Liverpool corner on the right after an Alexander-Arnold pass, threaded down the side of the area took a deflection and Milner could not reach it before it crossed the line. Newcastle defend it well and thump it clear.
Good chance for the equaliser from a long Shelvey pass straight down the right. He cut inside brilliantly on to his left. As far as power goes, Joelinton could not have hit it more sweetly but it was straight at Alisson from 18 yards. .
Newcastle are looking for Shelvey to exploit Liverpool’s high line. He has just knocked a 60-yard pass for Almiron to chase in behind R- oberston was alert to that one. Then moments later he sprayed a long diagonal from the right into the box and Joelinton, backing away, wins the header but is also clattered by Alexander-Arnold. Newcastle want a penalty but Joelinton, it could be argued, was backing in and Alexander-Arnold held his ground.
Shelvey scoops a right-foot pass over Fabinho and Joelinton runs through. The ball is drifting away from goal with the spin imparted with the outside of Shelvey’s foot and the Newcastle forward doesn’t have the pace to beat Alisson to the ball.
Salah takes the ball wide on the right, 30 yards out, he drills a left-foot pass towards the D, Jota steps over it with a dummy and lets it run to Firmino. The Brazil centre-forward turns clockwise and pokes a 20-yard daisy-cutter right at Dubravka.
No half-time changes. Liverpool build from the back and then Alexander-Arnold arrows a long diagonal for Jota to chase down the left. Murphy keeps pace, though and gets his body in front just enough to draw the foul.
Very entertaining game, very fast, open and with kamikaze defensive tactics from Newcastle whose back-five looks dangerously exposed. And yet Saint-Maximin is explosive and menacing on the break. Replace Joelinton for Wilson and they might find the fluency and accuracy to catch out Liverpool’s back four and particularly their creaking offside trap.
Thiago pulling the strings with another good, long pass that picks out Robertson down the left. He whips over the cross, met by Mane two yards before the front post. It had too much power on the centre to meet it full-on, which he did and diverted it straight ahead. Needed a glancer to get it on goal.
Another slick passing move from Liverpool. Newcastle have packed their defence but don’t have anyone in front of it doing the dogged work of an Isaac Hayden. It’s so open it’s great but the managers are having kittens. Firmino works it out to Alexander-Arnold who is sprinting down the right and he zips over a cross that Mane meets with a near-post lunge and studs it wide from eight yards.
Saint-Maximin puts Jeolinton through again and Alexander-Arnold prods it away with a sliding tackle as Rip van Joelinkle takes too much time. Then Mane, found by Salah after the winger was left to run behind the Newcastle defence in pursuit of a long, floated diagonal, takes a touch when one-on-one with Dubravka which allows the keepr to flop in top of the ball. Needed a first-time finish.
The chances are coming thick and fast now for Lievrpool – Firmino, from a tight angle at the back post with a header, can’t work the keeper then Firmino, with brilliant footwork in a very tight spot to the right of the D, laces a pass down the inside-left for Jota to complete the one-two but Jota squirts a tame shot as he falls down the keeper’s throat.
Great save from Dubravka one-on-one with Salah after Murphy loses the ball on halfway out by the right touchline. Firmino nicks it off him and chips it over Newcastle’s high line. Salah, who had got on his bike as soon as Firmino intercepted it, took three touches, one of them too heavy, to get into the box that brought him too close to Dubravka and he couldn’t stab it past him.
Another Saint-Maximin instigated counter-attack with a supporting third-man run from Longstaff ruined by Joelinton’s ponderous pass. AS-M passed it up to him between the centre-backs. Longstaff pulled off to the left bu Joelinton delayed the pass then played it behind him.
Monumental c0ck-up by Clark in the six-yard box as he mishits a square pass, scuffing it so it would never have reached its intended target. Fernandez and Dubravka race in to stop Mane pouncing and in the melee manage only to stab it to Jota, 15 yards out and he wastes the opportunity to tee up Firmino for a tap-in and pulls his shot wide of the left post instead.
Good sliding challenge from Shelvey picks off a pass intended for Thiago 30 yards from the Liverpool goal. Longstaff works it up to Saint-Maximin who sprints through the centre-circle and plays a good pass between Kabak and Alexander-Arnold. Joelinton and Almiron are on to it … but get in each other’s way. ‘After you, Claud …’
Diogo Jota finds some space from 25 yards as Dummett retreats but blazes his shot over the bar. Newcastle give Liverpool the ball back from the goalkick and they attack down the left. Robertson works it back to the 18-yard line and Jota arrows a left-foot half-volley too close to Dubravka.
Brilliant diagonal run from Longstaff S, right to left. Alexander-Arnold is snoozing and plays him onside. Shelvey lifts the pass over the top into his path and he runs into the area, shooting low with his left-foot into Alisson’s feet and Liverpool scramble it away. Good chance.
There’s the good side of Kabak, alert at the near post after Saint-Maximin diddled Salah with a chop and a shimmy to get round him to the byline, cut in towards the area and whip a cross looking for Joelinton. Kabak reads the flight and hooks it clear.
