3 things Jurgen Klopp got right as Liverpool beat 10-man Newcastle to go eighth
Liverpool completed a league double over Newcastle United with a 2-0 win at St. James' Park on Saturday evening.
First half goals from Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo helped Jurgen Klopp's side to a comfortable victory on Tyneside, which saw the Reds climb to eighth in the Premier League. Liverpool are now just six points off Newcastle and the Champions League places after beating the 10-man Magpies.
Klopp's team selection proved pivotal as his side picked up all three points, with Virgil van Dijk returning and the front three impressing in a clinical display. With that in mind, here are the three thing's Klopp got right at St. James' Park.
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Virgil van Dijk’s return
Virgil van Dijk returned to the Liverpool starting line-up after more than a month out followed a hamstring injury he suffered against Brentford at the start of January.
The Dutch defender produced an imposing performance alongside Joe Gomez after coming in for Joel Matip, having been on the bench for Monday’s win over Everton.
Van Dijk had missed seven matches as a result of the injury but showed no rustiness in the Liverpool defence as the Reds coped with Newcastle’s strong threat from set pieces throughout the match.
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Front three on form
Klopp's decision to stick with the front three of Darwin Nunez, Cody Gakpo and Mohamed Salah, despite Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino’s returning to fitness, paid off big time.
Nunez and Gakpo were both on the scoresheet, with the latter assisted by a fine pass from Salah. The chemistry between the three attackers was evident, after Gakpo and Salah had also been on target in the last match against Everton.
Right balance in midfield
For much of the season, Liverpool’s midfield and lack of options in the area had been blamed for their stuttering form. A lack of additions to the middle of the park in the transfer market and a string of injuries had put a strain on the position.
However, Klopp now seems to have found the right balance with Stefan Bajcetic, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.
Liverpool’s control of the central area of the pitch proved key as they brushed Eddie Howe’s team aside, with their hard-working trio bridging attacks from the defence to the forwards and winning the ball back constantly with their heavy pressing of the opposition.
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