Liverpool v Newcastle United: Matchday blog
The full story from Anfield as Liverpool claimed a 2-0 win over Newcastle United in the Premier League.
- Salah's 32nd of the season opened the scoring (40mins)
- Mane doubled lead early in second half (55mins)
- Reds rose to second in Premier League table
The manager's verdict...
... is in. Klopp discussed the manner of the win, Karius' pivotal save before half-time, Salah's incredible scoring exploits and more with the media after the final whistle.
Click here to read a summary of his assessment.
Here's what that result has done for the league table...
The final facts and figures on a job well done...
Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle
Goals in either half from Salah and Mane secure a fourth consecutive win for the Reds and move Klopp's side up to second in the Premier League table.
Three minutes added on at Anfield.
The final change sees Matip replace Firmino.
Newcastle replace Murphy with Perez.
As Klopp's men seek to put the game to bed, Henderson fires a low attempt from 20 yards that takes a nick en route to goal and bobbles wide for a corner.
Into the last 10 minutes at Anfield and the visitors are enjoying a decent period of pressure, but Liverpool remain on course for second place in the Premier League...
Another change for the Reds. Milner is introduced against his old club, in place of Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Lallana replaces Mane for Liverpool.
Hayden on for Merino for Newcastle.
Half-chance for Van Dijk as Lovren nods Salah's back-post corner to his defensive partner but the effort on the turn is deflected away from goal.
Joselu replaces Gayle for Newcastle.
A happy Mane.
Liverpool at their clinical best.
Firmino carries the ball to the edge of the box and slides a neat assist into Mane's supporting run and the Senegal international's precise finish around Dubravka is perfect.
The game is getting stretched now and Oxlade-Chamberlain drives through the centre after Henderson turns over possession, with options to either side, but his pass into Firmino fails.
Big claims for a penalty as Salah sends a side-footer towards the bottom right corner at the Kop end and Lascelles blocks it with his arms. The referee waves those shouts away.
Salah threatens to punish Newcastle a second time as he scampers free in behind to collect an inviting knock over the top. He is crowded out inside the box, however.
We're back under way...
The key stats from that first half...
Liverpool 1-0 Newcastle
Salah strikes for a seventh match in a row to earn the home side a slender advantage at the interval at Anfield.
Karius ensures Liverpool retain their lead with a crucial reach from Diame's curler. The Magpies midfielder struck from 20 yards and the German reacted superbly to get his right hand on the shot.
Goal No.32 of the season for the unstoppable Salah.
A lucky bounce in the middle of the park allows Oxlade-Chamberlain to drive into space and the Englishman waits for the right time to feed the forward, who coolly clips beyond Dubravka.
Salah swerves in a brilliant corner from the right hand side, just as he did for the opener a week ago, and Dubravka misjudges his dive but nobody in red is able to take advantage. A let-off for Newcastle.
Liverpool finally create a genuine clear chance and Salah is somehow thwarted.
Can's pressing forced an error high on the left flank and the ball was moved to Firmino in the centre and then Salah in a shooting position - but the No.11 is tackled as he tries to shimmy inside the recovering defenders.
And from the resulting corner, Lovren sees two headers blocked at the back post - first by Dubravka and immediately again by Merino.
There's very little room for the Reds to work with and when Oxlade-Chamberlain does thread a nice pass from the middle into Alexander-Arnold's right-wing run, the delivery is headed clear.
Alexander-Arnold whips a good free-kick into the Newcastle box and Can climbs highest to flick the ball in search of the left corner but ultimately off target.
An old friend in the opposition dugout.
Can finds Salah with an inviting knock over the Magpies defence and the Egyptian attempts an ambitious smack from the left side of the area - but it's into the side-netting. Decent effort from the forward, though.
Salah raises an appeal for a penalty as he fires off a shot from Robertson's cross and the ball hits Dummett's hands and face. Nothing given.
The early exchanges
Unlucky. Henderson tries to pick out Mane's dash into the box with a cute diagonal from the left channel but Dubravka is out quickly to claim before the No.19 can connect.
Half a sight of goal for Mane inside the area after Lascelles misses a cross from the right, but the Newcastle centre-back recovers to retrieve the ball before the Liverpool man can shoot.
Analyse today's game as it happens with our lovely Opta chalkboard...
A peep from the referee's whistle and we're under way!
We're almost ready
The teams are on the turf and kick-off is moments away...
A reminder of the line-ups...
As it stands...
Tottenham's 2-0 victory over Huddersfield this afternoon means the Reds have dropped down to fourth ahead of kick-off. A win would move Klopp's men up to second, however.
Dressing room set
The players have arrived at Anfield...
Klopp explains his team selection
Here's the manager on the reasons for making two changes...
"[It's] to keep them all going. They are all in good shape. Millie got a knock in the last game; he is in really good shape so we thought long about what he could do. But we have 11 100 per cent fit players so we should not risk anything. That's the reason."
Team news – two changes for LFC
Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren come into the Liverpool XI for today's clash with Newcastle, with James Milner and Joel Matip dropping to the bench.
Reds team: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Salah, Firmino.
Subs: Mignolet, Milner, Gomez, Moreno, Lallana, Solanke, Matip.