Fernandez leads with his forearm and smashes Jota on the nose – it goes unpunished. And Sain-Maximin, from a belatedly flagged offside position, squares the ball back across goal with Alisson stranded when found by Murphy after a run down the right.
Liverpool have penned Newcastle into their own half and the away side are relying on Saint-Maximin to hit them on the break. After a prolonged period of Liverpool probing, Newcastle win it back and their best player storms forward and is hacked down by Kabak in the centre-circle. He looks injured and limps off after treatment, then jogs gingerly back on. Both knees are strapped already.
Brilliant technique. Mane crossed from the left, not a very good cross and Clark was first to it. Because he reached it at the apex of his leap it took the top of his head and looped up towards the back post rather than out of the box. Salah, hanging on Ritchie’s shoulder, watched it all the way, cushioned it with a velvety left-instep, spun through 180 degrees and rifled a left-foot volley into the roof of the net.
Newcastle are containing Liverpool into the space between the box and halfway and then break when Murphy wins the ball back feeds it infield and waits for the long ball over the top from Saint-Maximin that was too close rto Alisson.
Liverpool, all in red, kick off against Newcastle in black and white stripes. They work the ball back from the kick-off to Fabinho who knocks it long and Clark heads it back into midfield. Jota and Wijnaldum get it down and start to pass it around.
Whenever you come here, it’s in the air that it’s a big place. So it’s always going to be difficult. But if you’ve got something about you, you’ll enjoy taking it on. They’re still the champions, they’re a wonderful club, with history, it’s one of the big ones when you enjoy coming.
I’m sure they’ve had a difficult week but they’ll want to put it behind them with a decent performance today. Just at the right time, we’ve got a few people back, which has certainly helped us, and in the last few weeks we’ve found that resilience you need when you’re up against it.
Back-to-back wins have been vitally important to us. The return of Saint-Maximin and Wilson has given everyone a lift. The starting team have done very well of late, so I’ve kept to those who have done very well.
This is just semantics. It wasn’t the media and football supporters that left Klopp and Liverpool’s players in the firing line. It was Liverpool’s owners. It wasn’t ‘representatives’ of Liverpool FC, it was the people who own the club, lock stock and barrel. If they had different voices in the boardroom, they wouldn’t have made what he charitably calls such a huge ‘mistake’. And this isn’t about Liverpool. It’s about all 12 clubs and what their owners think of us, you and me.
It hurt a lot. The thing was, yes, our owners made a mistake. We said it often enough, they know it. What I didn’t like – and Leeds supporters were a good example, they’re not worse than others or better than others – it’s just that they went on us. We had nothing to do with that. We are just the faces of the club. Just as our supporters had nothing to do with that obviously, but other teams are saying: you were in that. No they were not. We were not. We had not even an idea, we didn’t even know about it, so we had nothing to do with that.
It is really important we don’t forget that. It is constantly mentioned Liverpool Football Club; no it was not Liverpool Football Club, it was representatives of Liverpool Football Club, we have to make a difference, that’s really very important. I see the pictures of Arsenal and Chelsea, you all have to calm down, three journalists on Sky talking all day about it, it’s winding up people, we are still in a pandemic, people without facemasks shouting their opinion out, all the pundits have to calm down a little. Yes, nobody wanted it, definitely, but let’s deal with it and not constantly show: yes, we didn’t want it. It’s all clear now, and the people who made the decision learned the lesson, I am 100 percent sure. So just relax a little bit, because we have to carry on. And that’s what we try now.
And welcome to live coverage of Liverpool vs Newcastle United, the Champions’ first match since the demise of the Super League conspiracy of which they were one of the 12 plotters. ‘Legacy’ fans’ outrage at the proposals to create a cartel of permanent members of a league, a self-electing, anti-competitive, elite of European football routed these half-baked proposals, proving just how flimsy their argument and resolve were. Today is an opportunity for Liverpool fans, some of whom were at Elland Road to vent their anger with the ownership, to show their opposition to the way their club has been run, a situation all to familiar to Newcastle United fans.
Let vigilance and reform be the watchwords. The barbarians are not at the gate of football, they’re in the boardroom. These reticent, largely uncommunicative, unaccountable and elusive billionaires have taken over football like the stoats and weasels took over Toad Hall. This week shows that another way is possible.
As for today’s match – Liverpool make one change from the draw with Leeds United, Mohamed Salah replacing James Milner:
Liverpool will move up to fourth today, ion one of the Championship League qualifier spots, earning themselves a legitimate shot of getting through to that imperfect competition next season.
Newcastle, unbeaten in three, and now with an eight-point cushion plus a game in hand over 18th-placed Fulham are unchanged from the side that stormed into the lead against West Ham and had enough resolve to fight back after a wobble to win 3-2.
It’s a sunny day on Merseyside where memories of 4-3s and assorted thrillers between these two have been overshadowed by this week’s plot. Time to get the ball out, but let us not forget what they tried to do to football in Liverpool’s name.