Lacklustre Liverpool held to another draw at Newcastle

Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane missed multiple chances to score as Liverpool was held to a 0-0 draw by Newcastle United on Wednesday.

Liverpool is just three points above second-placed Manchester United which has a game in hand.   -  Getty Images

An off-key Liverpool was frustrated for a second successive game by struggling opponent as it was held to a 0-0 Premier League draw at Newcastle United on Wednesday.

Jurgen Klopp's side had the chance to open up a five-point lead at the top of the table, but a combination of wastefulness and Newcastle's valiant rearguard kept it at bay.

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Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were all guilty of poor finishing for the champion while Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow produced a couple of fine saves.

Liverpool was held 1-1 by second-bottom West Bromwich Albion on Sunday and also drew with struggling Fulham earlier this month.

 

Klopp's team leads the table going into the New Year with 33 points from 16 games, but second-placed Manchester United is only three points behind with a match in hand.

"You might not think I have to tip my hat to my team but I like the performance," Klopp said. "It was really good, can we play better football? Yes, but in this game we did more than enough to win it.

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"The boys are frustrated and rightly so but not about the performance. You have to respect the result. It won't stay like this forever and I know the boys will finish these situations."

Newcastle climbed a place to 14th, eight points above the bottom three.

Liverpool enjoyed overwhelming possession early on but lacked its usual zip and it gave heart to a Newcastle side who had lost two and drawn one of its last three league games.

The visitor struggled to carve out chances but did so just past the half hour when Salah found himself in acres of space in the area but his shot was turned around the post by Darlow.

Darlow then beat away Firmino's header from Mane's cross as the hosts arrived at halftime on level terms.

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Liverpool raised its tempo in the second half and Newcastle was forced deeper and deeper.

Mane headed wide and Salah again found himself with the goal at his mercy after taking Firmino's slide rule pass but he guided his shot wide of the post.

Firmino headed another chance wide and Mane looked poised to tap in a loose ball but Fabian Schar produced a last-ditch clearance to avert the danger.

Darlow made another excellent save to keep out Firmino's header but Ciaran Clark almost netted late on for Newcastle with a header that was clawed out by Alisson.

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce heaped praise on Darlow after replacing injured Martin Dubravka.

"He's had to wait patiently for his chance and certainly with the way he's trained every day -- and Dubravka's now fit -- we needed our second goalkeeper to stay fit and step up," Bruce told reporters.

"We've had to call on him a bit too much at times but there's no denying he's been terrific all season. He's done fantastically well and, at the moment, the jersey's his because of the saves he's made."

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