Liverpool kept themselves firmly in the fight for the quadruple as they overcame a spirited Newcastle to move back to the top of the Premier League – for a few hours at least.
Jurgen Klopp made five changes at St James’ Park, including leaving top scorer Mohamed Salah on the bench, after the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.
It looked like it would backfire as in-form Newcastle started strongly, pressing Liverpool high and forcing them into a couple of early mistakes.
But Liverpool grew into the game and were dominating possession when Naby Keita struck in the 19th minute.
The midfielder showed great composure as he dribbled across the box and past Martin Dubravka before slotting into the net.
Sadio Mane should have made it 2-0 before the break when his shot on the counter was too close to Dubravka, who also made a fine save from a Diogo Jota header.
The Newcastle fans, who were aggrieved that play continued in the lead-up to Liverpool’s goal because Fabian Schar was down injured, thought Miguel Almiron had equalised after rounding Alisson, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
The hosts also made a lively start to the second half, but Liverpool went closest to adding a second with Mane shooting wide from close range before Jota’s shot was pushed over.
It was not a vintage Liverpool display, but they got the job done to go two points clear at the top and put the pressure back on Manchester City, who face Leeds at Elland Road at 17:30 BST on Saturday.
Liverpool show their strength as run continues
The Liverpool line-up may have intrigued City boss Pep Guardiola, who, while focused on his own side’s pursuit of a treble, will no doubt welcome any helping hand in denting his rivals’ title bid.
Thiago – excellent in the 2-0 Champions League semi-final win against Villarreal in midweek – was on the bench alongside Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
It could have been seen as a big risk, but instead it emphasised the incredible strength in depth in this Liverpool squad.
James Milner came in and was his dependable self, providing experience in midfield, while Joe Gomez was solid at right-back and the front three of Luis Diaz, Jota and Mane caused as many problems as any of the attacking combinations Liverpool could field.
When Newcastle pressed for an equaliser in the closing stages, Liverpool were able to send on Thiago, Salah and Fabinho to see the game out.
Against a side who had won their previous six home games, Liverpool fans had a right to feel apprehensive, but the Reds overcame a big hurdle that serves only to strengthen the feeling that they will end this season with multiple trophies.
Newcastle show grit
Only Liverpool and City boast a better record in 2022 than Newcastle and there was understandably a buoyant mood among the home fans before kick-off.
The match provided Newcastle with an opportunity to show what sort of threat they pose to teams at the top end of the table – and they certainly gave a good account of themselves.
They started superbly, getting at Liverpool from the outset and making their opponents nervous.
Although Newcastle could not maintain their high-tempo start, there was still a sense of pride at St James’ Park at the fight shown against one of the best sides in Europe.
How to play
Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.
Rating range key = Give it up = Pure perfection
Squad number1Player nameDúbravka
Squad number17Player nameKrafth
Squad number5Player nameSchär
Squad number33Player nameBurn
Squad number13Player nameTargett
Squad number39Player nameBruno Guimarães
Squad number8Player nameShelvey
Squad number28Player nameWillock
Squad number24Player nameAlmirón
Squad number7Player nameJoelinton
Squad number10Player nameSaint-Maximin
Squad number6Player nameLascelles
Squad number20Player nameWood
Squad number23Player nameMurphy
Squad number3Player nameFabinho
Squad number6Player nameThiago Alcántara
Squad number11Player nameMohamed Salah
- 17KrafthSubstituted forMurphyat 85′minutes
- 5SchärSubstituted forLascellesat 61′minutes
- 39Guimarães Rodriguez Moura
- 28WillockSubstituted forWoodat 67′minutes
- 7JoelintonBooked at 43mins
- 36S Longstaff
- 12GomezBooked at 51mins
- 4van Dijk
- 14HendersonSubstituted forFabinhoat 69′minutes
- 7MilnerSubstituted forThiago Alcántaraat 78′minutes
- 20JotaBooked at 43mins
- 10ManéBooked at 68minsSubstituted forSalahat 69′minutes
- 6Thiago Alcántara
- Andre Marriner
Match ends, Newcastle United 0, Liverpool 1.
Second Half ends, Newcastle United 0, Liverpool 1.
Attempt missed. Fabinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right from a direct free kick.
Diogo Jota (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Joelinton (Newcastle United).
Fabinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United).
Offside, Newcastle United. Jacob Murphy tries a through ball, but Miguel Almirón is caught offside.
Offside, Newcastle United. Chris Wood tries a through ball, but Miguel Almirón is caught offside.
Hand ball by Naby Keïta (Liverpool).
Hand ball by Luis Díaz (Liverpool).
Attempt saved. Bruno Guimarães (Newcastle United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Allan Saint-Maximin.
Thiago (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Chris Wood (Newcastle United).
Substitution, Newcastle United. Jacob Murphy replaces Emil Krafth.
Attempt missed. Luis Díaz (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Naby Keïta.
Attempt missed. Joseph Gomez (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Martin Dúbravka.
Attempt saved. Diogo Jota (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner.
Substitution, Liverpool. Thiago replaces James Milner.
- Our coverage of your Premier League club is bigger and better than ever before – here’s everything you need to know to make sure you never miss a moment
Be First to Comment