Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle United: Joe Willock scores a last-minute equaliser to punish wasteful Liverpool 
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 24: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield on April 24, 2021 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Paul Ellis - Pool/Getty Images)

Newcastle United secured a point with the last kick of the game against the Premier League holders Liverpool at Anfield. 

Mo Salah scored within three minutes of the game to give Liverpool the lead. Newcastle had chances throughout the game, with Sean Longstaff and Joelinton having the biggest opportunities. Liverpool were ruthless with their opportunities, and Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota had plenty of opportunities to improve the scoring in the game, with Martin Dubravka having to make plenty of top quality saves. 

In the second half, Newcastle made attacking substitutes bringing on Callum Wilson and Joe Willock to join Allan Saint-Maxmin. The result wasn't instant, but in the last three minutes, Newcastle created chances, and Callum Wilson had a goal cancelled by VAR as the ball struck his arm in the process. Thirty seconds later, Willock received the ball in the area and struck it low into the bottom for a deserved point from the Magpies

Story of the game

On a hot spring day at Anfield, Liverpool started the better of the two teams as not even three minutes into the match, Newcastle cannot clear a Sadio Mane cross. With  Salah picking up the loose ball and drilling it into the near post emphatically. Newcastle did not have a chance as Salah showed his quality with his 20th  Premier League goal this season. 

Newcastle had their first sight of a chance as fifteen minutes ticked on the clock, Jacob Murphy found Saint-Maximin in space. The Frenchman pulled it back needlessly, and he was judged to be offside by the linesman. Five minutes later, Sean Longstaff made a surging run forward. Jonjo Shelvey threaded through the young Geordie into space, and Alisson smartly saved his shot. 

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With Newcastle showing life to Liverpool, the Reds liven up and created a few quick succession chances. Nothing comes of them, and Liverpool remained in control. With half an hour gone a defensive mixup for Newcastle in their eighteen-yard area, Diogo Jota has the ball break inside the eighteen-yard area. The Portuguese winger slashed at his chance and blazed the opportunity over the bar. 

Liverpool smelled blood in the water with 85 percent possession since Jota's opportunity.

Salah gets put through one-on-one with Martin Dubvraka, but the Slovakian came out on top of that particular battle. Third opportunity in less than ten minutes for the Reds as Jota weaves his way in, but his low shot is easily saved. 

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Liverpool had another chance forty minutes in with two on two. Mane had plenty of time for the finish, but he took the extra touch, and Dubvraka claimed. On the stroke of half time, Liverpool created another chance with Trent Alexander-Arnold crossing into the danger area for Mane to poke it wide. 

The second half started as the first ended with countless Liverpool pressure on Newcastle and the Magpies trying to counter from the pressure. With ten minutes passing through with half-chances for both teams, Joelinton found space. The Brazilian drifted past Fabinho and shot from just outside the area. Allison got a solid hand to it.

The end to end action continued as Alexander-Arnold crosses the ball in falling to Firmino at the back post. Dubvraka with another crucial save. 

Over the hour mark, several changes were made by both sides as the openness of the game was apparent to all. Callum Wilson and Joe Willock introduced by Newcastle and James Milner by the home side. 

Newcastle found themselves in trouble again as Sean Longstaff lost the ball around his area, but Salah could not make the chance come off as he found the side netting. With a corner, Thiago sets the volley up for Alexander-Arnold, but his spectacular volley goes wide. 

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Flagged stayed down for Mane as Alexander-Arnold played a cross-field ball to the Senegalese winger who aims for the near post but again, Dubvraka came up big for Newcastle. 

Through the final ten minutes of the match, Liverpool put more and more pressure on. In a few instances, Newcastle countered, resulting in bookings for cynical challenges on the Liverpool side. A few half-chances in the last minutes of the game with Arsenal loanee Joe Willock.

Newcastle thought they had levelled in the last minute as Callum Wilson got through and lifted the ball over Allison and on the second bite of the cherry poked it home to equalise. After a VAR check, it is disallowed for handball as it struck Wilson's hand in the build-up. Heartbreak for Newcastle.

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Until a minute later, Newcastle heap pressure on Liverpool, and it is Willock again whose deflected shot flies into the back of the net for a point shared by both teams and Newcastle at the death equalise and move nine points away from the bottom three. 

Key Takeaways 

Thiago is settling in nicely for Liverpool

All of the talk today will and should be on Liverpool's impressive front four showing how good they truly are or on Liverpool being unable to take their chances. But if you look in the heart of Liverpool's midfield in today's game, the Spaniard did not put a foot wrong and suited the pivot role when all of the front four made runs. It was reminiscent of Thiago in another red shirt with Bayern Munich. 

With Thiago getting some criticism during his short time at Merseyside, The midfielder has a man of the match performance from the BT Sport crew. Thiago's pass accuracy was 88 percent, and many key passes forward created chances for the Reds. Before he was replaced by Curtis Jones for the last fifteen minutes. Liverpool's tactical set up aside Thiago finding his feet is a good thing for the League holders. 

Steve Bruce going for the game in the second half

An open criticism of Steve Bruce by many Newcastle fans is that the head coach is sometimes too defensive when games are close. Today when Newcastle were trailing 1-0. By changing the formation from a five at the back and introducing two attack-minded players with Callum Wilson and Joe Willock. Newcastle looked to hit on the counter and get more bodies in the box.

This change is Bruces and allowed Newcastle to create opportunities in the second half. With Willock getting the equaliser following Wilsons goal being disallowed due to VAR. With Newcastle getting the last-minute equaliser Steve Bruce deserves credit.  

Starting XI 

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Fabinhio, Robertson; Thiago, Wijaldum; Salah, Jota, Mane; Firmino. 

Newcastle United: Dubravka; Murphy, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie; Shelvey, S Longstaff; Almiron, Saint-Maximin; Joelinton.

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