Newcastle United 0 Liverpool 0 – Wasteful Reds held by Newcastle; Magpies keeper Darlow shines
2020-21 English Premier League report: Newcastle United vs. Liverpool – Wednesday 30th December 2020
Newcastle United 0 Liverpool 0 – St. James Park
Champions Liverpool spurned a chance to strengthen their grip at the top as they allowed Newcastle to hold them to a goalless draw at St. James Park on Wednesday night.
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Steve Bruce’s Magpies started on a bright note and almost got a goal in the 2nd minute when a Callum Wilson cross seemed to be dip in and Liverpool custodian Alisson Becker was forced to tip it over.
Wilson missed another opportunity to put the hosts ahead when his diving header went wide and was thwarted by a well-timed Fabinho tackle a little later. The champions found their rhythm as they were denied certain goals before the interval by some brilliant goalkeeping from Karl Darlow.
His first save was to deny Mohamed Salah who found ample space from a Jordan Henderson pass, beat the offside trap and deliver a goalbound shot only to be thwarted by the Newcastle keeper’s heroics.
Darlow’s next intervention was spectacular when he flung himself to the right to keep out Roberto Firmino’s powerful header from a Sadio Mane’s cross that seemed destined to be going in.
The visitors to St. James Park began in belligerent fashion after the interval as Mane’s header from Alexander-Arnold’s corner nestled into the side-netting. Salah could have given Liverpool the lead in the 65th minute as he was set-up by a lovely Firmino ball, but the Egyptian inexplicably fired wide.
Firmino was at fault some time later as he let a header from a Robertson corner fly wide with a gaping goal in front of him. Thiago Alcantara was introduced late on in the 73rd minute as Liverpool relentlessly assailed the rival goal with openings coming the way of Gini Wijnaldum, Salah and Fabinho.
The best chance of the night for the Reds came when Trent Alexander-Arnold essayed a brilliant 70-yard cross-field pass to Sadio Mane whose half-hearted effort was cleared spectacularly off the line by an alert Fabian Schar. The hosts had rode their luck with their courageous approach and were amply rewarded when the final whistle came.
This was one more draw for Jurgen Klopp’s men after their 1-1 result with lowly West Bromwich three days ago and their fifth away from home. For the Magpies, the draw was some consolation in a dismal season so far, having moved one place up to the 14th spot with 19 points from their 15 games.
Newcastle starting XI in a 5-4-1 formation: Darlow (goal), Clark, Fernandez, Schar, Yedlin, Matthew Longstaff, Hayden, Ritchie, Joelinton, Wilson, Murphy.
Subs: Lewis, Almiron.
Liverpool starting XI in a 4-3-3 formation: Alisson (goal), Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Fabinho, Robertson, Jones, Henderson, Milner, Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Subs: Wijnaldum, Thiago, Shaqiri.
Man of the match: Karl Darlow.
Tottenham Hotspur- Fulham Premier League clash postponed owing to outbreak
Tottenham’s last fixture of 2020 at home had to be put off four hours before its scheduled start after an outbreak in their opponent Fulham’s camp.
The latest round of Premier League Covid-19 testing that took place on Tuesday found 18 people carrying the virus – the highest figure recorded in the testing programme so far.
This was the third game to be called off after the Newcastle-Aston Villa clash earlier in December, followed by the Everton-Man City match of the 28th.
Earlier, Sheffield United announced they had recorded “a number of positive tests after the latest round of testing” but managed to stage their away fixture at Burnley on Tuesday evening.
Quelling demands from certain quarters for the discontinuation of the Premier league, the management of England’s apex football body in a statement said
“With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the Premier League continues to have full confidence in its protocols and being able to continue to play our fixtures as scheduled.”
Spurs next fixture is at the Tottenham Stadium itself against Leeds United on Saturday, January 2nd.
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