Match reportLiverpool kick off 2024 with thrilling Anfield win over Newcastle
Liverpool moved three points clear at the top of the Premier League with a thrilling 4-2 win over Newcastle United at Anfield on Monday night.
Mohamed Salah scored twice and Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo were also on target as the Reds ushered in 2024 with an entertaining victory.
Salah had seen a first-half penalty saved by Magpies goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, with the visitors keeping the contest alive through Alexander Isak and Sven Botman in the second half.
Jürgen Klopp made four changes to the side that had started the Boxing Day win over Burnley at Turf Moor, with Jones, Ibrahima Konate, Dominik Szoboszlai and Luis Diaz all brought in.
Jarell Quansah, Ryan Gravenberch, Harvey Elliott and Gakpo dropped to the bench, which was bolstered further by the return from injury of Alexis Mac Allister.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez, Endo (Mac Allister, 76), Szoboszlai (Gravenberch, 64), Jones, Salah, Nunez (Gakpo, 64), Diaz (Jota, 64).
Unused subs: Kelleher, Quansah, Bradley, Chambers, Elliott.
Liverpool started the game well, with both Szoboszlai and Trent Alexander-Arnold having efforts inside the first three minutes.
Joe Gomez was needed to make a strong block to deny Lewis Miley, but Newcastle were grateful to goalkeeper Dubravka, as he saved well from Darwin Nunez before Jones’ follow-up was blocked by Fabian Schar.
Diaz saw a goal ruled out for an offside against Nunez, and Liverpool were then awarded a penalty when the Colombian was fouled by Botman. Salah, though, saw his kick saved by Dubravka, with Alexander-Arnold missing the rebound.
Jones twice went close, Konate headed off target and Dubravka denied Nunez as the home side dominated.
Newcastle did have a goal ruled out, with Isak offside before Dan Burn headed home, but Alexander-Arnold fizzed a spectacular volley against the post from an acute angle as Liverpool continued to pile forward without reward before the break.
After the interval it took the Reds fewer than four minutes to break through, with Diaz feeding Nunez in the box, allowing the Uruguayan to unselfishly square for Salah to tap home.
Liverpool threatened to run away with the game in the aftermath of the goal, with Dubravka denying Salah and Nunez twice in quick succession, but out of nowhere Newcastle hit back with an equaliser in the 54th minute as good work from Anthony Gordon released Isak, who coolly beat Alisson Becker in front of the Kop.
Dubravka was in action again as he clawed away Diaz’s effort, and Nunez headed just wide from Wataru Endo’s teasing cross.
Klopp made a triple change on 64 minutes, with Gakpo, Gravenberch and Diogo Jota all brought on for Nunez, Diaz and Szoboszlai, and almost immediately Gakpo became the latest player to be thwarted by Dubravka.
The Reds would hit the front with 16 minutes to go, though, as Salah and Jota combined superbly down the right, with the latter rolling the ball across for Jones to make it 2-1 into an empty net.
And Liverpool extended their advantage within four minutes as Salah sent in a delicious outside-of-the-boot ball from the right that was finished off by Gakpo.
Newcastle refused to lie down, however, and Botman set up a tense conclusion as he rose highest to head in Sean Longstaff’s corner with nine minutes remaining.
In a wild period, though, Mac Allister’s sublime pass then released Jota, who was fouled as he rounded Dubravka, allowing Salah to make it 4-2 from the spot and seal the points.