Thwarted time and time again by the inspired Emiliano Martinez, it seemed destined to be one of those days for Liverpool against Aston Villa, but the irrepressible Mohamed Salah was handed the chance to win the day from 12 yards after Tyrone Mings’s foul.
Despite some mind games from the ex-Arsenal stopper, Salah confidently dispatched a penalty that no goalkeeper could have saved to hand Liverpool a fifth top-flight win on the bounce, and a seventh on the trot in all competitions.
With Chelsea and Manchester City both also prevailing by one-goal margins at the weekend, there is little change in the title conversation, with the Reds still second in the rankings – one point behind leaders City and one clear of Chelsea after 16 games.
Jurgen Klopp’s men may have seen their astonishing two-goals-per-game streak ended in recent weeks, but only Chelsea (21) can boast more Premier League goals at home than the Reds (19) this season, and Liverpool have won each of their last five at Anfield.
This week’s hosts have also kept five clean sheets in that stretch and extended their Anfield unbeaten run to 20 matches with the 1-0 win at Villa, so Newcastle will surely not be harbouring hopes of a memorable win on the Merseyside turf.
Even with numerous players out due to injury and a COVID-19 cluster, Leicester were still too good for Eddie Howe’s Newcastle at the King Power, as the Foxes put four unanswered goals past the Magpies in gameweek 16.
With Jamie Vardy warming the bench, Patson Daka and James Maddison both helped themselves to a goal and an assist apiece, while Youri Tielemans bagged a brace to condemn Newcastle to a fifth defeat from eight on the road in the league.
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Having been brought crashing back down to earth after their win against Burnley, Newcastle remain level on points with basement side Norwich in the relegation zone, and they are one point adrift of 18th-placed Burnley having played a game more.
With only three points taken from a possible 24 on the road this term, Newcastle’s away form is the worst in the 2021-22 Premier League, and they have only managed to find the back of the net five times on rival turf all season.
Newcastle did claim a respectable 1-1 draw at Anfield last term thanks to the heroics of Joe Willock, but not since the 1993-94 season have the Magpies won away to Liverpool in the Premier League.