Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle: Reds seal first-ever win over Rafa to continue fine run

3 March 2018


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Liverpool produced a professional display at Anfield on Saturday evening, on their way to a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United in the Premier League.


Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle

Premier League, Anfield
March 3, 2018

Goals

Salah 40′ (assist – Oxlade-Chamberlain)
Mane 55′ (assist – Firmino)


The Reds set out for another Anfield outing looking for their first win over former manager Rafa Benitez, with their Saturday evening kickoff demanding three points.

With top-four rivals Tottenham moving into third with a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town earlier in the day, Liverpool needed a victory to ensure they kept up the pace, moving back up to second.

As his side hold a comfortable five-goal lead over Porto ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League last-16 second-leg clash, Jurgen Klopp was able to make just two changes to his starting lineup for the weekend.

Dejan Lovren and Jordan Henderson returned to the side to replace Joel Matip and James Milner, with the Reds going all-out for the win—and doing just that.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 3, 2018: Liverpool's Sadio Mane Newcastle United's Christian Atsu during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

  • Klopp makes two changes with three points in his sights
  • Salah nets 32nd goal of the season to opening the scoring
  • Mane doubles lead after excellent sweeping team move
  • Liverpool seal first-ever victory in six games against Benitez
  • Reds move up to second with Man United clash crucial

With Benitez conceding before the game that he had set his side up to soak up pressure and break on the counter, it was no surprise to see Liverpool in control in the early stages.

Mohamed Salah was bright throughout, drawing a brave block from Paul Dummett with an effort in the box and striking the post with a volley as a long ball dropped over his shoulder.

The Egyptian was the Reds’ conductor in the final third, and it was his corner that led to a pair of chances for Dejan Lovren, blocked first by Martin Dubravka and then Mikel Merino.

But with Liverpool keeping up their momentum, it was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain whose drive into the final third that crafted the opener, laying the ball into the path of Salah who made light work of it for 1-0.

Newcastle found a rare opening after that goal, with Loris Karius forced to make an excellent save to deny Mo Diame and retain the lead going into half-time.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 3, 2018: Liverpool's Sadio Mane during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by Peter Powell/Propaganda)

The second half began with a penalty call waved away by referee Graham Scott after the ball struck Jamaal Lascelles in the box, but it wasn’t long before Liverpool, had their second goal.

It came to Sadio Mane to convert after a fine one-touch move by the home side, with Roberto Firmino threading the ball through for his strike partner to fire past Dubravka to make it 2-0.

Likely with an eye on starting the Senegalese against Porto, Klopp withdrew Mane with just over 15 minutes to play, with Adam Lallana taking his place for a rare outing.

The Reds kept probing for a third goal, looking to take advantage of a more adventurous approach from Benitez in the closing stages, with Henderson seeing a rare effort blocked for a corner.

Klopp made his final change in the closing stages, bringing on Joel Matip in place of Firmino to tighten things up at the back as Liverpool saw out another priceless victory.


TIA Man of the Match: Sadio Mane

Referee: Graham Scott

Next Match: Porto (H) – Champions League Last 16 – March 6

* Additional reporting by ISNTV.

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