Darwin Nunez emerged from the substitutes’ bench with a remarkable performance in the final 10 minutes, netting twice to lead a 10-man Liverpool comeback from a goal down, stunning Newcastle with a 2-1 victory at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
The Magpies took the lead after Anthony Gordon capitalized on a mistake by Trent Alexander-Arnold, exploiting a defensive error to put Newcastle ahead. Liverpool faced a setback when Virgil van Dijk received a red card for a foul on Alexander Isak within the first half-hour of the game.
Despite having a numerical advantage, Newcastle couldn’t capitalize on the situation, and Darwin Nunez stepped up to seize the opportunity. Displaying moments of brilliance that have been rare in his Liverpool tenure so far, Nunez completely shifted the momentum of the game.
Liverpool had invested a record-breaking £85 million in Nunez just over a year ago. However, the Uruguayan striker found himself behind Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo in the early-season competition to be Jurgen Klopp’s preferred number nine.
Introduced as a substitute with 13 minutes remaining, Nunez capitalized on his chances. Twice released behind the Newcastle defense, he exhibited composure and precision, firing powerful low shots beyond Nick Pope.
This victory keeps Liverpool within two points of the league leaders, Manchester City. The result also sends a strong early-season message, as Newcastle had claimed a Champions League spot last season, surpassing Liverpool’s position.
Liverpool narrowly avoided being reduced to 10 men just six minutes into the match. Alexander-Arnold, who had already received a yellow card for delaying the game, brought down Gordon as he sprinted down the left wing. Surprisingly, referee John Brooks opted not to show a second yellow card, leaving Liverpool fortunate to retain their full lineup.
Jurgen Klopp seemed to have the intention of substituting Alexander-Arnold to prevent further risks, sending Joe Gomez to warm up. However, this change wasn’t made, and it proved costly. Alexander-Arnold’s failure to control Mohamed Salah’s pass allowed Gordon to capitalize on the situation, scoring only his second goal for Newcastle since his £45 million move from Everton in January.
Liverpool’s situation deteriorated further when Brooks eventually issued a red card to Van Dijk, marking the defender’s first-ever red card while playing for Liverpool. The decision stemmed from Van Dijk’s foul on Isak on the edge of the penalty area, denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
Alisson Becker’s remarkable saves kept Liverpool in the match before half-time, as he managed to deflect Miguel Almiron’s powerful volley onto the crossbar. Almiron’s threat continued after the break, with a skillful run through Liverpool’s defense, only for his shot to ricochet off the post.
Newcastle paid the price for their failure to extend their lead in an astonishing climax. Sven Botman’s inability to deal with Jota’s forward pass led to Nunez’s precise shot into the far corner, equalizing the score with nine minutes remaining.
In stoppage time, Mohamed Salah, who had been relatively subdued, delivered a crucial pass to set up Nunez once again. Nunez capitalized on the opportunity, securing a memorable victory and arguably the most significant goal of his Liverpool career thus far.