Late drama at St James' Park sees Liverpool take the title race to the final day
A late own goal from Jamaal Lascelles kept Liverpool's title challenge alive after a thrilling 3-2 win over Newcastle at St James' Park.
Virgil van Dijk headed home from a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner after just 13 minutes before Christian Atsu levelled the score seven minutes later.
Mohamed Salah restored the advantage not long after with his 22nd league goal of the season but Salomon Rondon equalised midway through the second half.
The evening got worse for the Reds when Salah was carried off with a concerning head injury after a collision with Martin Dubravka. But with just five minutes remaining, Lascelles headed into his own net to hand Liverpool a vital win to send them back to the top of the table.
Jurgen Klopp had to do without Roberto Firmino for the trip to Tyneside and put his faith in Daniel Sturridge to lead the line, with Dejan Lovren back at centre-half.
But it was his defensive colleague van Dijk who made the difference early on to give the Jurgen Klopp's side the early advantage.
It was simple for the Dutchman as he escaped his marker and headed home completely unmarked from the corner. It was the 21st goal Liverpool had scored from a set-piece, highlighting their effectiveness from stop-ball situations and Newcastle's dreadful defending from set plays.
But Newcastle soon began to find their feet and after some hounding in Liverpool's half, they were back level.
Matt Ritchie's mishit shot found its way to Salomon Rondon and the Venezuelan's effort was blocked by Alexander-Arnold's arm on the line. But before Andre Marriner could act, Christian Atsu prodded home the rebound to draw level.
There were furious calls from the Newcastle bench for the full-back to be sent off, but under the rules, he would only have been allowed to be cautioned.
Newcastle's back three were carved open too easily as Alexander-Arnold's delivery found Salah. With a deft touch, he cushioned the ball into the far corner and it was a goal fitting of his undeniable class.
Klopp's men failed to defend at the corner as Rondon picked up the loose ball and fired past Alisson with a powerful effort from the edge of the box.
Klopp gave Xherdan Shaqiri a rare outing after being exiled for the second half of the season. But the German soon had bigger worries than the title race when his star man Salah was carried off on a stretcher with what appeared to be a serious head injury after an aerial clash with Dubravka.
But Liverpool summoned all of their energy and fighting spirit, and it was Salah's replacement Divock Origi who made the difference late on.
In came the free-kick from the right and the Belgian challenged Lascelles, forcing the captain to head past his own goalkeeper to hand the Merseysiders a massive goal in the title race.
Despite facing eight minutes of injury time, the Reds were determined to cling onto their lead and held out for a crucial three points, meaning we will go down to the final day of the season in this absorbing title race.
Leave a Reply