HomeViews and OpinionsAnfield thriller sees Liverpool stretch Premier League lead

Anfield thriller sees Liverpool stretch Premier League lead

In a six-goal thriller at a rain-lashed Anfield, Mo Salah signed off with a brace, though missed a penalty, in a 4-2 victory that gives them a three point lead at the Premier League summit. Curtis Jones and second half substitute Cody Gapko also got on the score sheet, as Newcastle suffered their fifth defeat in six league games.

Liverpool looked ‘at it’ from the first whistle, but somehow Newcastle survived the onslaught in the first fifteen minutes. In front of the Kop, Liverpool swamped the Tynesider’s, with Darwin Nunez causing havoc, while Luis Diaz had his most productive performance in a red shirt in a long time. However, they failed to beat an inspired Dubravka in the opening 45 minutes, even saving a poorly struck penalty from Salah.

The Egyptian, seemingly unnerved from the spot, had a poor first half but a change of boots at half-time brought a change of fortune. If Eddie Howe’s men rode their luck in the first half, the second half was just minutes old before Salah finally scored the goal his side’s dominance deserved. A sweeping move of precision passing, first by Diaz then by Nunez, giving the African superstar a tap-in. Newcastle though struck back almost immediately, as Isaac scored with a clinical finish, flashing the ball past Alisson, who had little to do all night.

Escaping a reasonable shout for a penalty, Liverpool again took the lead as Curtis Jones, surely with his best performance in a red shirt, finished off a marvellous move. It began with a throw-out by Alisson, cute passing from both Salah and Diogo Jota gave the scouser an easy finish, before a scuffed effort from Gakpo gave his side an unassailable lead.

The unassailable lead though, needed a fourth goal, after Newcastle again got themselves back into the game with Botman rising highest to head home an 81st minute corner. Jurgen Klopp was angry on the sideline at his team’s sloppiness and chose not watch Salah’s second penalty, when Jota tumbled after rounding Dubravka. An outstanding pass from late substitute Alexis Mac Allister had released Jota to run in on goal and the slightest touch on the ankle of the Iberian saw the striker hit the turf, despite having an empty net in front of him.

Klopp, facing the crowd and nearly losing his wedding ring in the process, celebrated Salah’s penalty conversion as his side took a three-point lead at the top of the league. Newcastle meanwhile, have now failed to win a league game at Anfield for nearly 30 years. Meanwhile Liverpool, defeated just once this season in their title charge, begin the New Year looking down at the rest.

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