Liverpool go three points clear at top of Premier League table as they take advantage of ‘scandalous decision’ in win over Newcastle

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Published: 22:10, 1 Jan 2024Updated: 22:10, 1 Jan 2024Liverpool took advantage of a controversial decision to land a 4-2 win over Newcastle to go three points clear at the top of the Premier League.

The Reds edged out a six-goal thriller at Anfield, but even the wild scoreline only paints half a picture with Mohamed Salah scoring twice.


Salah missed a penalty but scored twice in the second-halfCredit: AFP
Despite the hosts’ dominance in Merseyside, referee Anthony Taylor controversially awarded Liverpool a penalty late on as Newcastle pressed for an equaliser.

Diogo Jota ran through on goal before being adjudged to have been tripped by Magpies shot-stopper Martin Dubravka.

However, replays showed there was minimal contact and the Portugal international made a couple of steps before hitting the deck.

Nevertheless, VAR did not intervene and the decision stood as Salah scored from 12 yards out.

Speaking live on talkSPORT, Sam Matterface and Stuart Pearce could not believe what they had seen.

England legend Pearce initially said: “I tell you what – that’s a dive! That will get chalked off in my opinion, There is no contact at all there, and that’s a delayed reaction.”

However, the decision stood and prompted Matterface to say: “I think that’s an absolutely scandalous decision if that’s given. Because it’s a delayed reaction and he could have finished it off!”

Before that incident, there was already plenty of drama after a first-half display that saw Liverpool manage 18 shots.


Jota went down after minimal contact from Dubravka

That included a shoddy penalty from Salah, though he made amends minutes after the break to open the scoring and grab his first of the match.

But Newcastle pegged them back almost immediately with Alexander Isak delicately scoring past Alisson with their first shot on target.

Liverpool, who had a league-high xG of 7.2 goals, desperately looked to get back in front, however, Newcastle’s heroic defensive showing kept the scoreline down – but it was to no avail.

Jota broke through Newcastle’s backline before sliding the ball across to give Jones a tap-in to make it 2-1 in the 74th minute.

Cody Gakpo thought he made sure of the result moments later after getting on the end of Salah’s outside of the boot cross, but Sven Botman nodded home from a corner to crank up the craziness at Anfield with ten minutes left.


Isak had grabbed an equaliser, but it just put off the inevitableCredit: Getty


Jones finished off a fine team move to put Liverpool ahead 2-1 at the timeCredit: AFP
Jota then earned Liverpool a controversial penalty with time running out and Salah made no mistake this time.

It was a fine farewell from the Egypt international, who will now jet off to the Africa Cup of Nations to try lead his country to glory.

In the end, Eddie Howe’s men valiantly fell to defeat and their hopes of a top-four finish are fading.

It means the Magpies have not won since December 16, a run of now four games without a win.

It has left them ninth in the Premier League while Liverpool continue their dream of winning the title.

The Reds have gone three points clear at the top of the table, finally getting a win at Anfield after two draws at home in a row in the Premier League.


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