This time last week, the Reds were setting about beating West Ham United 4-1 and breaking through the 100-goal barrier for the season. Enjoy the best of the action again below...
We'll have the confirmed line-ups for you at 4.30pm GMT. Here's what we do know already, though...
Georginio Wijnaldum and Ben Woodburn are doubts due to ongoing illness, while the Reds were checking on James Milner after the vice-captain sustained a knock last weekend.
Jonjo Shelvey will not feature against his former club due to a knee injury, but Benitez expects to have Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie available.
The scene is set...
This week's snow is no match for Anfield's ground staff...
Newcastle United: 14/1
Fancy a flutter? Click here.
Some pre-match stats for you now, factoid fans...
- Liverpool are two goals short of recording 200 in the Premier League under Jürgen Klopp
- The Reds have bagged more Premier League goals against Newcastle than anyone else (89)
- At Anfield, Liverpool are unbeaten in the last 21 top-flight clashes with the Magpies - winning 17 and drawing four
- A victory in this game will see Liverpool record a 300th Premier league win at Anfield
- If Mohamed Salah scores today, he will have struck in 19 different Premier League fixtures to equal the club record held by Robbie Fowler (1994-95) and Daniel Sturridge (2013-14)
So, here we go then. Your official Liverpoolfc.com weather report - the update that brings you to this blog in your droves.
Well, it's a cold one. A very cold one. There was some light snow in Liverpool overnight, but it's fading as we type and there's no further precipitation expected until much later tonight.
That said, the temperature is currently one degree, although it's due to rise to two degrees come kick-off - though it'll feel more like minus two.
So, wrap up. Wrap up very warm.
'The smart choice'
Moving away from today's game for a brief moment and Jürgen Klopp has put forward Andy Robertson as a candidiate for the Scotland captaincy.
“He’s a left-back and if you want someone smart he’s a really good option. He was in the team before he was even in the team if you understand. He had a close relationship with all of the boys here from the start so you could see he would be leading in the future. Scotland cannot make a mistake choosing Robbo."
Read all about it...
And here is the front cover of that aforementioned matchday programme, featuring Bobby Firmino. Get your copy at Anfield today, in official club stores or online by clicking here.
'The right kind of aggression'
Jürgen Klopp has used his matchday programme notes to explain why he wants to see anger from his Liverpool players in the remainder of this season - but only the right kind.
“So, as with aggression, I want my players to display the positive traits of being angry. It means don’t be satisfied, don’t be complacent, don’t think the job is done. Stay focused, stay hungry, stay alert, stay aggressive. View each game as a battle to be won. View each opponent as being someone who is coming to take something away from you, that you desperately want and need. In each game we want the win – don’t forget that so do the other guys, they want it just as much – and this should keep you angry as a sportsperson."
'Collymore closing in...'
Liverpool - Newcastle matches conjure up some classic memories from over the years - not least, of course, that 4-3 thriller back in April 1996.
A little short of 22 years on (wow, where has the time gone?), we've put together a clip of key figures from that night offering their recollections.
Watch it below.
'We can't afford any slip-ups'
The ever-affable Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sat down with Liverpoolfc.com at Melwood this week to talk all things LFC.
One topic on the agenda was Newcastle's visit to Anfield and our No.21 was eager to stress why the Reds simply cannot afford any ease-up as they chase a top-four finish.
“Ultimately, it’s a game that we’re going to go out there and be really positive with and be looking to win. But we have to do the right things, the hard stuff, work hard and match them physically because it is getting to that point where everyone is battling for their own targets and challenges – and Newcastle will be battling hard."
You can read more from him here, or watch the interview in our clip below.
The manager's thoughts
Jürgen Klopp previewed today's game at his regular pre-match press conference at Melwood on Friday afternoon.
Missed it? Fear not! You can watch it again in full - and for free - below.
Attending today's game?
The club has issued some important travel advice for those travelling to and from today's Anfield clash due to the weather.
Welcome back, Rafa
So, as mentioned, today sees Rafael Benitez return to Anfield as he brings his Newcastle side to L4.
The Spaniard is revered by Liverpool supporters for his six-year spell at the helm. Between 2004 and 2010, Benitez took charge of 350 games, winning 197 of them.
In his first season, he guided the Reds to number five as, against all odds, the Champions League was lifted in dramatic circumstances in Istanbul. A year later, the FA Cup was added to the trophy cabinet, while the 2008-09 season saw Liverpool go close to clinching the league title.
Good day to you
Greetings and happy Saturday to one and all, readers.
We're back, which means it's matchday and Liverpool take on Newcastle United later today in a 5.30pm GMT kick-off at Anfield.
With 10 games to go in the Premier League season and the Reds currently sitting in third, there's no room for any let-up as we chase a Champions League berth.
Of course, today's game is particularly significant as we welcome Rafael Benitez back to Merseyside - and if one thing is certain today, it's a warm welcome for our former boss.
So, sit back, relax and stay with us throughout the day* as we bring you all the build-up, action, reaction and much more to tonight's game.
* Unless you're going to the game, then wrap up warm because it's absolutely freezing... more on that a little later in our ever-popular live blog weather update.