Liverpool breezes past Newcastle United

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  • Lovren scores in 1st half
  • Salah wins, converts penalty
  • Shaqiri, Fabinho add insurance

Liverpool clobbered Newcastle United 4-0 on Boxing Day at Anfield, moving six points clear of second place Tottenham Hotspur.

Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Fabinho scored for the Reds, who are now unbeaten in 20-straight Premier League matches. They have a seven-point advantage on third place Man City.

Newcastle is five points clear of the drop zone, but began a daunting run of fixtures at Anfield.

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Matt Ritchie supplied a terrific cross over the head of Virgil Van Dijk in the 8th minute, but Joselu failed to turn it on goal and Liverpool were off the hook.

The Reds quickly answered with a chance of its own, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane teaming up to find Xherdan Shaqiri. The Swiss midfielder missed the mark.

Lovren put Liverpool ahead when Jamaal Lascelles‘ poor clearance of an Andy Robertson cross was lashed into the top of the goal from 16 yards.

The Reds were off-and-running, with Anfield behind them, and it was all Martin Dubravka could do to stop Mane from making it 2-0 when the keeper sprawled in front of the Senegalese man’s effort.

Ritchie took a ball off of Robertson following a partially-cleared cross, stinging a shot wide of the far corner from 20_plus yards.

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Paul Dummett got a hold of Salah and the Egyptian wizard hit the deck to ask for a penalty. He got it, and converted, for 2-0 in the 48th.

Shaqiri then put it to bed — not like Newcastle looked in danger of scoring more than once in the half — when Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s smart pass along the six capped off a long spell of threats from the hosts.

Fabinho got in front of Mohamed Diame to finish the scoring.

Shaqiri, Liverpool overrun Manchester United

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  • Fabinho, Mane team up for terrific opener
  • Alisson gaffe cues up Lingard equalizer
  • Super sub Shaqiri scores two off the bench

Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of deflected second-half goals as Liverpool went back into first place with a 3-1 defeat of Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.

Sadio Mane scored the Reds’ other goal, as the leaders moved to 45 points. Jesse Lingard scored for Manchester United, now 11 points adrift of the Top Four.

Jose Mourinho kept Paul Pogba on the bench for the entire 90 minutes.

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Mohamed Salah dribbled Ashley Young into the grass with a cutback before earning a corner for Liverpool in the second minute.

Romelu Lukaku was pushed offside by Sadio Mane, making a free kick goal offside because the Belgian’s air kick rightly put off Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker.

The first half-dozen minutes were chaotic, with Liverpool claiming for a penalty at one end when Salah hit the deck and Alisson collected a long distance effort from United at the other.

Fabinho rocketed a shot wide with a partial deflection. Young then made a goal line clearance on the ensuing corner as Liverpool ravaged the Manchester United box.

Mane got Liverpool’s much deserved breakthrough when Fabinho sent a sensational ball over the top to meet the Senegalese striker, whose technical work in turning it past De Gea was top notch. It was Liverpool’s 11th shot attempt of the first 25 minutes.

There was such little danger from United, which makes the equalizer all the more stunning in our story. Lingard started a move to Lukaku, and Alisson couldn’t corral an easy ball. Lingard followed it up for 1-1.

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David De Gea made a fine low save and Young blocked Mane’s big at a rebound in the 53rd minute, as Liverpool took advantage of a waylaid Eric Bailly.

Liverpool had a pair of corner kicks around the 62nd minute, including a near miss by Dejan Lovren.

Fabinho stung a 30-yard shot at De Gea in the 71st minute, but the United keeper stayed with the swerve for a difficult catch made to look easy.

Mane then set-up the winner by cooking Ander Herrera on the left flank, cutting his effort toward goal. De Gea kicked it back atop the box, where Shaqiri zipped it off Young, then the cross bar, and finally into the goal.

Shaqiri then put it to bed with a second deflected goal, ripping this 81st minute effort off Bailly’s ankle and past a flying De Gea.

Liverpool eases past Fulham after controversial goal

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  • Mitrovic goal ruled offside, Salah quickly answers [ VIDEO ]
  • Shaqiri makes it 2-0

Liverpool went atop the Premier League table for the moment following a 2-0 win over Fulham at Anfield on Sunday.

