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Salah scores twice as slick Liverpool see off Newcastle

Salah scores twice as slick Liverpool see off Newcastle


Mohamed Salah is the fifth player to score 150 Premier League goals for one club

Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool eventually broke down resilient Newcastle United to open up a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

In a relentless and frantic game, fuelled by wicked rain and wind on Merseyside, Liverpool took swing after swing at Newcastle in the first half but were in danger of being held to a third consecutive Anfield draw.

But Salah, who will now depart to join Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations and who had a first-half penalty saved, tapped home a cross for his side’s first then converted a second spot-kick in the closing stages.

His first strike was his 150th Premier League goal for the Reds, but it was cancelled out five minutes by Alexander Isak, who got in behind the hosts’ defence and curled home.

Liverpool pressed to go in front again and eventually Curtis Jones gave them the lead again before a scuffed Cody Gapko effort from a brilliant Salah pass gave them breathing space.

But back came Newcastle when Sven Botman headed home a corner to make it 3-2 before Salah sent Martin Dubravka – who was heroic throughout – the wrong way to secure the points.

Liverpool had won their opening seven Premier League games at Anfield this season but had been been held to draws by Manchester United and Arsenal in their previous two home games.

They now lead Aston Villa by three points and have a five-point lead over Manchester City, who have a game in hand, and Arsenal.

Newcastle, who were missing nine first-team players, remain ninth.

Slick Liverpool find a way in chaotic match

From the first whistle the match was dominated by Liverpool, who registered a league-high 18 shots in the first half.

Trent Alexander-Arnold saw an effort deflected wide and hit the post with a wicked volley from an incredibly tight angle, while Darwin Nunez’s flicked effort was kept out by Dubravka.

Diaz had a goal disallowed after Nunez had strayed marginally offside in the build-up, before Salah’s first penalty – powered to Dubravka’s left but too central – was saved.

It meant Salah had failed to score four of his past 10 penalties in all competitions but he put it behind him and was brilliant in the second half.

He and Nunez interchanged passes to leave the Egypt forward unmarked in the middle to tap home for the opener.

The equaliser was a setback – especially after Nunez was twice denied with chances to make it 2-0 – but Liverpool’s quality and intricate forward play eventually found a way through Newcastle.

Jones tapped home after a brilliant through pass by Salah found Diogo Jota, before the former Roma forward crossed for Gakpo, who dribbled his effort over the line with the bottom of his studs.

Salah’s second came when Jota was tripped by Dubravka, and he showed his calmness to send the goalkeeper the wrong way and sign off for what could be potentially six weeks with his country.

The victory means Liverpool are unbeaten in 22 games at Anfield, and have now only lost one of their past 52 home games in the Premier League.

Injury-ravaged Newcastle battle but lack options

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has had to deal with a torrid run of injuries during the busiest part of the season and he came into this game with club captain Kieran Trippier also absent with a groin injury.

They weathered the early storm well and grew into the game, with Dan Burn’s header disallowed because Isak was inches offside earlier in the move.

The Sweden striker’s finish for the equaliser was a moment of clinical class and came from their first shot on target, and only their second overall in the game.

Dubravka was in inspired form, using all parts of his body to keep Liverpool out, but he could do very little about Jones and Gapko’s goals.

Those goals came around the time a manager may been thinking of turning to his bench for fresh legs, so Howe may well be lamenting the lack of options available to him.

While Newcastle can point to their injuries, Howe will also know his side have only earned five points away from St James’ Park so far this season and have only kept one clean sheet in their past 19 away games.

They play just three games in January – which could be four if they beat local rivals Sunderland in the FA Cup third round on Saturday – and Howe will hope the winter break allows him to get players fit again as they look to qualify for Europe again.

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Line-ups

Liverpool

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-ArnoldBooked at 45mins
  • 5Konaté
  • 4van Dijk
  • 2Gomez
  • 8SzoboszlaiSubstituted forGravenberchat 64′minutes
  • 3EndoBooked at 65minsSubstituted forMac Allisterat 75′minutes
  • 17Jones
  • 11Salah
  • 9NúñezSubstituted forGakpoat 64′minutes
  • 7DíazBooked at 45minsSubstituted forJotaat 64′minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Mac Allister
  • 18Gakpo
  • 19Elliott
  • 20Jota
  • 38Gravenberch
  • 53McConnell
  • 62Kelleher
  • 78Quansah
  • 84Bradley

Newcastle

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1DúbravkaBooked at 84mins
  • 21Livramento
  • 5Schär
  • 4Botman
  • 33BurnSubstituted forHallat 82′minutes
  • 67MileyBooked at 45minsSubstituted forAlmirónat 54′minutes
  • 39Bruno GuimarãesBooked at 28mins
  • 36S LongstaffBooked at 89mins
  • 10Gordon
  • 14Isak
  • 7JoelintonBooked at 66minsSubstituted forLascellesat 82′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Dummett
  • 6Lascelles
  • 11Ritchie
  • 17Krafth
  • 18Karius
  • 20Hall
  • 24Almirón
  • 29Gillespie
  • 54Murphy

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