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Liverpool 4, Newcastle 0: First Thoughts

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Liverpool run out deserved winners on Boxing Day, and even manage to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League.

Liverpool FC v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Liverpool 4 - 0 Newcastle

Liverpool: Lovren 12’, Salah 47’ (pen), Shaqiri 79’, Fabinho 85’
Newcastle: N/A

  • Pre-match Thought: I hope the lads are less hungover than I am. Kloppo is choosing to rotate in the middle of the park instead of up top, keeping the attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane, and bringing in Xherdan Shaqiri and Georginio Wijnaldum for Naby Keita and Fabinho. Also, Trent Alexander-Arnold comes back in after his brief injury spell.
  • Really Rafa? Making us attack the Kop end first? Dick move, man. I thought we were cool.
  • Close call, as Van Dijk loses a rare aerial duel at the back stick, but thankfully Newcastle could not get the free header on target.
  • And now it’s our turn to miss a good chance! Shaqiri has a great chance in front of the goal but can’t react quick enough to turn the shot on target.
  • GOAL! Sloppy defending from Newcastle, but a phenomenal finish by Dejan Lovren. Robertson’s cross from a corner is a bit long, but it’s headed back into danger by Lascelles, and Lovren blasts a half volley into the top corner.
  • Liverpool have been very close to exposing the Newcastle defense with smart runs by Salah and Mane in behind, but have just come up short on a couple of occasions. Still, bodes well, especially as legs begin to tire.
  • Bobby’s going to go into the book if he’s not careful. He’s already been called for a few fouls after losing possession and trying to get it back.
  • Gini does well to win a free kick in a dangerous position, and Shaq steps up to take it. He does well to get the ball up and over the wall, but cannot beat the Newcastle keeper.
  • Halftime Thought: It was a good, if not great, first half but Liverpool are the deserved leaders at the break. Newcastle have remained composed since conceding, and don’t quite look ready to come after Liverpool to chase that goal. Not yet, anyhow. Another goal for the home side should wrap up all three points in the second half.
  • Penalty! For Liverpool! Amazing! Salah drives into the box and appears to be clipped and held. He goes down and actually earns a penalty for once! It’s a we bit soft, but he’s more than owed one.
  • GOAL!! Salah steps up and buries a low shot in the corner(ish). The keeper guessed the right way, but it was hit with such pace that it was past him before he could get down.
  • Mane fails to take advantage of Shaqiri winning the ball back high up the pitch. He’s caught in two minds whether to pass or shoot, and takes a moment too long before trying to squeeze it through traffic to Firmino at the back post.
  • Klopp makes his first change, deciding to keep the midfield fresh through this period. He brings on Fabinho for Gini.
  • Liverpool have played some lovely stuff around the box, but that last pass, touch, or finish has eluded them. It could easily be 3 or 4 at this point.
  • Firmino makes way for Daniel Sturridge with about 20 minutes to play.
  • GOAL!!! After a sustained period of build up and pressure, Liverpool finally nab their third. TAA plays a fantastic low cross for Shaqiri to attack, and the Swiss international finishes it off with a left-footed tap in.
  • With 10 to go, Robertson gets a well-earned rest, as Nathaniel Clyne comes on to replace him.
  • News of Leicester taking a 2-1 lead against City seems to have spread around the stadium, and the Kop reacts in full-throated song.
  • GOAL!!!! And now it’s a fucking party! Fabinho gets his head on the end of a corner, and there can be no doubt about the result today.
  • Mane isn’t having his best match, but he’s always entertaining. He just plucked a long pass from Lovren out of the air with a deft touch, and fired a hard shot just over the target. If only...
  • Alisson. My word. Makes a last ditch tackle outside the box, recovers, gets back in the box and makes a save to keep the sheet clean.
  • Final Whistle Thought: This holiday season just keeps on giving! It was a dominating performance from the Reds, and another City shocker allows Liverpool to extend their lead in first place.

We’ll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today’s game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven’t already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we’ll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.