Mohamed Salah‘s 29th goal of the season was not enough as a wasteful Liverpool performance was punished at the death in another timely blow to their top-four chances.
Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle
Premier League (33), Anfield
April 24, 2021
That last time Liverpool left the pitch there were question marks over whether their draw would mean anything, fast-forward five days and Newcastle’s visit was a must-win in the top-four race.
And a sun-laden Anfield provided the back-drop as sporting jeopardy was placed back on centre-stage, where all-out attack was opted for by Jurgen Klopp as the fab four started.
Two of whom combined to hand the Reds the ideal start against a Newcastle side initially intent on sitting behind the ball, as Sadio Mane‘s jink and cross deflected into the path of Salah.
It was then all Egyptian magic, with a clean touch, swift twist and thunderous finish ensuring the ball was in the net before Martin Dubravka had time to blink, it was his 29th of the season.
The game then opened up with chances aplenty for both sides. Alisson and Ozan Kabak proved decisive at the back, with Liverpool’s forward-heavy lineup providing space while Trent Alexander-Arnold was culpable of sitting too deep to keep the Magpies onside.
But Liverpool ought to have been out of sight by the break had it not been for woeful finishing which bordered on hilarity, with Mane, Salah and Jota all wasting glorious clear-cut chances – Klopp’s jaw wasn’t the only one on the floor.
Half time: Liverpool 1-0 Newcastle
- Fab four start together for third time this season
- Salah becomes first Red to hit 20 goals in a Premier League season for the third time
- Final scoreline fails to reflect Reds’ abundance of chances
- Reds remain out of the top-four after a late costly collapse
The match picked up from where it left off after the interval in both its openness and sloppiness with teammates at times just as hard to find as the net for the Reds.
And an early warning and notice of their narrow lead would come from Joelinton with Alisson pulling out a timely save after asking the striker to pick his spot.
Chances would continue to arrive but the ending would be no different, with Salah, Alexander-Arnold and Milner all peppering the goal without being able to put the final nail in Newcastle’s coffin.
And while Liverpool should have been out of sight, they would fail at the end with a costly strike from Joe Willock after having just survived a fright after Callum Wilson’s goal had been ruled out for handball.
A costly yet deserved lesson in not seizing their moments in front of goal, now a trip to Old Trafford awaits next week.
TIA Man of the Match: Thiago
Referee: Andre Marriner
Subs not used: Adrian, N.Williams, R.Williams, Tsimikas, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri
Newcastle: Dubravka; Fernandez, Clark (Willock 65′), Dummett; Murphy, S.Longstaff, Shelvey, Ritchie; Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton (Wilson 60′)
Subs not used: Gillespie, Krafth, Lewis, Manquillo, Hendrick, Gayle, Carroll