By Score More Staff
Liverpool started 2024 on a high note as Mohamed Salah’s second-half brilliance secured a 4-2 victory over Newcastle United at a rain-soaked Anfield on Monday. The win propelled Jurgen Klopp’s team three points clear at the summit of the Premier League standings, with 45 points from 20 games.
Despite missing a first-half penalty, Salah’s two goals in the second half, along with contributions from Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo, secured the vital win for Liverpool. The victory not only showcased the team’s dominance but also highlighted Salah’s prowess, as he equaled Erling Haaland as the joint top scorer with 14 goals and shared the top assists spot with Ollie Watkins, both boasting eight assists.
Klopp expressed his delight with the team’s performance, describing it as a “sensational game.” The German manager praised his players for their lively start and exceptional counter-pressing, emphasizing the positive aspects of the game despite conceding goals.
Salah’s first-half penalty miss did not dampen his spirits, as he changed his boots at halftime, leading to a remarkable turnaround. In the 49th minute, Darwin Nunez set up Salah for a close-range finish, breaking the deadlock. However, Alexander Isak scored against the run of play for Newcastle in the 54th minute.
Undeterred, Liverpool regained control with Curtis Jones tapping in a goal in the 74th minute after a pass from Diogo Jota. Cody Gakpo added to the lead four minutes later. Sven Botman pulled one back for Newcastle in the 81st minute, but Salah sealed the win with a penalty in the 86th minute after Jota was fouled.
Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka’s stellar performance kept the visitors in the game, with Liverpool registering 18 shots in the first half alone. Despite missed early chances, including Trent Alexander-Arnold’s strike that sailed over the crossbar, Liverpool’s persistence paid off in the second half.
Salah, reflecting on the game, emphasized the importance of staying calm and winning every match. The Egyptian international acknowledged the team’s discussions in the dressing room at halftime, aiming to maintain composure and overcome missed opportunities.
Newcastle, now ninth on the table, has lost four of their last five league matches and faces a tough challenge against champions Manchester City on January 13 after their FA Cup third-round clash with Sunderland on Saturday.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe expressed disappointment with his team’s defensive performance and contested Salah’s second penalty, arguing that it should not have been awarded. Despite the contentious decision, Liverpool’s victory solidified their position at the top of the Premier League, setting the stage for an exciting title race in the coming months.