himself behind Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo in the battle to be Jurgen Klopp’s preferred number nine early in the season
Nunez was unleashed from the bench 13 minutes from time and made the most of his opportunity as he was twice released behind the Newcastle defence and both times kept his nerve to fire low and hard beyond Nick Pope.
Victory keeps Liverpool two points behind leaders Manchester City and lays down an early-season marker after Newcastle usurped the Reds to secure Champions League football last season.
Liverpool were lucky not to be a man down after just six minutes.
Alexander-Arnold had already been booked for throwing the ball away when he pulled down Gordon as the Newcastle man tore down the left wing.
But to the astonishment of the home crowd and Newcastle bench, referee John Brooks did not produce a second yellow card.
Joe Gomez was sent out by Klopp to warm up with one eye on replacing Alexander-Arnold to keep him out of further trouble.
The Liverpool boss might have wished he had made that change as Alexander-Arnold’s failure to control Mohamed Salah’s pass allowed Gordon to run clear on goal and score just his second Newcastle goal since a £45 million move from Everton in January.
Things went from bad to worse for the Reds when Brooks did produce a red card, Van Dijk’s first of his Liverpool career on 28 minutes.
The Liverpool captain was deemed to have denied a clear goalscoring opportunity when he kicked through Isak on the edge of the area.
Only some brilliance from Alisson Becker kept Liverpool in the game before half-time as the Brazilian turned Miguel Almiron’s fiercely struck volley onto the crossbar.
Almiron came even closer after the break as some mesmeric wing play scythed through the Liverpool defence, only for his shot to come back off the post.
Newcastle were made to pay for not adding to their lead in an incredible finale.
Sven Botman failed to deal with Jota’s ball forward and Nunez drilled a shot into the far corner nine minutes from time.
Salah had been kept largely quiet in the week he was linked with joining the stars leaving European football for Saudi Arabia.
But the Egyptian produced three minutes into stoppage time when his pass put Nunez in the clear once more to deliver the most telling goal of his Liverpool career to date.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)