Naby Keita has scored the only goal as a much-changed Liverpool beat in-form Newcastle 1-0 at St James’ Park to climb above Manchester City – temporarily, at least – at the top of the Premier League.
Jurgen Klopp, who this week signed a contract extension to keep him at Anfield until 2026, had complained about the timing of this early Saturday kickoff and made five changes following Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Villarreal in the Champions League semi-final.
Mohamed Salah, Thiago Alcantara and Trent Alexander-Arnold watched on from the bench as Keita – one of those recalled – drilled in a contentious goal with 19 minutes gone.
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Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka kept his side in the game but Liverpool saw out the victory to move two points above City ahead of the champions’ trip to Leeds United later on Saturday.
Keita’s winner came after he exchanged passes with Diogo Jota and rounded Dubravka, though Newcastle’s players felt the goal should have been ruled out for a James Milner foul on Fabian Schar.
However, while Milner did catch his opponent, replays showed the Liverpool midfielder cleanly won the ball first and referee Andre Marriner was not instructed by VAR to review the goal.
Newcastle had a Miguel Almiron goal rightly disallowed for offside and otherwise struggled to create any openings, with Liverpool going close to a second before halftime when Jota’s header was palmed over.
Jota was denied by Dubravka three times in the second half and Sadio Mane planted a shot wide from a good position in his final meaningful involvement before being replaced by Salah.
Newcastle had won four games in a row heading into this contest, though they only really tested Alisson through a Bruno Guimaraes drive as Liverpool picked up a 13th league victory in their past 14 outings.