Newcastle United fall to Liverpool as curtain falls on longest Premier League season (in every way!)
Newcastle United 1-3 Liverpool
Goals from van Dijk, Origi and Mane allowed a dominant Liverpool side to come from behind to win at Newcastle United at St James Park this afternoon.
The Champions of England suffered the quickest goal conceded in the Premier League this season, and the fastest ever on the final day of the season as quick thinking from Shelvey set Gayle away to finish on just 24 seconds.
But despite defending that early lead resolutely for most of the first half a van Dijk looping header would give Dubravka no chance to take the sides in level at the break.
A fine goal from Origi would then put the visitors ahead just before the hour before Mane would round it off for the visitors just before the end.
Klopp had made a host of changes following the midweek win against Chelsea and the title celebrations that followed, most notably with Salah, Mane and Firmino
For Newcastle it was just the one change with Lazaro coming in for Krafth who became the latest player to suffer the post season break injury curse.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Rose (Watts, 74), Ritchie, Lazaro, Bentaleb ( S, Longstaff, 45), Shelvey, Saint-Maximin (Joelinton, 45), Almiron (Hayden, 71), Gayle (Carroll, 71)
And with less than a minute on the clock Newcastle were ahead. A foul on Saint-Maximin on the half way line by van Dijk saw both sides leisurely getting themselves into position, ambling into the Liverpool half. No such hesitation for Shelvey though as he spotted Gayle making a run in behind and the Newcastle striker raced clear to finish with aplomb. 24 seconds is all it had taken for the Magpies to get ahead.
The game would then drop back into a pattern that most owed be expecting, with even an understrength Liverpool totally dominating proceedings. Newcastle not managing to get out of their own half, and even when fleetingly doing so, a lack of care for the ball seemingly giving the ball back to the reds without effort.
But even with Fernandez as the only recognised centre half and with two fullbacks playing either side of him in a back 5, the Magpies would hold firm and restrict Liverpool to nothing in terms of a shot on target for fully 28 mins.
When they did get one on target however, a wonderful hit from the edge of the box by Minamino, Newcastle’s player of the season Martin Dubravka was equal to it. The big stopper fully extended to tip one around his right hand post.
A rare corner for Newcastle United almost saw an unlikely second scorer with Fernandez striking a ball form a tight angle that Alisson had to be alert to push wide.
Liverpool would get their equaliser on 38 minutes. The goal coming from van Dijk, also up for a corner, who would loop a header from the recycled ball over Dubravka and into the top corner. Nothing the Magpies keeper could do about that one from the only outfield player to appear in every league match for the Champions this season.
At half time Allan Saint-Maximin would be withdrawn to be replaced by Joelinton, the end of the season then to the exciting Frenchman who's had a fine first season at St James Park.
Just before the hour mark Liverpool would get themselves ahead in the game for the first time on the afternoon. A lovely ball into the channel by van Dijk would find Robertson who ball back inside would be into the path of Origi who would then bend a lovely effort into Dubravka's bottom left hand corner.
Substitute Mo Salah would then hit the left upright of the Newcastle goal with his first touch. And 5 minutes later only a wonderful sliding block from by Fernandez would deny the same player a clear strike at goal when racing into the Newcastle box.
A debut for Kell Watts for the last quarter of an hour his reward for doing well on a couple of loan spells at Stevenage and Mansfield and impressing Steve Bruce in training since the squad returned to playing games following COVID.
There would still be time for Mane to score a worldie as the game ticked to 90 minutes, and that would be that.
Newcastle finishing one short of last seasons total in what was an entirely miserable season.