Mohamed Salah scored 13 seconds after a Fulham goal was ruled offside, and Xherdan Shaqiri also scored as the Reds moved to 30 points.

That’s one point more than Man City, who hosts Manchester United at 11:30 a.m. ET, and three ahead of Chelsea ahead of the Blues 9:15 a.m. ET meeting with Everton.

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The first dozen minutes went as expected, as Liverpool mostly did what it wanted in attack. Xherdan Shaqiri was the closest to finding a finish with a 13th minute drive from the top of the box.

Mohamed Salah forced Sergio Rico into an in-tight save in the 16th, as the opener looked certain to arrive any moment. Rico stopped Salah again in the 22nd.

Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon turned Virgil Van Dijk inside out but blasted a shot inches wide of the far post for the Cottagers best chance of the half. Andre Schurrle was stymied by Alisson Becker before the half-hour mark.

Shaqiri missed with a 35th minute bid for the near post.

Then Fulham went from ahead to behind in a flash. Mitrovic headed a cross behind Alisson, and was quickly ruled offside (The margin was thin). Alisson restarted play, and Salah blazed down the right wing for a goal.

The change in fortunes was dramatic, and took 13 seconds.

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The Reds got a second goal in the 53rd minute when Shaqiri met a terrific back post cross from Andy Robertson with a composed finish across goal.

Liverpool was very much in control, but failed to add to its goal differential.

Liverpool leave Shaqiri out due to political reasons

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Xherdan Shaqiri will not play for Liverpool at Red Star Belgrade in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have decided against Shaqiri traveling with the squad due to the reception he may get in Serbia’s capital city due to his Kosvan-Albanian heritage. Serbia doesn’t recognize its former province Kosovo, where Shaqiri was born, as an independent state.

The situation could also be a little more dangerous due to Shaqiri scoring a late winner for Switzerland against Serbia in the 2018 World Cup and then celebrating by making a fluttering eagle symbol with his hands. That symbol was in reference to ethnic Albanians and Shaqiri was fined by FIFA, along with Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka and Stephan Lichsteiner, for making the gesture.

With reports that Shaqiri would be the subject of protests in Belgrade, it has been decided he will not travel.

“We have heard and read the speculation and talk about what kind of reception Shaq would receive and although we have no idea what would happen, we want to go there and be focused 100 per cent on football and not have to think about anything else, that’s all,” Klopp said. “We are Liverpool FC, a big club, a football team but we don’t have any message further than that. We have no political message, absolutely not. We want the focus to be on a great game of football, free from anything else.

“We are keen to be respectful and keen to avoid any distractions that would take focus away from a 90-minute-plus contest that is important for football and only football. So for that reason, Shaq is not involved and he accepts and understands this. Shaq is our player, we love him, and he will play for us a lot of times, but not on Tuesday.”

Liverpool control Cardiff, go top of table

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  • Two for Mane
  • Salah, Shaqiri star
  • Reds first to 26 points

Liverpool sits atop the Premier League, at least for a few days, after an easy win over Cardiff City on Saturday at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah had a goal and 2 assists, Sadio Mane scored twice, and Xherdan Shaqiri also scored as the Reds ran out 4-1 winners to reach 26 points on the season.

Cardiff remains 17th with five points, and got its goal from Callum Paterson.

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Liverpool opened up shop in the Cardiff City end to start the match, and the Bluebirds allowed the Reds three successive shots on target in the 10th minute.

Cardiff blocked two shots and got a piece of Salah’s effort that made it 1-0.

The Reds didn’t slow down, with Van Dijk hitting the post.

Cardiff backstop Neil Etheridge made an outstanding intervention to deny Salah and clear danger in the 15th.

Adam Lallana had a header cleared off the line at the final breath of the first half.

Cardiff bundled a ball over the line in the 52nd only to be denied by the offside flag.

Mane finally finished another Reds chance, turning twice and losing possession before hitting a left-footed rocket past Etheridge.

Cardiff did find a goal in the 77th minute through Paterson. Junior Hoilett‘s cross deflected off Virgil Van Dijk and Paterson poked it past Alisson Becker.

Liverpool restored its 2-goal lead when Salah slid in Shaqiri for a classy 84th minute finish, and took it to three through Mane’s clever chipped finish of a Salah set-up in the 87th.

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