Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table with a dominant performance and 4-0 win over Newcastle United at Anfield.
Liverpool 4-0 Newcastle
Premier League, Anfield
December 26, 2018
Goals: Lovren 12′, Salah pen 47′, Shaqiri 79′, Fabinho 85′
Klopp’s own brand of rotation
Many thought, heading into this match, that Liverpool might look to make wholesale changes to the lineup, akin to the approach to the Burnley match.
Instead, Klopp utilised a different approach: Work up a lead, then make changes before the energy-sapping final 20 minutes.
Andy Robertson was the last to be afforded a late break—completing a trio of subbed-off players who get through a tremendous amount of running every game for the Reds.
It’s a different way to go about giving players time off, so let’s hope it keeps them at full capacity for the upcoming games.
Liverpool’s Egyptian King had a few questions aimed his way earlier in the season, but he has batted any doubts about his enduring quality away with a series of key performances.
He now has six goals in his last five games, and three assists in the last six on top of that.
Salah won the penalty which he dispatched himself and was a constant presence in the final third for the Reds, despite not really seeing the shooting chances fall his way on this occasion.
He’s now fully integrated as the team’s centre-forward and leads the line particularly well, even when space isn’t afforded to him to run into, thanks to his close control and ability to pick a pass.
It was also nice to see the Reds score off Salah’s corner after some terrible dead-ball deliveries of late!
Trent Alexander-Arnold made his return from injury and looked as though he’d never been away, putting in a faultless performance.
Some of his passing was sublime, pinging the ball on the diagonal from one side of the pitch to the other or setting away a chance for the forwards with a clever through-ball.
Opposite him, Andy Robertson was his usual self, a non-stop outlet down the left, a motoring presence down the wing and utterly reliable chasing back to defend his own half of the pitch.
They’ll both be crucial for the Reds during upcoming matches and it’s imperative to have them fit and in-form.
Ruthless, rampant Reds
With well over 70 per cent possession to their name for most of the match, the scoreline reflects Liverpool’s superiority.
But it didn’t have to be that way—only for the Reds to refuse to sit back, accept a low-key victory and grind out the win.
Instead, we see a team full of confidence and wanting to keep doing what they do best: attacking, creating, scoring. Two wasn’t enough. Three wasn’t enough. Liverpool kept going even had chances to score more goals after that late flurry.
It’s exactly what we want to see: not just winning matches, but utterly and furiously pummeling teams into submission.
The goals keep coming and so do the clean sheets: Liverpool now have the same goal difference as Man City.
Lead extended, top at City
Speaking of City—a second defeat in a row means they drop to third, with Spurs up to second.
Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table now stands at a thoroughly impressive six points, still unbeaten at the halfway stage of the campaign.
Optimism has never been higher around Anfield, and nor have the chances of them going on and finally, at long last, landing this most coveted of titles.
One game at a time…but today’s game was another big step along the path to success.