Newcastle United v Liverpool: Live matchday blog
Liverpool won an epic contest at St James' Park by beating Newcastle United 3-2. Divock Origi scored a late winner to send the Reds top of the table after Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah had earlier efforts cancelled out by Christian Atsu and Salomon Rondon
And here's how the table is looking tonight...
The story of the game in Opta stats...
Newcastle United 2-3 Liverpool
Liverpool get the three points after an epic game at St James' Park.
Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah twice put the Reds in front, but Newcastle pegged them back via Christian Atsu and Salomon Rondon.
The visitors lost Salah to a head injury, too; however, Divock Origi headed in a late winner to send Jürgen Klopp's side back to the top of the table with one game to go.
Newcastle launch a corner into the box... they want a penalty... not given... this is tense... very, very tense...
Milner is booked and Newcastle have a free-kick is a dangerous position.
Eight added minutes to be played...
Newcastle have brought on Muto for Schar in an attacking change.
GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DIVOCK ORIGI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Liverpool are back in front as Shaqiri swings in a free-kick from the right and Origi heads it home.
3-2 to the Reds, but there'll be a substantial amount of stoppage-time to be played.
Atsu breaks into the area, but has his shot blocked by Alexander-Arnold.
Lovren is off, Milner is on.
Sturridge tries to play Origi in with a ball over the top, but it's too far ahead of him.
After a lengthy stoppage for treatment, Salah cannot continue and is carried from the field.
Origi is his replacement.
This is a worry, Salah is down after whacking his head on Dubravka's hip. He's being tended to by Liverpool's medical staff.
Liverpool change - Wijnaldum off, Shaqiri on.
Perez wriggles into space inside the Liverpool box and has a shot blocked.
Goal - Salomon Rondon
Newcastle are level once again as Rondon absolutely lashes a half-volley beyond Alisson after the hosts forced an attempted clearance from a corner back into the area.
It's 2-2 at St James' Park now/
Henderson's hook goalwards from Robertson's low ball is blocked on the edge of the six-yard box.
Sturridge blasts high over the bar when well positioned after Robertson's surge into the Newcastle box.
Rondon spins and shoots... saved by Alisson.
Salah scoops well wide right-footed from just inside the area.
Vital header from Lascelles prevents Sturridge from surely reaching and heading in Robertson's delivery from the left.
Back under way...
Jordan Henderson re-starts the game at St James' Park...
The story of the first half, as told by Opta stats...
Newcastle United 1-2 Liverpool
Liverpool lead after a breathless first half at St James' Park.
Virgil van Dijk headed the Reds into an early lead, but Christian Atsu levelled soon after.
However, Mohamed Salah swept in from Trent Alexander-Arnold's second assist of the evening so far to restore the visitors' advantage.
Manquillo booked for stopping an attempted quick throw-in by Henderson.
Two minutes of added time to be played at the end of the first half...
Rondon shoots low from the edge of the area, but it's a comfortable take for Alisson.
Robertson is sent raiding down the left, but his ball towards a packed area is cleared by Manquillo.
Mane and Salah play a one-two to open up Newcastle and the former goes clean through, but his shot is saved by Dubravka.
Mohamed Salah has scored his 100th league goal in European top-flight football, with 56 of those coming in the Premier League (also 35 in Italian Serie A and nine in Swiss Super League).
GOAL! MOHAMED SALAH!
Liverpool are back in front - and it comes courtesy of the Premier League's top scorer.
Sturridge back-heels to Alexander-Arnold on the right, who sweeps in a cross that Salah turns home from 12 yards out.
2-1 to the Reds at St James' Park now.
Newcastle are on top now and Perez is a whisker away from giving them the lead as he controls a bouncing ball in the box and cracks a half-volley against the crossbar.
Newcastle have stirred - and Alisson needs to keep out Manquillo's diving header.
Goal - Christian Atsu
Newcastle are level - and Liverpool will be disappointed with that goal.
