Newcastle United restore hope with two-goal victory over Liverpool
Georginio Wijnaldum scored one and played a key part in another as Newcastle United ended Liverpool’s recent resurgence under Jurgen Klopp. There was very little to separate the two sides at St James’ Park for large parts, until Wijnaldum saw his effort turned home by Martin Skrtel a little over 20 minutes from time.
The Dutchman was at it again late on to make sure of the 2-0 victory for his side, helping the Magpies to climb a step closer to safety at the bottom end of the Premier League table in the process. It is just a second defeat during Klopp’s 12-game tenure on Merseyside, meanwhile, meaning a chance to draw level on points with Tottenham Hotspur in fifth place passed the underwhelming Reds by.
Chances proved to be few and far between in a rather lacklustre first half, with Christian Benteke prodding the best chance over the bar from close range. Papiss Cisse squandered the home side’s only real opportunity of the opening 45 minutes, having been dispossessed by Skrtel when trying to cut inside high up the pitch. This fixture is famed for its high tally of goals and, increasingly in recent years, high number of red cards, but a late Wijnaldum drive over the bar proved to be the Magpies’ only shot of note prior to the break.
The entertainment levels improved slightly in the second half, as Wijnaldum turned Moussa Sissoko’s cut-back wide of goal to see the noise levels increase around St James’ Park. It was not until the 69-minute mark that the breakthrough goal finally arrived, though, after Wijnaldum’s smart play ended with a shot deflecting beyond the reach of a helpless Simon Mignolet.
Liverpool had chances to rescue themselves at least a point in the remaining time, with Daniel Sturridge failing to capitalise on Adam Lallana’s fine attacking work and Dejan Lovren heading narrowly wide. Klopp was left angered in the final 10 minutes when Alberto Moreno had a goal ruled out for offside, which proved to be a huge call at 1-0 as Sissoko played a perfectly-weighted pass for Wijnaldum to wrap things up at the death.
Liverpool, scorers of 14 goals in their last three away outings in all competitions, were unable to pull back a consolation in the remaining seconds to see United boss Steve McClaren receive a much-needed reprieve.