A week later, and with the £89m man back in the side, they looked stretched and unbalanced in the middle of the park as Newcastle secured a 1-0 victory at St James' Park.
"We had some [chances] with the score at 0-0", said Mourinho. "We got lucky with some shots, but we showed the character, the commitment and the desire today", Benitez said.
He added during his post-match press conference: "I think first of all that the Newcastle United players and obviously staff, they gave what they have and what they don't have and I think that's a attractive thing in football. But sometimes you attract that luck with your state of mind and at 1-0, the Newcastle players fought for their lives and I think that's a lovely thing in football".
Fans were pleased with what they saw from the 29-year-old and he was already building a reputation for himself to become a favourite at St. James' Park.
Brazil forward Firmino gave Liverpool an early lead with his 20th goal of the season when he finished off a counter attack after being teed up by Salah. We did the job.
First, the free kick from which Newcastle scored their victor was conceded when Smalling dived, pointlessly, in the middle of his own half after a heavy touch.
The win lifts them six places in this unusual, odd league, nearly into the safety of mid-table, were mid-table able to provide any safety whatsoever.
Southampton are third bottom following their first defeat in five league matches.
Newcastle, meanwhile, climb to 13th in the table, two points clear of the relegation zone.
Junior Stanislas equalised for Bournemouth with a cool finish from Ryan Fraser's cross seven minutes later.
Benin striker Mounie's shot was deflected in by Steve Cook after 66 minutes - Cook being attributed with an own goal.
Rajiv van la Parra tucked away a stoppage time penalty to complete a satisfying afternoon for David Wagner's side.
Victory did come at a cost for Huddersfield with Australian midfielder Mooy leaving the pitch on a stretcher in the second half after a clash of knees.