The Warm Down: Brave Liverpool keep their dreams alive
Divock Origi of Liverpool scores his team's third goal past Martin Dubravka of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool FC at St. James Park on May 04, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The Warm Down: Brave Liverpool keep their dreams alive

Divock Origi snatches three points for visitors at the end of bruising battle with fired-up Newcastle

dave-comerford
David Comerford

Manchester City's clash with Leicester on Monday night was beginning to take the form of a title decider, but a relentless Liverpool side once again refused to lie down.

This was a brutal, blow-for-blow exchange, and though the Reds, off the back of a gut-wrenching defeat at Barcelona in midweek, looked weary, they found a way to win for the umpteenth time this season courtesy of Divock Origi's glancing header.

The result means the greatest title race in the history of the Premier League is guaranteed to be settled on the final day. Anything else would frankly be a betrayal. 

Phenomenal show of character

There was a period in this game when Liverpool's Premier League ambitions looked dead and buried. A pulsating affair had slowed to walking pace after a succession of injuries, one of which robbed the Reds of their star player, and a galling sloppiness had crept into the visitors' play.

Liverpool had produced a top performance at the Nou Camp a matter of days earlier, only to be wickedly undone by Lionel Messi's brilliance, and so they were forced to cope with immense physical, and surely,  mental fatigue. They needed to dig out a victory to keep alive their hopes of the silverware their performances so richly deserve.

Newcastle exploited Liverpool's vulnerabilities, pressing high and utilising the immense physicality of Salomon Rondon. To be pegged back for a second time truly was a hammer blow.

But they maintained their belief, they knew another opportunity would come, and they took it when it arrived. There is a great deal of quality in this Liverpool team but above all it is their attitude which has kept them in this title race. 

It is now likely that Liverpool finish second with 97 points. That seems particularly cruel, but nevertheless supporters ought to feel immense pride when they look upon this remarkable team. 

Meant to be?

Divock Origi's winning goal represents yet another example of a textbook championship moment. Liverpool seem to have had so many this season; even within the last couple of months you can pick out the battling triumphs against Fulham, Spurs and Southampton

Fans ought to be asking 'how many of these meant to be moments do we need before it's actually going to be?'

The problem, of course, is that their chief rivals are good enough to overcome the narratives. Time and again, they have responded to Liverpool's statements with a steely resolve.

But can they do it twice more? This title race feels as though it may just have one more twist in it. 

Lovren justifies pecking order

It wasn't a surprise to see Dejan Lovren slot into Liverpool's defence in place of Joel Matip, with little to separate the two in terms of quality and another huge test, requiring fresh legs, ahead on Tuesday night.

Matip started the campaign as Liverpool's fourth-choice centre-back but seized the opportunity offered by Joe Gomez's injury and has now made the position his own. 

He is performing better than he ever has in a Reds shirt, and on the evidence of Lovren's display here he has reason to be confident of retaining his spot.

The Croatian is typically more solid than he is given credit for, but in this game he found Rondon, whose threat he would have been all too aware of, too hot to handle and was off the pace throughout. 

Liverpool fans certainly won't consider it a coincidence that their defence was significantly less secure in his presence. 

Calls for attacking additions intensify

One of Liverpool's auxiliary brigade may have bagged their winner here, but that certainly won't prevent further calls for quality reinforcements in this summer's transfer window.

Daniel Sturridge was an eyebrow-raising name on the teamsheet after struggling last time out against Huddersfield and, while his passing was crisp and incisive, he was brought into the side for his killing instinct in front of goal and he couldn't provide it, blazing Liverpool's best opportunity of the second half over the top. 

Had this matched finished level, it would certainly have been identified as the key moment.

With Roberto Firmino poised to return against Barcelona, this could well prove to be Sturridge's last appearance for the club. Liverpool need to replace him with an exciting young talent who can effectively compensate, when necessary, for the absence of one of their most vital players. 

Salah injury mars victory

This was a bittersweet win for Liverpool, with Salah's nasty head injury potentially spelling an end to his season.

He barely moved after hitting the deck and looked in a bad way as he was stretchered off the pitch. Protocol dictates that players are handed at least a week's rest if they sustain such an injury. If it's as serious as it looked, that could well be the Egyptian's last involvement.

He had once again demonstrated his importance earlier in the game by steering in his side's second goal to move two clear in the Golden Boot race.

But Liverpool will surely be without him when they seek to perform a miracle against Barcelona at Anfield. One could argue they have little chance without some brilliance from the prolific forward.

Might he be ok for a potential title-decider against Wolves? The club will await the prognosis with bated breath. 

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