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Result: Liverpool thrash Newcastle United to move six points clear

Liverpool move six points clear at the top of the Premier League table courtesy of a dominant 4-0 win over Newcastle United at Anfield.

Liverpool have moved six points clear at the top of the Premier League table courtesy of a 4-0 victory over Newcastle United at Anfield this afternoon.

The hosts increased their hold on the title race with a dominant performance on Merseyside as goals from Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho wrapped up a comfortable victory on Boxing Day - an eighth successive Premier League win for the league leaders.

The party mood inside Anfield was increased by news that Manchester City had suffered a second successive defeat at the hands of Leicester City, leaving Liverpool six points clear of Tottenham Hotspur and now seven above the defending champions.

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring against Newcastle United on December 26, 2018© Reuters

Jurgen Klopp resisted the temptation to rotate his squad ahead of upcoming matches against Arsenal and Manchester City, but it was Newcastle that created the first chance of the contest when Matt Ritchie's cross evaded Virgil van Dijk and found Joselu at the back post, only for the Spaniard to nod wide when he should have done better.

Liverpool responded with their first chance immediately as Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane combined down the left channel to set up Shaqiri, who scuffed his finish wide of the far post from a good position.

The home side did break the deadlock just one minute later, though, as Jamaal Lascelles could only clear the ball as far as Lovren, who lashed an unstoppable half-volley into the roof of the net to give his side the lead in explosive style.

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring against Newcastle United on December 26, 2018© Reuters

Newcastle created another headed chance when Yoshinori Muto latched on to Ritchie's free kick and put his finish straight at Alisson Becker, but that was as good as it got for the visitors in the first half.

Liverpool dominated possession and territory but struggled to translate that into really clear openings, with Mane letting one run away from him inside the box and Van Dijk being denied a good chance by Mohamed Diame.

Dubravka was called into one smart save to deny Shaqiri's deflected free kick shortly before half time, but in the main Newcastle had limited Liverpool to long-range efforts and half-chances as they went into the break still very much in the game.

It took Liverpool less than three minutes of the second half to double their advantage, though, with Salah slotting a penalty into the bottom corner after the referee had adjudged him to have been dragged to ground by Paul Dummett inside the area.

Liverpool attacker Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring against Newcastle United on December 26, 2018© Reuters

It could - and perhaps should - have been three shortly afterwards when Shaqiri picked off a loose pass from Lascelles before releasing Mane in a three-on-two situation, but he saw his pass cut out with Firmino and Salah in support.

Newcastle did create the occasional chance of their own which would have piled the pressure on Liverpool, and another one went begging when Joselu glanced a header narrowly wide of the far post on 54 minutes.

Firmino and Isaac Hayden then squandered half-chances at either end before Liverpool finally put the game to bed once and for all with a third goal 11 minutes from time.

A period of heavy pressure from the hosts eventually told as Jordan Henderson released Trent Alexander-Arnold, who in turn put a low pass into the box which left Shaqiri with a simple finish from close range.

Three quickly became four just six minutes later when Salah added another assist to his tally by swinging a corner in for Fabinho, who got in front of the keeper to nod home his first goal for the club.

Liverpool players celebrate after Fabinho's goal during their win over Newcastle United on December 26, 2018© Reuters

The Reds were in no mood to settle, though, and Mane and Daniel Sturridge both came close to making it five in the closing stages as the audible delight from the stands spilled onto the field.

There was a chance for Newcastle to grab a consolation late on when Alisson came out of his area and was then left in no-man's land as Sean Longstaff lined up a shot, but he recovered in time to make a save and keep yet another clean sheet intact.

The results mean that Liverpool now enjoy a healthy lead at the halfway stage of the season, while Klopp's side have also now won 26 league games this calendar year - a new club record.

LIVERPOOL (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson (Clyne 82'); Wijnaldum (Fabinho 62'), Henderson; Shaqiri, Firmino (Sturridge 69'), Mane; Salah

NEWCASTLE (5-3-2): Dubravka; Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie (Murphy 81'); Hayden, Diame, Kenedy (Longstaff 73'); Muto, Joselu

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Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the opener during the Champions League group game between Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain on September 18, 2018
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City34282487226586
2Liverpool34267177205785
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs342211164352967
4Arsenal33206766402666
5Chelsea34206857362166
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd34197863451864
7Everton35147144744349
8Watford34147134949049
9Leicester CityLeicester35146154847148
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves34139124142-148
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35127164454-1043
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
13Bournemouth35125184962-1341
14Crystal Palace34116174046-639
15Burnley34116174260-1839
16Southampton3499164057-1736
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3497183253-2134
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RFulham3565243376-4323
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

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