Jürgen Klopp lost his ring of joy, too busy vigorously celebrating the victory with his players. The Liverpool coach − who finally found his precious thanks to the help of a television cameraman − can savor his team’s first place, which he consolidated, Monday January 1 evening, thanks to his success 4 goals to 2 against a Newcastle team in complete discomfiture after a third defeat in a row in ten days.

“Oh my God, that would have been really terrible,” the German Reds coach said of the fear of having misplaced his ring. “I lost it once in my life, and I needed a professional diver because it was at sea,” he said.

After twenty days of the championship, Liverpool are now three points ahead of the surprising runner-up, Aston Villa, and push Arsenal, beaten Sunday at Fulham (2-1), five lengths. Manchester City are also five points behind, but have a game in hand and appear to take on the role of main rival in the title race led by the Reds.

A long-awaited success

Under the eyes of John Barnes, the club legend of the 1990s who also played for Newcastle, the Reds extended their unbeaten run in the league since the end of September (8 wins, 5 draws), but this success at Anfield took a long time to come. draw, the Liverpool attackers showing themselves incapable of deceiving Martin Dubravka, Nick Pope’s understudy who has been away from the field since the beginning of December.

During the first period, the Reds put intense pressure on the opposing camp but the Slovak goalkeeper of the Magpies saved his team in quick succession with reflex saves against Darwin Nunez and Curtis Jones (11th and 12th minutes). Then, at the end of a magnificent collective action, Luis Diaz, dried up in the penalty area, offered Mohamed Salah the opportunity to put his team in the lead but the Egyptian striker’s attempt was repelled by the opposing goalkeeper, and Alexander-Arnold, on the lookout, missed the target (22nd).

At the heart of the storm, on one of its rare outings outside its bases, Newcastle sent a long shiver through the bays of Anfield: on a low recovery, the goal of its captain Dan Burn, at the end of a rapid transition, was finally invalidated after recourse to video (36th). It was a miracle for Newcastle to return to the locker room with a goalless draw, despite conceding 18 shots against just one to their credit.

Salah joins Haaland at the top of the scoring charts

Everything settled in the second half for Liverpool, not without some annoyances. First, after excellent work from Luis Diaz who fixed the defense before shifting Nunez, whose center was victoriously taken by Salah, the locals finally took the advantage (1-0, 49th). But failing to take cover despite three attempts by Nunez in just over a minute, Jürgen Klopp’s men were punished by Alexander Isak who, launched behind the defense, fired a shot into the small opposite net from Allison Becker (1-1, 54th).

Faced with the ineffectiveness of his players, the Reds coach changed everything to revitalize his attack, simultaneously launching Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo and Ryan Gravenberch. And his team found the fault through Curtis Jones served by the new entrant Jota (2-1, 74th). Four minutes later, Gakpo served from the outside of Salah’s left foot past Dubravka (3-1, 78th), offering the Reds a first break.

But Eddie Howe’s players did not give up and were rewarded with a corner smashed by Sven Botman (3-2, 81st). Nothing to doubt Anfield because, in this funny match, a generous penalty allowed Salah to seal the victory for the Reds (4-2, 86th). With 14 goals on the clock, and before his departure for the African Cup of Nations, the Egyptian striker joins Manchester City’s Norwegian Erling Haaland at the top of the scorers’ rankings. It thus leaves a solid first place in the Premier League for a club which is aiming for its 20th coronation in the English championship, a record held only by the great neighboring rival, Manchester United.