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Liverpool v Newcastle United

Bank on Liverpool! Salah's special and Alexander-Arnold's stunner keeps Reds flying in Premier League title race

3:48 AM IST 17/12/21
Roberto Firmino Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool 2021-22
Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah were also on target as the Reds continued to keep pace with Manchester City at the top of the table

This was a lot more fun than most would have expected.

The world may be an uncertain place at the moment, but there are some things you absolutely can rely on.

And Mohamed Salah is right at the top of that list.

The Liverpool star was at it again on Thursday, setting more records as the Reds beat Newcastle at Anfield to record an eighth-successive win in all competitions.

Salah’s goal helped secure a 3-1 win that was nervier than expected, given the Magpies’ relegation troubles. 

That’s 22 in all competitions this season for the Egyptian, who has now equalled Jamie Vardy’s record of having scored or assisted in 15 Premier League games in a row. A special player doing special things, week after week after week.

His latest wasn’t the most spectacular he’s scored, a follow-up finish after Sadio Mane had been denied by Martin Dubravka, but it was certainly important. In the end, and thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s late screamer, it gave Jurgen Klopp’s the points on a night they were far from their best.

If the Premier League is indeed set for a break - and it looks increasingly likely, with Covid beginning to wreak havoc on the festive fixture list - then this could prove a valuable win. On a night when Chelsea slipped up, held at home by an injury-ravaged Everton, Liverpool kept their motor running, despite seeing their own plans disrupted by a coronavirus outbreak ahead of the game.

They were without Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones, with all of them forced to isolate having returned suspected positive tests at the AXA Training Centre. 

With the rest of the first-team squad (and staff) returning negative tests on Thursday, Liverpool opted not to request a postponement, banking on their squad - and Salah - to do the business. 

He didn’t let them down, though Klopp’s side suffered an early scare when Jonjo Shelvey struck from 25 yards in front of the Kop. It wouldn’t, however, be the former Reds midfielder’s last big contribution to the scoring.

Liverpool’s levelled had a whiff of controversy about it, Diogo Jota forcing home Mane’s cross at the second attempt. Newcastle were furious as two of their players, Fabian Schar and Isaac Hayden, were down inside the penalty area at the time, but referee Mike Dean had little time for their protests. Schar and Hayden were able to carry on as normal once the game restarted.

Then came Salah’s moment, aided by Mane’s alertness and Shelvey’s sloppiness. The Newcastle man’s backpass was wayward, and Mane nipped in. Dubravka saved, but Salah did the rest. As usual.

It was left to Alexander-Arnold to settle the nerves after a low-key second half. The England right-back doesn’t score tap-ins, and his strike to settle the contest, three minutes from time, was one of his very best. It nearly ripped the net out of Dubravka’s goal.

And so Liverpool rock on. They have now scored in their last 32 games in all competitions, a club record, and look like they are ready to challenge Manchester City, again, for the Premier League title.

There may be bumps in the road to come, on and off the field, but as Klopp and his players celebrated at the final whistle, one thing was for sure.

You can bank on this Liverpool team. And you can most definitely bank on their Egyptian King.