Liverpool’s Salah leads team to three-point lead in Premier League standings

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On January 2, 2024, Liverpool secured a 4-2 victory against Newcastle at Anfield, with Mohamed Salah scoring twice. This win propelled Liverpool to a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League table. Salah’s performance was particularly notable as he was playing in his final game before heading to the African Cup of Nations. Despite Newcastle’s efforts, they remain in ninth place and are 11 points off the top four, placing the spotlight on manager Eddie Howe.

Throughout the match, Liverpool displayed dominance, registering the highest expected goals ever in a Premier League game with a score of 7.53. Martin Dubravka, Newcastle’s goalkeeper, made 10 saves and even stopped Salah’s penalty in the first half. However, Salah redeemed himself by successfully converting a penalty later in the game. Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo also scored for Liverpool in the second half, contributing to Newcastle’s seventh defeat in eight games.

Liverpool now leads the Premier League, holding a five-point advantage over title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal. Aston Villa, unexpectedly, sits in second place. Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s manager, expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance, highlighting their liveliness and dominance, despite conceding goals.

Newcastle, on the other hand, continues to struggle. They remain in ninth place, 11 points away from the top four. The team has the second worst away record in the Premier League this season, earning just five points from 10 away games. Eddie Howe acknowledges the challenges the team faces, such as missing key players due to injuries and enduring a congested fixture schedule in December.

Dubravka, who has been deputising for the injured Nick Pope, has struggled, negatively impacting Newcastle’s form in recent weeks. However, despite the team’s difficulties, Dubravka put on an impressive performance, denying Darwin Nunez on multiple occasions and saving Salah’s penalty.

Liverpool’s pressure paid off early in the second half, as Nunez provided a pass for Salah to score a tap-in goal. However, Newcastle equalized against the run of play shortly after through Alexander Isak. Nunez had more chances but was unable to convert, leading Klopp to make substitutions. Diogo Jota and Gakpo, who came on as substitutes, played pivotal roles in securing the win for Liverpool. Jota assisted Jones for a tap-in goal, and Gakpo’s scuffed finish wrong-footed Dubravka. Although Botman’s header momentarily brought Newcastle within one goal, Liverpool’s victory was sealed with another penalty scored by Jota.

Overall, Liverpool’s victory against Newcastle served as a happy start to 2024 for the team. They extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table, while Newcastle’s struggles continue. The pressure on Eddie Howe as Newcastle’s manager intensifies.

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