2021-22 English Premier League
  • Naby Keita (19')

Liverpool edge Newcastle to keep title hopes alive

Are Liverpool the best team in world football right now? (1:06)

Steve Nicol reflects on Liverpool's current status as they continued their excellent form with a 1-0 win vs. Newcastle. (1:06)

Liverpool claimed a tense 1-0 win over Newcastle United at an electric St James' Park on Saturday.

Liverpool's Naby Keita's first-half strike was the difference as Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka put in an excellent display to keep the home side in the game.

Despite dominating much of the game, Jurgen Klopp's side failed to make the most of several chances, while Newcastle's Bruno Guimaraes came dangerously close to equalising with five minutes left on the clock.

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The result saw Liverpool go top of the Premier League table for the afternoon, before returning to second after Manchester City's 4-0 win at Leeds United later on Saturday.

Newcastle got off to a bright start, immediately finding their way into the Liverpool box and pressuring the visitors' defense.

But Liverpool responded well, and began to grow into the game with chances falling to Diogo Jota, Keita and Virgil van Dijk before Keita opened the scoring. The midfielder finished off a slick move on 19 minutes, which started with a James Milner challenge on Fabian Schar that Newcastle thought was a foul.

The ball was slipped to Keita on the right, who played a fine one-two with Jota before rounding Dubravka and firing a shot into the open goal.

With five minutes until half time, Newcastle found the back of the net when Miguel Almiron squeezed a shot past Alisson from a wide angle, but the flag was up for offside.

Liverpool continued to search for a second, Jota coming close once again when he powered a Jordan Henderson cross at goal, but Dubravka touched the attempt over the bar in one of several impressive saves.

This pattern continued after the break, with the visitors failing to capitalise on their chances in front of the Newcastle goal. Sadio Mane squandered another promising Liverpool attack in the 60th minute, pushing his effort wide of the goal after a terrific run from Joe Gomez down the right wing.

Despite Liverpool's dominance, Newcastle looked spritely when they had the ball, and came close to finding an equaliser in the 87th minute when Guimaraes found space on the edge of the box and fired a low shot, but Alisson covered it well and Liverpool held on to secure the three points.

Klopp said: "The impact we have from the bench in games is outstanding but now it's really coming from the bench before a game, pretty much. We expect a lot but the boys have to deliver and it's outstanding: Joe Gomez, what a game, Naby Keita, what a game, James Milner, what a game. Diogo Jota -- oh my god, what a game. Joel Matip, as well.

"Then you see Andy Robertson, in minute 93, going on a 150mph sprint -- that's absolutely exceptional."

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said: "We run them all the way and it was close -- but not close enough.

"Our performance was workmanlike, we lacked the quality to win. Our set play execution was not good enough and there is a lot of work to do. We have improved a lot and the players gave everything."

English Premier League Standings

1 Arsenal 28 +40 69
2 Manchester City 27 +42 61
3 Manchester United 26 +6 50
4 Tottenham Hotspur 28 +12 49
5 Newcastle United 26 +20 47
6 Liverpool 26 +18 42
7 Brighton & Hove Albion 25 +15 42
8 Brentford 27 +9 42
9 Fulham 27 +1 39
10 Chelsea 27 +1 38
11 Aston Villa 27 -4 38
12 Crystal Palace 28 -16 27
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers 28 -19 27
14 Leeds United 27 -9 26
15 Everton 28 -18 26
16 Nottingham Forest 27 -27 26
17 Leicester City 27 -9 25
18 West Ham United 26 -10 24
19 AFC Bournemouth 27 -29 24
20 Southampton 28 -23 23