As it happenedended1545845399

Liverpool beat Newcastle to move six points clear at the top of the Premier League

The Reds extended their lead at the top of the table

Ed Malyon
Sports Editor
Wednesday 26 December 2018 16:52
Comments
Liverpool FC: A look back at 2018

Liverpool moved six points clear at the top of the Premier League with an all-too-comfortable win over Newcastle.

Goals from Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho earned the Reds the easiest of victories at Anfield and coupled with Manchester City's defeat at Leicester saw them extend their lead.

Here's how they did it:

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Good afternoon and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of Liverpool vs Newcastle from Anfield.

The Reds top the table and will hope to keep up their advantage when they host the Magpies on Boxing Day.

We will have all the latest for you right here so don't touch that dial.

Team news coming at 2pm.

Ben Burrows26 December 2018 12:06
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Jurgen Klopp welcomes Rafa Benitez to Anfield in a face-off between the Kop's current and former favourites. 

The German is looking to do what Rafa Benitez never could during his time on Merseyside and win the Premier League, though he bristled a little bit at the title talk in his press conference the other day. 

"Bull****" was Klopp's verdict, though beating a Newcastle side that is always tough to break down on the road will go a long way to determining how much "bull****" it is. 

Ed Malyon26 December 2018 14:36
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The last four teams to be top at Christmas finished the season as Champions. 

The last team that didn't? Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool. 

Ed Malyon26 December 2018 14:43
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TEAM NEWS

So it's time for the teams. First up, Liverpool, who put out as strong a team as possible as they look to hold off Manchester City.

Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri, Firmino, Mane, Salah.

Subs: Clyne, Fabinho, Keita, Sturridge, Lallana, Mignolet, Origi.

Newcastle, however, make a raft of changes as they look to frustrate Klopp's side. 

Newcastle XI: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Diame, Kenedy, Muto, Joselu.

Subs: Schar, Murphy, Rondon, Perez, Manquillo, Longstaff, Woodman.

Ed Malyon26 December 2018 14:55
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I've seen Rafa Benitez's side away from home a few times this season and they're one of the best-organised teams in the league - indeed, Roy Hodgson told me they and Crystal Palace were the two best-organised outfits on the top flight - so it won't be easy for Liverpool today. 

Klopp's men thrive in the spaces and Benitez's plan will be to ensure those spaces don't exist. It'll be compact and it'll probably be a little ugly. But the Premier League offers no points for style. 

Ed Malyon26 December 2018 14:59
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Kick-off: We're underway people. Anfield fun incoming

Ed Malyon26 December 2018 15:01
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Well Liverpool are zippy from the off, not waiting to get up to speed but slamming their foot on the accelerator and going all-out from the opening exchanges. 

They don't create a chance with their first attack but the ease with which Sadio Mane raided into the penalty area should be a concern!

Ed Malyon26 December 2018 15:03
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So after a mildly frenetic start we are now a bit more settled at Anfield, Liverpool taking the ball and passing it around in vague hope of an opening while Newcastle form a barcode-inspired wall across the field. 

The visitors had their first raid into Liverpool's defensive third down the right flank but the resultant cross barely threatened, with Newcastle's only man within 20 yards of the ball heavily outnumbered. 

That isn't going to be the way to win this football match.

Ed Malyon26 December 2018 15:07
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Well that is more like it from Newcastle. Ball comes wide left and Matt Ritchie whips over a beautiful cross.

This time the away side have two in the box and the sweeping ball finds Joselu's head - only for the Spaniard to head down into the ground and wide. 

If you want to win at Liverpool you need to take those chances. 

Ed Malyon26 December 2018 15:09
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10 minutes in here and Liverpool's first proper chance falls to Xherdan Shaqiri. 

Firmino's flick sets Mané down the line nicely and he pulls it back into the danger zone. Shaqiri is there to sweep it home but the connection is muffed and the ball bobbles. A good position, poor execution. 

Ed Malyon26 December 2018 15:10

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