Liverpool momentarily moved top of the Premier League table as they won 1-0 at Newcastle to keep their quadruple hopes on track.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
Naby Keita’s first half goal was the difference as Jurgen Klopp made plenty of changes to his starting lineup but the players who came in didn’t skip a beat.
Newcastle barely had a chance throughout the game as Liverpool were totally dominant and put the pressure back on Manchester City in the title race.
With the win Liverpool move on to 82 points, as they are two points ahead of Man City but have played a game more. Newcastle remain on 43 points.
Newcastle vs Liverpool final score, stats
Newcastle 0-1 Liverpool
Goals scored: Keita 19′
Shots: Newcastle 4, Liverpool 24
Shots on target: Newcastle 2, Liverpool 10
Possession: Newcastle 34, Liverpool 66
Three things we learned from Newcastle vs Liverpool
1. Squad rotation works perfectly: Alexander-Arnold, Salah, Fabinho and Thiago were all left out and Liverpool didn’t skip a beat. Keita, Milner, Gomez and Jota all came in and did their job with minimum fuss and the strength of this Liverpool squad is scary. They do have a clear starting XI but the players who are rotated in and out of the lineup don’t have an impact on the level of the team. At all. Liverpool’s squad is all-in and they’ve found the perfect balance of players who know they will play every other game and are totally fine with it.
2. Newcastle didn’t turn up: The Magpies have been flying and had nothing to lose but they played like they did. Eddie Howe’s side just didn’t turn up. Plain and simple. The 1-0 scoreline was flattering as they were dominated and barely create a chance. That is very unlike Newcastle in recent months. Many believed Liverpool were the for the taking given all of their changes but we never really found out. It was like Newcastle’s players just believed they would turn up and win yet another game. In reality, Liverpool just outworked them all over the pitch.
3. First of many nervy games: This is the sign of things to come, Liverpool fans. No matter how much they dominate games like this in the final few weeks of the campaign, the pressure will be on and they may not run away with wins. There is a control about this Liverpool side which is very reassuring for fans but they did waste a lot of chances in their last few wins. Will those chances dry up? Probably not. But if teams go for it more than Newcastle did, they may get caught out in their four remaining games against Tottenham, Villa, Southampton and Wolves.
Man of the Match: Naby Keita – Never stopped running, popped up with the important goal and helped Liverpool totally dominate.
Reds fly out of the traps
Naby Keita saw his deflected shot fly just wide as Liverpool started really well and Jota and Diaz popped up everywhere.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Liverpool continued to crank through the gears as a cross was cleared just before Mane was about to tap home but the offside flag went up anyway.
Keita keeps his composure
Newcastle weren’t able to keep hold of the ball for more than a few passes and soon they were behind.
The ball dropped to Naby Keita who controlled and took it past a few players before slotting home as Liverpool deservedly led. After a brief VAR check, the goal stood as Milner got to the ball first before Schar in the build-up and there was no foul.
There was then a big chance for Liverpool to double their lead as the ball found Mane after a counter led by Diaz, but his shot was straight at Dubravka and soon after a great stop from Dubravka denied Jota’s header.
Tight, tense second half
In the second half Liverpool had plenty of the ball but couldn’t find a second.
Substitute Mohamed Salah had a couple of chances on the break, while Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane both went close as they looked dangerous with direct balls over the top.
Newcastle just couldn’t get a foothold in the game and never really looked like equalizing.