Salah nets twice as Liverpool continue title charge with Newcastle victory

Salah nets twice as Liverpool continue title charge with Newcastle victory
Views: 91

Liverpool moved three points clear at the Premier League summit thanks to a 4-2 win over Newcastle United, extending their unbeaten league home H2H run to an eye-watering 28 matches.

In the teeming Anfield rain, both Liverpool and Newcastle were keen to show they weren’t suffering from a New Year’s hangover. Resilient defending was the order of play as two last-ditch blocks to deny first Lewis Miley and then Curtis Jones up the other end ensured neither side fell behind early. That resilience was eventually breached midway through the half when Luis Díaz turned home after Darwin Nunez faltered when clean through on goal, but fortunately for Newcastle, Nunez had strayed offside.

If that was a reprieve for Newcastle, they were handed an even bigger one just moments later. Diaz was again involved, bursting into the area before he was upended by Sven Botman, and from the resulting penalty Mohamed Salah missed his fourth penalty from his last 10 taken in the red of Liverpool, as his stinging drive was beaten away by Martin Dubravka.

That seemed to be the wake-up call Eddie Howe’s side needed and they had the ball in the back of the net themselves through Dan Burn, but that too was ruled out after Alexander Isak strayed offside in the build-up.

Keen to make amends for his earlier penalty miss, Salah continued to get himself into the right areas, and when Nunez laid the ball on a plate for him six yards out, the Egyptian made no mistake in striking his 150th Premier League goal for Liverpool.

The duo who combined for the opener both spurned chances to double Liverpool’s lead and they were made to pay for those misses with a suckerpunch when former Evertonian Anthony Gordon fed Isak, who scored with the visitors’ first shot on target.

The Reds’ persistence eventually paid off a little over 15 minutes from time when substitute Diogo Jota unselfishly squared for Curtis Jones to tap into an empty net. Sitting on a one-goal lead was never likely to be comfortable for Liverpool given the pattern of the game, but they thought they’d wrapped the points up shortly after when Salah signed off before heading to the Africa Cup of Nations by bending a sumptuous cross into the box for Cody Gakpo to add the finishing touches.

Unwilling to lie down, Newcastle hit back almost instantly through Botman, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation for Howe’s men, who slumped to a seventh defeat from their last eight games. The night belonged to Liverpool though, who added a fourth through Salah from the penalty spot as they seized the initiative in what looks like a wide-open title race.