A ball from the right finds Ritchie unmarked at the back post. He vollies back across the face of goal, where Rondon turns it towards the net. It's blocked on the line by Alexander-Arnold, but Atsu is on hand to stab in and level up the score.
Alexander-Arnold is the second defender with 10+ Premier League assists this season, also Andy Robertson (11).
Liverpool have scored a league-high 17 headed goals this season.
Sturridge almost slides Mane clean through on goal, but our No.10's first touch is too heavy.
GOAL! VIRGIL VAN DIJK!
Liverpool are in front as Van Dijk arrives to meet Alexander-Arnold's corner unmarked and plant a close-range header beyond Dubravka.
Another half-chance for Salah, but this time Ritchie's challenge deflects our No.11's effort behind.
The game's first chance falls to Liverpool.
Sturridge's wonderful pass sends Mane speeding down the left, but he's halted by a fine challenge from Schar.
Nevertheless, the Reds work it back into the box and Salah - eventually - skims the side netting with a half-volley.
Liverpool beginning to settle now.
Our apologies, we've suffered a few early connection problems inside St James' Park; however, they seem to be resolved now, touch wood.
There's been little to report in these early stages, anyway.
And we're off!
Come on you Reds!
Inside the dressing room...
Here's how Opta expect the sides to line-up tonight...
Four changes for Liverpool at St James’ Park as Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren come in for Naby Keita, James Milner, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is on the bench, but Roberto Firmino misses out due to the slight muscle strain sustained recently.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Mane, Salah, Sturridge.
Subs: Mignolet, Milner, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Origi, Matip.
Van Dijk on the mic
The pre-match media obligations are handled by the big man tonight.
Former Reds Jan Molby and Sander Westerveld are currently in conversation inside the St James' Park press room.
...which reminds us...
It's time for your official Liverpoolfc.com weather update!
So, while the sun might be out in the north east, take it from us - your trusty scribes - it's not warm.
A quick check of our travel thermometer shows nine degrees, but we're hearing that will dip ahead of kick off - maybe settling around the seven degree mark.
Thankfully, though, rain is unlikely, but it is pretty windy.
So, we suggest something a little more substantial than your lightweight spring/summer jackets today.
As always, hats, scarfs and gloves are optional.
The final touches are being applied at St James' Park, where it looks a lot warmer than it actually is...
Pepe loving Alisson
Alisson Becker can set a new Liverpool record tonight.
A clean sheet in the north east would be the Brazilian's 21st shutout in the Premier League this season.
It would eclipse the 20 Pepe Reina recorded in the 2005-06 season and again in 2008-09.
And the Spaniard is hoping history is made by the summer arrival.
"I'm fancying him to do it," Reina told Liverpoolfc.com.
"It's the goalkeepers' union as we say. We have mutual respect for each other and I admire him because he's not just a goalkeeper, but a great goalkeeper in a club that I love."
Click here to read Reina's breakdown of our current shot-stopper.
Did you know?
Liverpool could equal two impressive club records in tonight's match.
A win at St. James' Park would be their 13th away from home in the league this season - a feat last achieved by the Reds in the Second Division in 1904-05.
A clean sheet, meanwhile, would preserve their tally of 10 league goals conceded on the road, which would match the record of Bob Paisley's team in 1975-76.
On this day
Is this a lucky omen for Liverpool?
It was 45 years ago today that the Reds beat Newcastle 3-0 in the 1974 FA Cup final to lift the trophy for the second time in the club's history.
What are the odds?
Here are BetVictor's match prices for today...
Newcastle - 17/2
Draw - 21/5
Liverpool - 4/11
Click here for more details.
U18s end season with late win
There's a victory in the bag for Liverpool already today, with Fidel O'Rourke's 87th-minute goal enough to secure a 1-0 result for the U18s against Middlesbrough.
Barry Lewtas' team end the season level on points with Derby County in U18 Premier League North - but behind on goal difference.
Click here to read our match report.
There's a familiar, cherished face in the opposition dugout today, of course, but the man who guided Liverpool to glory in the 2005 Champions League must focus on his own team now.
