No surrender! Defiant Liverpool lose Salah but refuse to stop fighting for title

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Clive Brunskill
The Egypt international was stretchered off with a head injury but the remarkably resilient Reds managed too eek out a dramatic 3-2 win at Newcastle

"No surrender. Not just yet, anyway.

For the first time in five years, the Premier League title race will go to the final day of the season.

Liverpool are still in there fighting, but only just.

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On the ground where Manchester City suffered their last league loss, Jurgen Klopp’s side kept their dream alive in the most dramatic of fashion. St James’ Park produced one of the most remarkable nights of the campaign. What is it about this fixture?

The Reds’ 3-2 victory over Newcastle at St James’ Park moves them back to the top of the table, but only tells half the story of this nerve-shredding evening.

Liverpool won it and lost it, twice, but Jamaal Lascelles’ own goal, four minutes from time, got them over the line in the end.
Asked question after question, Liverpool once more found the answers.

What must Manchester City make of this team? Where does it find its energy reserves, its courage, its character?

Whoever lifts that trophy next weekend, we should applaud and appreciate them. These are two special football sides.

Pep Guardiola’s men had one hand on the trophy at 1-1. They had one-and-a-half on it when Salomon Rondon smashed Newcastle level at 2-2. Instead, the ball is in City’s court. It is they who have to win now.

Liverpool rocked and they shook during an absorbing second half. They lost Mohamed Salah to a head injury, and lost their shape and their composure as the final whistle loomed on the horizon.

But then Klopp’s substitutes, his dice-rolls, paid off big time.

Xherdan Shaqiri swung in a free-kick, Divock Origi climbed, the ball cannoned off Lascelles and into the net.

The Liverpudlians crammed into the away end, breathed once more. They had stared into the abyss and been dragged to safety.

This was their eighth successive league victory. It would be feat at any time, in any place. In this season, against the Manchester City machine, it is incredible.

Liverpool Newcastle Premier League 2019

The pressure builds and builds, and Liverpool find ways to deal with it. Their bravery is unquestionable. 

"We had to fight," said a delighted, if drained, Klopp at the end. "I couldn't be more proud."

They had so many excuses here. They were without Roberto Firmino and they lost Salah. They were leggy after their midweek exertions in Barcelona. They hadn’t won away at Newcastle in six years, and found a Magpies side emboldened under the lights in their final home game of the season.

Rafa Benitez would do them a favour, the story went. He didn’t, he scared the living daylights out of his former club. Ta Rafa, la.

Liverpool led, first through Virgil van Dijk and then through Salah, who netted his 100th European top-flight goal and his 22nd in the Premier League this season. The Egyptian's finish, off his right foot, was clinical.

Newcastle levelled through Christian Atsu, the former Everton loanee, and then saw Rondon restore parity at 2-2 early in the second half with a superbly-taken volley.

That looked like it would be the killer blow, but Liverpool had other ideas. They found a way, as they have done so often over the past 10 months. 

"What the boys did is unbelievable," said Klopp. "It's brilliant, so deserved."

Now, having seen off one former manager, Liverpool must now hope for a favour from another.

Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester, who visit City on Monday night, are the Reds’ next phone-a-friend. A draw or win for the Foxes at the Etihad will put Klopp’s men in control.

That’s for Monday, though. For now, Liverpool fans should enjoy their weekend.

They have a hell of a team, one which is giving them one hell of a ride.

And a few scares too, of course!

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