Jetro Willems

Longstaffs lead Newcastle past miserable Man Utd

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More than a few eyebrows were raised when Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce started both of his young Longstaffs against Manchester United at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

It’s fair to say they popped off the head when the younger one belted the Magpies out of the Bottom Three against the sunk standard Red Devils.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Matty Longstaff scored in the 72nd minute and older brother Sean combined to stifle a sloppy Manchester United midfield in a 1-0 win.

Manchester United has nine points, good for 12th, while Newcastle is up to eight points and 16th place.


Three things we learned

1. Man Utd woeful without Pogba, Martial: Most teams, to be fair, would look poor without two world class talents, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men look absolutely idea-free up front. Marcus Rashford did little to nothing on the day, and in his defense his physical gifts are left for nothing without decent service. The side heaps pressure on the still-young center forward when it only gives him a pressure-packed possibility or two per game.

Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United is full of industry, but the Magpies have been wide open for business in the middle of the park. The fact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had no answers for the Longstaff brothers, making their 15th and 1st PL appearance, should be massively alarming. It’s a great story for Newcastle given the combined 40 years between the academy products, but the Red Devils didn’t even look like a well-drilled unit of superior talent against one of the worst-performing teams in the PL this season. Not legendary, Ole.

2. Speaking of the Longstaffs: Steve Bruce made a brave move in starting 19-year-old Matty Longstaff alongside his brother Sean, the former making his first PL start and the latter chased by Manchester United in the summer.

It’s absurdly early for this, but Newcastle fans will freely dream of a decade of two brothers bossing the center midfield for them at St. James’ Park. It’s a story best told by clubs like Newcastle, even if the beautiful goal was produced by Saint-Maximin and Jetro Willems.

3. Differing fortunes for MLS men Almiron, Yedlin: Newcastle’s former record signing was bright again, but showed his battered confidence with two very poor moments. First he got behind the defense but took two extra touches to turn a breakaway into a blocked shot. Then his long dribble saw him cut right outside the box only to earn a deserved yellow card for diving rather than staying onto the ball. His potential and the flashes mean Newcastle has to keep him out there to work through it, but the Paraguayan’s faith in his finishing is shot right now.

DeAndre Yedlin, however, was plenty lively in his first and long-awaited start of the Premier League season after delay after delay in recovery from injury. He helped produced a terrific chance for Carroll, regularly got behind the Red Devils’ back line, and made a great sliding intervention a yard outside the six with 20 minutes to play.

Man of the Match: Matty Longstaff — On emotion, and just ahead of the team’s most consistent weekly performer in Fabian Schar.


Allan Saint-Maximin‘s long dribble provided an early chance for Miguel Almiron, but a less-than-ideal first touch pushed the Paraguayan out of line from goal and produced a mere corner.

A live wire, Saint-Maximin danced through three defenders before dragging a 12th minute shot wide from great distance.

Daniel James won a rare chance for Manchester United, but Martin Dubravka came to claim the free kick from near corner kick distance.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Debutant teen Matty Longstaff swirled a 23-yard shot off the top of the cross bar in the 28th.

Almiron then beat the back line but took a couple of superfluous touches to allow the Red Devils time to block his shot inside the 18.

Harry Maguire flubbed a free header off a corner kick just before halftime. Would the Red Devils rue that?

Matty Longstaff and DeAndre Yedlin combined to cue up Andy Carroll for a header in the 65th, but the big man had to stoop and saw the ball spin over the cross bar.

The lead was rightly won by Saint-Maximin playing Willems into the 18, with the Dutch loanee cutting back for Matty Longstaff to rip low and hard past David De Gea.

Klopp, van Dijk praise super sub Firmino

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Roberto Firmino wasn’t even supposed to play much for Liverpool on Saturday.

Once he entered the game, it was essentially over for Newcastle United.

Firmino was everywhere in Liverpool’s 3-1 win, earning a wonderful assist and controlling the proceedings at Anfield.

“He is a very important player for all of us,” said Virgil Van Dijk of the 37th minute sub. “I know how difficult it is for a defender when the striker drops his position and he is making life difficult for any defender in the world, I think. He is so good and I am very happy he is on my team.”

[ RECAP: Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle ]

Manager Jurgen Klopp agreed, and explained that Firmino’s status on the bench wasn’t even about the upcoming UEFA Champions League match at Napoli.

