Not a great night for United, albeit one peppered with talking points. Here is Stephen Ord to walk you through them. 

1. The law of averages

Newcastle United have been outstanding this season and kept a barely believable number of clean sheets. However,  sometimes even the best players have off days.

Yesterday was the turn of the back four up against a front three assembled for over one hundred and fifty million pounds (poor Liverpool) to have a bad day.

The skipper was caught out by Núñez’s runs a couple of times but for the first goal neither Schär nor Trippier seemed to know where he was.

The second goal again came straight down the centre to an unmarked and onside Gakpo.

Tired legs, tired minds or one eye on next week? Maybe all three.

This back five have been exceptional but two thirds of the way through the season, Eddie should be looking to try and freshen things up.

2. Does our season come down to Sunday?

The next step for any club with aspirations to mix it with the biggest clubs is to win something.

In our case this opportunity has come along far quicker than we presumed it would.

Given last night’s performance the worry is that top four, barely believable this time twelve months ago, is probably going to prove beyond us this year.

In all likelihood the poor form Liverpool and Tottenham have shown so far this season is unlikely to be maintained for a full thirty eight games.

Yesterday showed the gap in quality that Klopp could bring off the bench compared to ourselves.

Let’s revisit where we are in twelve months time.

MATCH REPORT: Newcastle United 0-2 Liverpool (Nunez 10′ Gakpo 17′), 18 February 2023

3. Is Saint Max back to his best?

Was it the returning Sky cameras or a run of games?

The pitiful performance against West Ham was replaced with something else last night, and when the decision to change one of the attacking two was made, it was Isak who gave way to Wilson.

I thought Maxi looked electric to start the game and then had patches in the second half where Liverpool looked worried about his pace on the break.

If Man U were still playing a lumbering Harry Maguire that would be handy to allow us space to run into.

Max has got to start delivering in these games on a consistent basis, though.

His run and shot which ended up on the bar was a sign of how dangerous he can be at his best.

4. Are our tactics being used against us?

First half of the season nobody seemed able to live with our right hand side.

Wave after wave of attack came down it.

Now Almiron is always shown wide because opponents know he won’t cross with his right and the left sided attacker (this time Núñez) is told to stay high.

Liverpool adapted further and left van Dijk at the back and then Robertson pushed on between Trippier and Miggy. I do wonder if that was part of the reason the midfield looked so stretched.

On the other flank Dan Burn had a much better second half but in the first they played Salah on his shoulder and waited for a ball over the top to catch him out.

Like we did to Manchester City, once teams see an effective route to success they’ll take it.

Player Ratings – Liverpool (H), 18 February 2023

5. Not a day for a debut

Whilst many people will have sympathy with Nick Pope this morning, a moment of madness and then a red card which sees him miss a Cup final, spare a thought for Elliot Anderson.

Since breaking into the team under the bacon muncher, he’s managed some decent cameos from the bench and a couple of Carabao cup starts.

Yesterday was Anderson’s big day, starting in the Premier League at home to Liverpool.

Withdrawn after twenty-three minutes, it is unlikely, without severe injury issues, that he will get a run out in the starting eleven before the last couple of games of the season.

There was a lovely little move where he stepped away from a couple of players, burst towards the box and then was flattened by Fabinho.

Hopefully he gets more opportunities. I am sure he will.

Stephen Ord @smord84