Pat Nevin believes Liverpool’s winning mentality proved to be the difference-maker as they came from a goal down to beat Newcastle with 10 men on Sunday.
The Magpies looked to be in a strong position at St James’ Park when they went in front through Anthony Gordon in the 25th minute, and three minutes later Virgil van Dijk was sent off for a last-man challenge on Aleksander Isak.
But Liverpool refused to give in and after riding their luck at times, they turned the game on its head late on, with Darwin Nunez coming off the bench to score twice.
Nevin feels Liverpool’s extra belief was the key to victory, with the Reds having not lost to Newcastle since 2015.
‘Newcastle could have had it wrapped up, should have had it wrapped up but Liverpool hung on then got better and better,’ Nevin told BBC Radio 5 Live.
Darwin Nunez scored twice in the final 10 minutes as Liverpool came from behind to win
Pat Nevin believes Liverpool’s winning mentality helped them pull off the comeback despite playing the majority of the match with 10 men
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‘The changes Klopp made were brilliant. He threw on Darwin Nunez and Jota and what he hoped would happen happened.
‘But with Newcastle it was about the mentality of knowing they can go and beat a team like Liverpool. They didn’t know, and that’s the difference, Liverpool know they can come back from these positions.’
Only one result looked to be on the cards in the early stages of the second half as Newcastle pushed for a second goal to put the game to bed.
That moment never arrived, though, and Liverpool took full advantage to claim all three points.
Former Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given was in the Sky Sports studio, and admitted the final stages of the match left him in disbelief.
When asked to sum up his emotions, Given said: ‘Shellshocked. I think you can see some of the Newcastle fans sitting there in disbelief there as well.
‘I think sometimes at 1-0 and the other team have 10 men you fall into a bit of a false sense of security and they had the chances, Newcastle. A phenomenal save from Allison in the first half. It’s just disbelief really. If you’d have said Liverpool could have gotten a draw out of this game they would have snapped your hand off.
Andros Townsend though his former club Newcastle were hit by a ‘sucker punch’ after failing to kill the game off in the second half
‘But to come here with 10 men in a large part of the game and win the game is just a real blow for Newcastle, but take nothing away from Liverpool. They sat in a really comfortable low block and it didn’t give them too many chances in the second half but when they broke, Nunez was clinical and got the two chances.’
Given’s fellow pundit Andros Townsend was also surprised by Newcastle’s late collapse, and hinted that his former team could have tried to take more time out of the game in the second half to maintain control, having done that successfully on a number of occasions last season.
‘Newcastle were in control and didn’t have too much trouble in behind them. They’re still committing men forward and still trying to get that second goal but they just got hit by a sucker punch,’ Townsend said.
‘Last season you’d have seen Newcastle go 1-0 up they’d be going down, rolling around, the trainer would be coming on, they’ll be doing all sorts to try and get the three points.’