"We are professional and have to do our job," said former Reds boss Benitez at his pre-match preview.
"My relationship with the city of Liverpool, the club and the fans is there. At the same time, I have been to play Liverpool with Chelsea, with Newcastle, and we have to do our job.
"We have 52,000 in our stadium and it is the last home game of the season. Everyone understands we are professionals - for everyone here, we want to win the game."
Liverpool require Manchester City to drop points in their final two games if they are to realise their Premier League title dream, but Virgil van Dijk insists the Reds should only focus on increasing their tally to 97 and not get hung up on events elsewhere.
"Anything is still possible," the centre-back told Premier League Productions.
"We have two games left; we'll try everything we can to win both games - that's the only thing we can focus on and if anything changes with Man City, it will be fantastic for us. If not, we end the season hopefully with 97 points and we did everything we could."
Here's a handful of key facts and figures ahead of kick-off...
- Liverpool have scored 95 goals against Newcastle in the Premier League era - more than against any other team
- There has not been a goalless draw in the last 65 league meetings between the teams
- In Liverpool's 10 previous games following Champions League matches this season, they have won eight and drawn two
- Victory over Newcastle and then Wolverhampton Wanderers on the final day would see the Reds equal the club record of 30 league wins in a single season
Last time out
Liverpool's last Premier League outing was eight days ago, when Klopp's men registered a 5-0 rout of Huddersfield Town at Anfield.
Relive the story of that one in Inside Anfield below...
Big interview: Gini Wijnaldum
Ahead of the return to his former club, Georginio Wijnaldum sat down with Liverpoolfc.com to discuss the challenge of facing Newcastle, delivering a response after the defeat against Barcelona, and the role he played at Camp Nou.
"It's a really important game because we need to get a win there to still have a chance to be champions at the end of the season, so that's one thing that makes it important - but also to bounce back from the defeat to Barca," he said.
"It's going to be really tough. I played there for one season and I know how they play against big teams, it's always difficult for good teams to win away games there.
"I know from experience that it's going to be really tough, so we have to be really conscious of that and give 100 per cent because otherwise it will be really difficult to win the game."
Click here to read the full interview with Wijnaldum, or watch the chat via LFCTV GO below.
Tale of the tape
Here are all the numbers you could possibly need about the two sides' Premier League seasons so far...
The manager's view
Catch up with everything Klopp had to say at his pre-match press conference with our full video from Friday's chat with the media at Melwood...
We hope you've been enjoying our series of Missing Men quizzes this season - and today's is sure to test your memory.
It takes you back to a 4-1 win for the Reds at St. James' Park in August 1998 inspired by a Michael Owen hat-trick.
Can you remember the full Liverpool starting XI? Click the graphic to reveal the answers...
Liverpool have been dealt a blow with the news Naby Keita will be sidelined for at least two months with an adductor injury sustained against Barcelona.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to come into the matchday squad for the trip to Newcastle.
On Roberto Firmino's availability for this game, Jürgen Klopp said: "We will see."
Newcastle are boosted by the return of top scorer Ayoze Perez and defender Jamaal Lascelles is also in contention again.
DeAndre Yedlin is likely to miss out due to a groin injury.
The last meeting
Liverpool were emphatic winners when these sides met earlier in the season, on Boxing Day at Anfield.
Lovren, Salah, Shaqiri and Fabinho got the goals - and you can enjoy the best of that game again below...
How it stands
A reminder of the title race situation, then.
Liverpool, who trail City by a point, go first this weekend with the reigning champions not in action until Monday night against Leicester City.
The Reds have to beat Newcastle to reclaim top spot today and put pressure on their rivals.
The penultimate Premier League match of the season sends Liverpool to Newcastle United for a reunion with Rafael Benitez at St. James' Park.
But fondness will be put to one side come 7.45pm BST as the Reds aim to once again overtake Manchester City at the summit with three points.
Stick with us throughout the day for build-up, live game updates and post-match reaction from the north east.