Reds' date with destiny in 'final'

Substitute Divock Origi heading home against Newcastle to give Liverpool the lead late in the game. The Reds won 3-2 to take their race with Manchester City for the Premier League title to the season's final weekend. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Substitute Divock Origi heading home against Newcastle to give Liverpool the lead late in the game. The Reds won 3-2 to take their race with Manchester City for the Premier League title to the season's final weekend.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Klopp says Liverpool 'cannot do more' as they beat Magpies to take title race to wire

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp claimed destiny will decide whether Liverpool win the Premier League, after Divock Origi's "fairy-tale" winner at Newcastle ensured the title race will go to the final day of the season.

Despite losing Mohamed Salah to a head knock in the second half, his replacement headed home Xherdan Shaqiri's free kick for a 3-2 away victory. It enabled the Reds to regain a two-point lead over Manchester City with one game left.

Afterwards, Klopp said his players had done their part in a bid to end a 29-year English title drought by "qualifying for our final on Sunday against Wolves".

He said: "What can I say? It's just brilliant. That was really a big moment. I accepted long ago that we will do everything, absolutely everything, and the boys will throw whatever they have on the pitch.

"We do everything, we cannot do more. Can you get more than 94 points? Not really. The boys tried everything, even when we had the draws, they tried everything to win.

"The boys showed in each second that they really want to win it. We knew what we had to do and the boys did it in a very difficult game.

"Credit to Newcastle. Wow. If people doubt the teams that don't play for anything any more, that they are halfway on the beach already, that was the opposite."

  • 12

  • Liverpool's Premier League goals by substitutes this season, more than any other team.

With Barcelona visiting Anfield tomorrow for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final, the manager had a difficult balancing act to strike, making four changes to the side that lost 3-0 at the Nou Camp last week.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was one of those recalled and he was to have an eventful evening at both ends, adding two assists to take his season's tally to 11, the same as Andy Robertson on the opposite flank.

His corner found Virgil van Dijk completely unmarked to open the scoring for his fifth goal of the term.

But Newcastle levelled with their first serious attack after Salomon Rondon's shot was saved on the line by Alexander-Arnold's arm, only for Christian Atsu to put the rebound away.

After surviving Ayoze Perez's strike that smashed off the crossbar, Liverpool took a 2-1 lead into the break with Salah's cushioned finish off Alexander-Arnold's cross.

Rondon equalised early in the second half and the game looked set for a draw - until Origi came to the rescue, just as he did with a late winner against Everton in December.

The blot on a thrilling night at St James' Park was confirmation that one of their "Fab Three", Roberto Firmino, would miss the Barcelona clash with a groin injury.

Klopp, though, was more hopeful over Salah's availability, adding: "Mo got the hip of the goalie in his head and then was on the ground.

"When we came in (after), he was sitting in the dressing room and had watched the game.

"He was then fine but, of course, we have to wait. He got a proper knock in that situation."

Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez could have taken charge of Newcastle for the last time at home.

The Spaniard's contract runs out this summer and his four seasons at the club have been clouded by a frosty relationship with owner Mike Ashley.

He said: "It is so simple, you can see the potential. I am really proud and pleased we stayed up, but I would like to do something more."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 06, 2019, with the headline 'Reds' date with destiny in 'final''. Print Edition | Subscribe