Liverpool were frustrated by losing Premier League points to Newcastle United on Wednesday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side monopolized possession and carved out the best opportunities for themselves at St James’ Park, but against a lively Newcastle side a winner slipped away.
Liverpool’s top three Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all had chances, only to find Karl Darlow in inspired form in Newcastle’s goal.
It was the first 0-0 between the teams since 1974 and left Liverpool three points clear of second place. Manchester United have played a game more.
It ends at St James’ Park.
– Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 30, 2020
Newcastle started brilliantly as Callum Wilson glanced at the header at the start and then edged past Nathaniel Phillips but saw his shot on goal from a tight angle blocked by Fabinho.
The Reds slowly found their rhythm and Salah broke Newcastle’s offside trap, but Darlow was net of his line to narrow the angle and push the ball superbly away.
The fit Darlow produced another brilliant dive stoppage to keep Firmino’s header out of halftime.
Mane’s near-post header cut the side net moments after the interval, while Salah shot away from a good position after being released by Firmino shortly after the hour.
Klopp introduced in-form midfielder Thiago Alcantara in the 73rd minute, but Liverpool needed goalkeeper Alisson to make a good save to clear Ciaran Clark’s header from Matt Ritchie’s free kick.
The Reds seemed the most likely to fine a late winner and Fabian Schar snagged the ball from the line with Mane crouching 10 minutes from time.
However, Steve Bruce’s side rolled up their sleeves and Darlow made another late Firmino save to end a five-game losing streak against Liverpool.
What does it mean? Reds face the title scrap
Liverpool finished 2019 with a 13-point lead at the top after 19 games, but their advantage this time around – despite having played four games less – is much slimmer.
The Reds ran away with the title last season, but results like these underscore the challenge they face this quarter.
Newcastle clearly love playing the champions at St James’ Park and are now unbeaten in their last five Premier League home games against the reigning defending champions (two wins, three draws).
– Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 30, 2020
Defiant Darlow denies the reds
Newcastle had failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 11 Premier League home games ahead of this meeting.
The fact that they were able to rule out the Premier League champions owes a lot to the performance of Darlow, who made four excellent saves and has been a calming presence throughout.
Sadio struggles in the Toon
Mane had been directly involved in seven goals in his eight top-level away games (six goals, one assist) but was below his best here.
the Senegal the striker failed to register a single shot on target and struggled to find his teammates quite often, with a 75.6% pass, the second worst among all Liverpool players.
Key facts about Opta
– The Magpies clinched their first point against Liverpool in the Premier League since October 2017 (1-1), ending a streak of five consecutive defeats.
– Newcastle and Liverpool played a goalless draw for the first time in 74 appearances in all competitions, last in a top-level match in February 1974.
– Liverpool failed to win their last league game of a calendar year for the first time in seven years, winning each of their previous six since a 1-2 loss to Chelsea in 2013.
– The Reds failed to score in a Premier League game for the first time in 22 appearances; they are the last team to do so in 2020-2021.
– Fabinho is the sixth Brazilian player to reach 100 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions (also Alisson, Aurelio, Lucas Leiva, Coutinho and Firmino).
– Liverpool’s only shot on target in the second half came in the 88th minute. They have now only managed one attempt on target after halftime in their last two games.