June 29, 2022

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Liverpool moved top of the Premier League table and continued their chase for a historic quadruple with a narrow 1-0 win over Newcastle at St James’ Park.

Three days on from their 2-0 victory over Villarreal in the Champions League semi-final first leg, the Reds moved two points clear of Manchester City, who face Leeds live on Sky Sports later on Saturday, courtesy of Naby Keita’s first-half strike (19).

Newcastle felt aggrieved by the goal, feeling James Milner should have been penalised for a foul on Fabian Schar in the build-up, but replays showed he won the ball fairly and Keita capitalised with a composed finish after exchanging passes with Diogo Jota.

Liverpool fielded a much-changed team as Jurgen Klopp rested Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara but still succeeded in dominating possession and limiting the hosts to few chances.

They were unable to extend their lead, however, with Sadio Mane going closest when he fired narrowly wide in the second half and Jota, Luis Diaz and substitute Salah also spurning chances.

Newcastle occasionally threatened an equaliser on the break, ensuring a nervy finale for the visitors, but Klopp’s men held on to make it three consecutive wins in the Premier League and keep the pressure on City as a thrilling title race continues.

Player ratings

Newcastle: Dubravka (8), Krafth (7), Schar (6), Burn (7), Targett (7), Guimaraes (7), Shelvey (6), Saint-Maximin (6), Willock (6), Almiron (6), Joelinton (6).

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Subs: (n/a)Lascelles (6), Wood (6), Murphy (5).

Liverpool: Alisson (7), Gomez (7), Matip (7), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (7), Keita (8), Henderson (7), Milner (7), Jota (8), Mane (6), Diaz (7).

Subs: Salah (6), Fabinho (6), Thiago (6).

Man of the match: Naby Keita.

How Liverpool edged to victory

Newcastle made an aggressive start as they sought to extend a run of six consecutive wins at St James’ Park, putting Liverpool under pressure high up the pitch, but the visitors soon settled.

Keita sent a deflected effort narrowly wide and there were also early half-chances for Jota and Virgil van Dijk, who sent first-time shots high and wide from inside the Newcastle box.

Team news

  • Fabian Schar, Jonjo Shelvey and Miguel Almiron returned to Newcastle’s starting line-up having dropped out against Norwich last time out.
  • Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara were rested for Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp rotated his side.

The opener came soon afterwards and it arrived in controversial circumstances, with Newcastle calling for a foul after Milner won possession from Schar in the build-up, although replays showed referee Andre Marriner was correct to allow play to continue.

From there, Liverpool worked the ball out to Keita, who played a smart one-two with Jota and kept his composure to cut inside from the left and round Martin Dubravka before slotting home his first goal since October.

Newcastle could muster little in response in the first half but thought they had levelled when Miguel Almiron rounded Alisson Becker and fired home, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

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But Liverpool continued to dominate, with the busy Dubravka denying Mane from a Luis Diaz cut-back, then pushing a Jota header over the bar from Henderson’s right-wing cross.

Liverpool's Naby Keita makes it 1-0
Image: Liverpool’s Naby Keita scored his first Liverpool goal since October

The second half continued in much the same vein, with Andrew Robertson causing an angry reaction from Klopp on the touchline when he opted to shoot with Dubraka off his line when others were better placed to score.

Mane then fired a guilt-edged chance narrowly wide from a Joe Gomez cut-back and there were further missed opportunities from Salah, who had to settle for a 21-minute cameo, and the lively Diaz, who fired into the side netting.

Newcastle had occasional openings at the other end, with Allain Saint-Maximin proving a dangerous outlet for the hosts, but the Frenchman’s decision-making let him down at key moments.

Bruno Guimaraes did succeed in testing Alisson in the Liverpool goal, but the Brazilian saved his countryman’s long-range effort comfortably as the Reds, who have already lifted the Carabao Cup this season and face Chelsea in the FA Cup final, continued their efforts to win an unprecedented quadruple.

Liverpool’s fixture schedule:

May 3 – Villarreal (a) Champions League SF second leg

May 7 – Tottenham (h) Premier League

May 10 – Aston Villa (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 14 – Chelsea (Wembley) FA Cup final

May 17 – Southampton (a) Premier League, live on Sky Sports

May 22 – Wolves (h) Premier League

May 28 – Champions League final *

*Subject to progress

What’s next?

Liverpool will look to secure their place in the Champions League final as they play Villareal on Tuesday in the semi-final second leg.

Sunday 8th May 4:00pm Kick off 4:30pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD Sky Sports Premier League HD

Newcastle have a tough task ahead as they face current Premier League champions Manchester City next Sunday. The game will be live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; Kick off 4:30pm.

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