Newcastle fans react to Mikel Merino's display against Liverpool

Mikel Merino of Newcastle United is closed down by Jordan Henderson of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield on March 3, 2018 in...

Newcastle United lost 2-0 away at Liverpool on Saturday evening.

Newcastle United's Spanish midfielder Mikel Merino (L) vies with Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and...

Newcastle United's four-game unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday evening as they were beaten 2-0 away at Liverpool without ever really troubling the Reds.

The Magpies suffered disappointment last weekend having squandered a 2-0 lead at Bournemouth to draw 2-2, but didn't really threaten to cause a shock at Anfield as Liverpool were in cruise control.

After a frustrating first 40 minutes, Liverpool opened the scoring as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stole possession and drove forward before picking out Mohamed Salah, with the Egyptian firing through Martin Dubravka for his 24th league goal of the season.

Newcastle United's Spanish midfielder Mikel Merino (L) vies with Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and...

Mohamed Diame tested Loris Karius with a shot from the edge of the box, but it was game over on 55 minutes as neat passing play saw Roberto Firmino slip in Sadio Mane, and the Senegal international smashed home the second for Liverpool in a 2-0 win.

The result leaves Newcastle 16th in the Premier League table, just two points clear of the relegation zone as manager Rafael Benitez continues to plug on with a squad still largely containing players who were in the Championship last season.

However, it's one of Benitez's signings who is receiving criticism from fans, as Mikel Merino – signed on loan from Borussia Dortmund last summer and then permanently for £7million in October (Chronicle) – struggled at Anfield.

Mikel Merino of Newcastle United is closed down by Jordan Henderson of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield on March 3, 2018 in...

The Spanish midfielder has struggled with a back injury of late, and looked short of match fitness and confidence in the defeat to Liverpool, which fans certainly didn't miss.

Supporters took to Twitter to slam Merino's display, suggesting that he looks like half the player Newcastle signed in 2017, even claiming that his performances have been noticeably worse sine signing permanently.

Newcastle fans hold up a  banner during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leicester City at St. James Park on December 9, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

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