Origi keeps Liverpool's title hopes alive with late winner in epic
Liverpool got the job done at Newcastle with a 2-3 victory over Rafa Benitez's side in a thrilling encounter. That said, Newcastle made them work for it and no one can question their commitment and desire to win this encounter. They have put the pressure on Manchester City and will go into the last day with it in their own hands unless City beat Leicester on Monday night as is expected by many.
It was a fast start to the contest and Newcastle put some good pressure on the away side in the first few minutes. Liverpool then woke up and had plenty of possession and territory and Alexander-Arnold saw a ball into Salah cut out by Lascelles. In the 11th minute, the away side had the first clear cut chance. Mane got the ball in space before being dispossessed by Schar. The Swiss then handed the ball straight back to the visitors on the edge of the box. Salah got on the end of a cross, but fired wide. He may have also used his hand. Two minutes later though, they took the lead.
Alexander-Arnold delivered the corner and Van Dijk, who was completely unmarked, headed in at the far post from just six yards out. Liverpool then settled down and looked very comfortable. Newcastle were struggling to get any meaningful possession and in fact, the Reds looked to be close to a second. Then, out of the blue, Newcastle equalised with 20 minutes on the clock.
Manquillo played a one-two with his compatriot Ayoze on the far side, Manquillo's cross was intended for Rondon but it went past him to Ritchie at the back post. Ritchie passed to Rondon whose shot was blocked on the line by Alexander-Arnold's arm, but Atsu tapped in the rebound. Had Atsu not scored, the Liverpool defender could have seen a red. The goal lifted the hosts and they then enjoyed their best spell of the whole game. Manquillo headed at Alisson and then Ayoze hit the crossbar with a stunning shot in the 26th minute which may well have touched Alisson's fingertips.
Liverpool then went back in front two minutes later against the run of play. Alexander-Arnold found Mane with a throw-in, he ran out of space by the by-line and produced a fabulous backheel back to Alexander-Arnold. His cross was sensational and Salah hit home with his weaker right foot. Liverpool nearly extended their lead shortly afterwards. Mane played a one-two with Salah which included the latter threading a great pass to Mane, but he was denied by Dubravka's leg. Sturridge then curled an effort wide 10 minutes before half-time.
Rondon tested Alisson from 25 yards out in the final chance of the half, but Liverpool went into the sheds a goal to the good.
After the break, except one Rondon effort, Liverpool were in command without having too many chances. Sturridge miscued an effort in the box and Henderson had a pop, but regardless of that, they looked to be very comfortable. However, nine minutes into the second period, Newcastle restored parity once again. Ki delivered the corner, it was half-cleared by Sturridge to a Newcastle player in the D, he then headed it back to Rondon who smashed the ball past Alisson. That sparked a reaction from Liverpool, but Newcastle were not giving in easily.
Both teams attacked and the game was very, very open. Atsu headed over the crossbar and two minutes later for Liverpool, the away fans had their hearts in their mouths. Mohamed Salah, their star man, tried to get on the end of a long man and Dubravka, who only had eyes for the ball, clattered into him with his body as he came out to clear. The Egyptian, who was in tears on the deck, had to leave on a stretcher after five minutes of treatment, but in the end, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Klopp's men.
The game looked to be heading towards a 2-2 draw with a well ordered Newcastle defence doing well to halt Liverpool's attempts to try and find and winner. However, Salah's substitute, Divock Origi, had other ideas. In the 86th minute, he got on the end of Alexander-Arnold's free-kick from the far flank to give Liverpool three crucial points. Ritchie was angry with the linesman for the award of the set-piece after Fabinho seemed to go down easily, but there was no going back.
The closing stages of the game became end to end as Newcastle threw everyone forward in search of an equaliser, but despite eight minutes being added on, they were unable to find the equaliser. A few balls, some of them more in hope, we sent into the box, but Alisson and the defence managed to clear the danger. Liverpool could not hide their delight at the final whistle against a Newcastle side who arguably deserved a draw. Jurgen Klopp's men now wait to see what happens at the Etihad on Monday and hope Leicester can do them an unexpected favour.