Newcastle came out in a 3-4-3 with Javier Manquillo as one of the center halves. Valentino Lazaro and Matt Ritchie were the wingbacks as Dwight Gayle led the line.
It was a dream start once again against the Reds. This time the lads took the lead inside of 30 seconds. Allan Saint-Maximin was brought down by Virgil van Dijk inside the center circle.
Jonjo Shelvey astutely lobbed the ball upfield quickly to a running Dwight Gayle. The in-form striker poked the ball past Allison, who got a touch but couldn’t keep it out.
As expected, Liverpool pushed for an equalizer and had mounds of possession after the goal. However, Newcastle kept it tight at the back and were hard to break down.
In the 29th minute, Takumi Minamino, who has looked bright for Liverpool, launched a shot from about 25 yards that forced Martin Dubravka into a flying save. That’s why he’s our Player of the Year.
Newcastle finally got their second shot off in the 33rd minute when Federico Fernandez connected on a quick ball into the box from Matt Ritchie. Allison was able to push the ball behind for a corner.
Newcastle’s diminutive backline came into play when Liverpool got the leveler through Virgil van Dijk in the 38th minute. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain whipped in a cross from the right, and the Dutchman easily outleapt Javier Manquillo to float a header over Martin Dubravka into the net.
Liverpool continued to push for the lead as Newcastle remained under pressure to close out the first half. The lads defended exceptionally well to keep the score level going into the break.