Liverpool pulled off the result most expected as they dominated Newcastle at Anfield, with Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s stunner polishing off a 3-1 win at Anfield.
Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle
Premier League (16), Anfield
December 16, 2021
Jota 21′ (assist – none)
Salah 25′ (assist – Mane)
Alexander-Arnold 87′ (assist – Firmino)
With games postponed across the Premier League and three players out with suspected cases, the looming threat of COVID-19 clouded Liverpool’s clash with Newcastle.
There were bright moments early on through Diogo Jota, while Mohamed Salah had the run on left-back Jamal Lewis, but it was the visitors who got the opener, Jonjo Shelvey capitalising on a shocking Thiago clearance to fire in from range.
Liverpool’s equaliser came not too long after, and it came in what Newcastle would deem controversial circumstances, with Jota powering it at the second time of asking while Isaac Hayden lay prone in the box.
Shelvey may have got the scoring underway, but he was then left apologising to his team-mates four minutes after the leveller, with his blind pass playing in Sadio Mane and, after his effort was blocked, Salah was on hand to fire home.
Things dipped massively for Newcastle after relinquishing the lead, with the rest of the first half resembling a title contender against a Championship side.
Liverpool could have gone in at the break at 3-1 up, with an exquisite pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain releasing Salah for a one-on-one, but with a defender closing in on him the No. 11 could only squeeze it wide with his right foot.
HT: Liverpool 2-1 Newcastle
The second half began what should have been a penalty to Liverpool after Jamaal Lascelles shoved Oxlade-Chamberlain down in the box, but referee Mike Dean and his VAR waved it away.
Nevertheless, the Reds remained in control despite Newcastle finding a more rigid shape, with a smart free-kick routine seeing Mane draw a save from Martin Dubravka.
As the game began to ebb, Jurgen Klopp turned to his substitutes’ bench – depleted in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones – and sent on the influential pair of Naby Keita and the returning Roberto Firmino.
Keita was busy in midfield, with his ability to glide across the pitch allowing him to thread a beautiful ball through for Mane who was snuffed out by Dubravka, before Jota’s shot was blocked on the line.
The clincher came via a stunning hit from the right-back Alexander-Arnold, stepping up from 30 yards and hammering home a strike Steven Gerrard would have been proud of.
TIA Man of the Match: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Referee: Mike Dean
Subs not used: Kelleher, Pitaluga, Gomez, Tsimikas, Williams, Minamino
Newcastle: Dubravka; Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lewis (Ritchie 15′); Hayden, Shelvey; Fraser (Willock 87′), Murphy, Saint-Maximin (Wilson 79′); Joelinton
Subs not used: Darlow, Clark, Hendrick, Longstaff, Almiron, Gayle