Fabio Carvalho captured the headlines and admiration as he was swamped by team-mates in a corner of Anfield after giving Liverpool the last of late wins over Newcastle United.
Fulham’s summer signing Carvalho, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Tuesday, has become an instant Liverpool wildcard start to a Premier League season that hasn’t reached the heights it achieved last season Brought close to four trophies.
He’s impressed every time this season but nothing quite as dramatic as when he emerged from a crowd scene in the 98th minute to pounce on Newcastle’s failure to clear a corner and seal Liverpool’s comeback 2-1 from behind to complete.
Wild scenes ensued on the pitch, in the Anfield stands and in the technical area, where the fear that had been building all night with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in a state of near-permanent anger boiled over.
Carvalho was the hero and the reaction illustrated the mix of relief and celebration around Anfield, a relief from the pressure emanating from Manchester City via the M62 where news of their 6-0 win over Nottingham Forest had leaked and the Liverpool prospects are seven points behind Premier League champions and nine behind leaders Arsenal if they don’t win.
It all came together when Carvalho hit over the bar at the end of a superb cameo, leaving an increasingly mature and impressive Newcastle United devastated.
Much attention is being paid to Liverpool’s line-up of world-class superstars, led by the likes of Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk, but two recent acquisitions from Fulham are pointing the way ahead.
Carvalho is one, of course, but even more impressive was 19-year-old Harvey Elliott, who rose to the challenge of beating Newcastle United as they defended the 38th-minute lead given to them by new £60m striker Alexander Isak had bestowed.
Anfield’s frustration – unhelped by what they saw as an obvious time-wasting tactic from Newcastle – was building and even the normally incomparable Van Dijk felt the rough edge of the tongues of Liverpool’s supporters after a second long, lazy and aimless pass in quick succession the second half.
None of that touched Elliott, who was comfortably Liverpool’s standout player as he covered the ground with ease, demanded the ball, tested relentlessly and never once flinched from Newcastle’s challenge.
Elliott’s progress was cut short by a serious injury at Leeds United last season but it’s clear manager Klopp has every confidence in the former Fulham product, which is fast becoming a fixture in a Liverpool midfield set to thrive in this one Season still not fires.
Liverpool climbed over the line in a largely unimpressive performance, but it will give Klopp – who is fist-pumping just five games into the new Premier League season before the Kop – great satisfaction that it was his young brigade that led his team led to victory.
As for Newcastle United, disappointment will have been bitter that until this late turn in history it looked like such a good bet for at least a draw.
Manager Eddie Howe, who was quietly taking notes as Klopp rampaged towards the Newcastle bench in the first half, will end up devastated but pleased with what has gone as an indicator of their improvement.
And to their credit it was made without the injured trio of Allan Saint-Maximin, Bruno Guimaraes and Callum Wilson, three players of great importance.
All eyes were on debutant Isak and he did not disappoint with an impressive performance marked by an emphatic confident finish to give Newcastle the lead when the 22-year-old, signed from Real Sociedad, lost one after a game Drive up past Alisson pounded in by Sean Longstaff.
Isak looks like a striker who could add an extra dimension to Newcastle with his willingness to do the dirty work, as well as offering pace and a very obvious eye for goal.
Newcastle may have squared off against Anfield with their delaying tactics, but their overall performance added to that frustration and they looked like a team on the right track.
In the end, they were only contested by two outstanding young Liverpool talents who showed Klopp can count on the exuberance and style of youth beyond his established stars.