“You don’t want to leave Bobby out, but from time to time you have to be sensible especially after long trips but of course he came on and helped,” Klopp said.

Klopp said Liverpool needed 20-25 minutes to get into the game, saying the Reds can’t set the tempo if Newcastle wants to sit back.

That said, even with an early concession to Jetro Willems, Klopp said life was pretty cozy from Moment No. 1.

“In the box, around the box, we had crosses, but not the tempo we wanted. That was a big threat always, the two quick boys in behind and in this case Willems. And then we started. Once we changed the rhythm, it was immediately much better and we deserved the three points.”

Liverpool visits Napoli on Tuesday before heading to Chelsea on Sept. 22.

Liverpool overcomes early blip, dominates Newcastle

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Sadio Mane scored twice as Liverpool overcame an early concession to continue its brilliant start to the Premier League season with a 3-1 win over Newcastle United at Anfield.

Roberto Fimino set up Mohamed Salah for Liverpool’s third goal, as the Reds look very ready for their trip to Napoli to start the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

The Reds are the fourth team to win 14-straight top flight matches in English history.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Jetro Willems scored a terrific 7th minute goal for Newcastle, which was unable to produce another goal despite a gilt-edged chance for Emil Krafth.

Liverpool is now 5-0, the only perfect team in the league, while Newcastle’s four points through five matches have them above the drop zone for now.


Three things we learned

  1. Soothed, soothed Sadio — Mane’s two goals came in very Mane fashion; The drama of last match week behind him, the Senegalese winger curled a powerful shot home for his first goal, and put off Dubravka with his pace and industry to produce an easier second. This will be exactly what Liverpool wanted: A quick cleansing of whatever residue was left by his very public displeasure with Mohamed Salah, although it is a little bit of an eyebrow raiser that they didn’t celebrate together much over the course of three goals.
  2. Almiron absent — There were not too many signs that Miguel Almiron’s Paraguay goal, his first in 27 appearances for club and country, snapped him out of his slump. Over 67 minutes, the ex-Atlanta United man continued his PL struggles: 64 percent passing, just one successful dribble, and 30 total touches.
  3. Firmino the Man — It’s not often a first half sub makes the opposition feel worse about its chances, but the game changed when Roberto Firmino entered the match for injured Divock Origi. He created a few beautiful moments, none better than the dizzying assist to Salah.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Newcastle took a shock lead with a vicious counter attack, Christian Atsu getting behind the back line to collect a long ball before playing Willems into the box for a thunderous shot.

It was all Liverpool going forward, and Jamaal Lascelles was very fortunate not to have conceded a penalty for a foul of Joel Matip in the box.

Mane made it 1-1 within moments, as Liverpool finally got its first shot on target. Andy Robertson fed Mane for a rocket of his own in the 28th minute, as Jonjo Shelvey could not catch up with the Senegalese star.

An Atsu giveaway sent the ball and Mane toward goal, and Martin Dubravka failed to collect the ball with a slide as Mane leapt over him. The striker was there to tap home the loose ball.

Georginio Wijnaldum nearly scored a sensational goal in the 49th minute when he used the outside of his boot to nearly writhe a shot around Dubravka.

Great work from Atsu was nearly redemptive for the score line, as Emil Krafth couldn’t settle the cross and could not take advantage of a slow-to-react Virgil Van Dijk.

The Reds could’ve put it to bed twice in the next five minutes, Firmino unable to head an Alexander-Arnold cross past Dubravka and Robertson missing wide from an acute angle.

Firmino’s assist on Salah’s goal was magnificent, and the match was over with 17 minutes to play.

WATCH: Newcastle’s Willems thunders opener at Liverpool

Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images
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Newcastle United’s bid to beat another Premier League giant on the road is off to a good start.

The Magpies took an eighth minute lead over Liverpool on a sensational goal from Jetro Willems.

[ STREAM LIVE: Liverpool v. Newcastle ]

The Eintracht Frankfurt loanee’s shot earned a fitting descriptor on the NBCSN broadcast: Piledriver.

Christian Atsu continued his fine early season form by settling a long ball over the top and spotting Willems run down the left flank.

Willems shook Trent Alexander-Arnold and then stepped over the ball before crushing it past a flying Adrian.