Salah scores 2 as Liverpool beat Newcastle to open up 3-point lead in EPL

AP , Tuesday 2 Jan 2024

Mohamed Salah headed off to the Africa Cup of Nations on the back of a starring role for Liverpool in their 4-2 win over Newcastle that opened up a three-point lead in the English Premier League on Monday.

Liverpool s Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring his side s opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Newcastle, at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Monday, Jan. 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Jon Super)


An individual performance that started with his latest failure from the penalty spot ended with Salah scoring Liverpool’s first and last goals and having a hand in the other two for his team in a chaotic game in wet and wild conditions at Anfield.

The league pause for the FA Cup and then a winter break lasting much of the rest of January with Liverpool looking the team most likely to stop Manchester City winning an unprecedented fourth straight top-flight title. City was in third place, five points behind Liverpool — and two behind Aston Villa — with a game in hand.

Salah could be missing until mid-February, depending on how far Egypt advances in the Africa Cup, and he could be the player to lead Liverpool to a record-tying 20th league championship. He has 14 goals for the campaign, tied for the most with City’s Erling Haaland.

Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo scored the other goals for Liverpool in howling rain as Newcastle conceded 34 shots on goal. Eighteen came in the first half, the most in the league this season.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe is coming under pressure with his team in ninth place, out of Europe completely and also recently losing in the League Cup. The Saudi-controlled northeast club equalized through Alexander Isak and made it 3-2 through Sven Botman’s header at a corner but was totally dominated by Liverpool.

Salah had a penalty saved by Martin Dubravka in the 22nd after Luis Diaz was tripped and that was his fourth failure from the spot in his last nine attempts.

He bounced back by finishing off a team move in the 49th for his 150th league goal for Liverpool, supplying a fine pass for Diogo Jota to set up Jones to tap in, then playing a pass with the outside of his left foot for Gakpo to turn home.

The match-clinching fourth came in the 86th after Dubravka felled Jota. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp couldn’t watch Salah’s penalty — the crowd told him it went in.

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