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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Liverpool prove they are in the top four race after inspired victory over Newcastle United

Liverpool managed to get back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the first time since the back end of December as they defeated high flying Newcastle United who occupy the last Champions League place.

Goals from Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo in the first 17 minutes put Liverpool in the driving seat until Nick Pope was sent off for the home side for a handball far out of his area, which strangely did not play into Liverpool’s hands as Newcastle fought back but The Reds held on for the three points.

Liverpool only moved up to eighth place but are now just six points off the top four with a game in hand on Newcastle.

In the opening stages of the game it appeared that Eddie Howe’s side were going to come at Liverpool on the front foot as Miguel Almiron had a massive chance to give the Carabao Cup finalists the lead but Alisson came up trumps for Jurgen Klopp’s men yet again.

Then on the tenth minute mark Liverpool’s first adventure up the field let to the opening goal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold found Darwin Nunez with a lovely floated ball in-between two defenders and he brought it down to finish ruthlessly past Nick Pope.

The away end which is on top of the world will have felt exactly that.

Seven minutes later the second goal came and it was Merseyside derby hero Cody Gakpo who got on the end of Mo Salah’s delightful reverse pass before he finished well, just like Nunez.

The move all started from Stefan Bajcetic’s ice cold composure in his own third as his little dummy sent Liverpool on their way.

Another goal for the new man, which emphasises how amazing what a bit of confidence can do.

In the blink of a eye The Reds were making a mockery of Newcastle’s attempt to replace them in the top four and it looked like it was about to get embarrassing for Howe as Alisson found Salah running through on goal.

Pope thought it was a good idea to come a long way out of his box and then when he did he fell on the ball deciding to handball it therefore getting himself sent off.

The red card also means that he will be suspended for the Carabao Cup final next week whilst back-up goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who came on, is cup-tied so it looks likely that it will be former infamous Liverpool man Loris Karius in goal for his first competitive game in two years.

Football, it is a funny old game.

Howe’s men regrouped after the red and had nothing to lose so threw everything they could at the side attempting to hunt them down with Alisson needed to stop Allan Saint-Maximin and also the bar was rattled by Dan Burn in the first half.

In the second 45 minutes the same pattern continued but it seemed obvious that Klopp’s men were slightly holding back due to Real Madrid being on Tuesday plus they didn’t need to go gung-ho, they were two up against ten men why would they?

Alisson was needed on a couple more occasions proving why he is one of the best in the world and he did manage to keep his clean sheet.

The Reds should have really added to their goal tally with Diogo Jota rounding Dubravka but scuffing his shot whilst Andy Robertson, who was immense, went through on goal but decided to square it instead of scoring.

One concern for Liverpool will have been Nunez having to go off through an shoulder injury with fears he may not be available for the gigantic clash against Carlo Ancelotti’s side who of course beat Klopp’s men in the Champions League final last season.

So revenge will be on the cards and Anfield will sure to be in a mesmerising mood but they will want Nunez on the pitch to invigorate them even more.

A fan favourite who is a threat and causes chaos, what isn’t there to love?

Gakpo is also now starting to get that reputation but with a bit more of a relaxed manor, crazy and calm; perfect duo.

Optimism?

It is growing.

Why?

Because the Liverpool of old look like they may possibly be slowly but surely returning.

Real Madrid next.

What a game to prove that they are!

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