- Liverpool back in front in PL title race
- Van Dijk’s header opened the scoring (13′)
- Atsu leveled it 7 minutes later | Salah for 2-1 (28′)
- Rondon levels it again (54′) | Origi wins it late (86′)
Liverpool guaranteed the Premier League title race will go down to the final day of the season with a 3-2 victory over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Saturday. As the final score suggests, it was anything but easy or straightforward for Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds.
Whether or not Manchester City beat Leicester City in their penultimate league fixture on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) will determine who takes the pole position into next Sunday’s simultaneous finales.
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The opening 45 minutes of between the Reds and Magpies were frantic and goal-filled.
Virgil Van Dijk opened the scoring with one of the easiest headed goals that any player will ever score (WATCH HERE), but Liverpool’s lead lasted just seven minutes before Christian Atsu drew the home side level. Trent Alexander-Arnold will actually have been thankful that Atsu scored his chance, because the Liverpool defender would have otherwise been sent off for the clearest of handballs to block a goal-bound shot. Had the rebound not fallen to Atsu, and perhaps had he missed with his follow-up shot, Liverpool would have played a man down for 70 minutes.
Mohamed Salah restored Liverpool’s lead just eight minutes later with a deftly placed finish from a really difficult position. The ball came in from Alexander-Arnold on the right, but was too high for Salah to strike it with power and too low to head it. Instead, he re-positioned himself ever so slightly and leaned back just as the ball arrived, expertly re-directing it inside the far post.
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The twists and turns weren’t finished, though — far from it, in fact.
Newcastle drew level again in the 54th minute, thanks to Salomon Rondo’s instinctual strike off the assist of another former Red, Javier Manquillo. It should have been little more than a half-chance, but the Venezuelan struck the ball ever so cleanly from near the penalty spot and Alisson could do nothing about it.
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Without last season’s PL Player of the Year, Liverpool struggled to create even a handful of chances from open play. Fortunately for Klopp, his side excels on set pieces. Divock Origi rose highest and got his head to Xherdan Shaqiri‘s free kick in the 86th minute.
Liverpool (94 points) will finish their title challenge when Wolverhampton Wanderers visit Anfield next Sunday. Man City (92, with a game still in hand), meanwhile, will be away to Brighton & Hove Albion.