For the second weekend in a row Liverpool will spend the majority of it in 2nd place after they recorded a comfortable 2-0 victory over Rafael Benitez’ Newcastle United at Anfield. Goals from Mohamed Salah (obviously) and Sadio Mane were enough to ensure that Liverpool’s fantastic run of form will continue into a big week of fixtures.
There was always the worry going into this game that we would perhaps show Rafa too much respect because of the mutual fondness that he and the supporters have for each other. It’s certainly something that has been an issue in the past, shown by the disappointing 1-1 draw at St James’ Park back in early October.
It looked to be a similar kind of game to the Swansea game in the first 40 minutes of the match as Newcastle set up with five at the back and a mentality of just putting everything behind the ball and stopping Liverpool from injecting any pace into the game.
The deadlock was finally broken however when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain drove through the heart of the Newcastle wall and played in Salah. The Egyptian had earlier taken too long in taking a very similar opportunity but this time he made no mistake as he finished with the kind of confidence that scoring 31 goals in all competitions this season will give you. 32 goals now. There is just no stopping the man.
Newcastle were not without chances of their own as a fantastic acrobatic save from Loris Karius in stoppage time of the first half was all that stopped Mohamed Diame from levelling the game and maybe giving Newcastle real belief that they could get something from the game.
The lead was doubled and the game put relatively out of sight however as one of the most beautiful passages of play this season (up there with Emre Can’s goal vs Hoffenheim all the way back in August) finished with Roberto Firmino playing in Sadio Mane who finished like a man who was finally finding his rhythm again after a challenging season.
After that there were no scares or anything. If anything the score should have been even more. More of the same for the Reds really. Not much else to say (other than that Jamaal Lascelles definitely should have been sent off for denying Salah what would have almost certainly been a 33rd goal of the season).
Now on to a very big week (as stated early) that sees Jurgen Klopp’s side take on FC Porto in the second leg of the Champions League last 16 and Manchester United in the league next Saturday which could be one of the deciding fixtures in the race for 2nd place. See you then!