So Liverpool fittingly end the year top of the Premier League, but back-to-back draws was not the way that Jurgen Klopp would have expected to depart 2020. Steve Bruce will hope that this performance (which moves Newcastle eight points clear of the bottom three) earns him a little bit of love from the fans after the recent tricky spell. Catch you all again in January, look after yourselves and Happy New Year.
- 2nd Half
- 1st Half
Newcastle United - Liverpool
Follow the Premier League live Football match between Newcastle United and Liverpool with Eurosport. The match starts at 21:00 on 30 December 2020.
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- End of 2nd Half
It’s all over at St James’ and Newcastle have held on for a super point. Hats off to them, they were excellent in the first-half and produced a brave rear-guard effort in the second half, with goalkeeper Karl Darlow making a string of superb saves.
Liverpool make their final change of the night, introducing Shaqiri for Salah.
There will be four minutes of added time at the end of this game. Enough for a winner?
How did that not go in?! Darlow makes a stunning save from a Liverpool corner and then gets quickly back on his feet to help clear the danger. The save was even more impressive because he palmed it away from the waiting Salah.
Newcastle are getting deeper and deeper and you really feel there might be a late winner coming here. It’s all Liverpool.
- Yellow cardIsaac HaydenNewcastle United
Hayden goes into the book for a foul in the centre of the park and that’s his fifth booking of the season so he’ll miss the match with Leicester.
Darlow saves onto the shin of Mane and the ball loops up to seemingly present a tap-in for the Liverpool forward... only for Schar to steam in from nowhere and clear off the line. That's sensational defending.
OFF THE LINE!
Clark forces Alisson into a decent save from a free-kick as Newcastle get a chance to throw bodies forward. They’ve played well tonight, but attacking opportunities have been drying up a little for the hosts.
- Yellow cardNathaniel PhillipsLiverpool
Phillips has struggled a little tonight and the defender goes into the book for a tackle so late that even national rail would have been embarrassed by it.
Liverpool are seeing more and more of the ball here and they are known for a late goal. Can they carve out a winner in the closing quarter of an hour?
There’s a stoppage in play as Schar receives some treatment to a slightly strange injury. He’s getting some magic spray and let’s just say that his shorts aren’t fully up and his left ‘glute’ is getting a bit of attention from the medics.
- OffJames MilnerLiverpool
Liverpool make another change in midfield with the tireless but unthreatening Milner replaced by Thiago.
It’s another bad miss for Liverpool as Firmino heads wide from close range with Darlow in no-man’s-land after coming for a corner and getting nowhere near it. That’s a huge chance and the replays only make it look worse.
- OffCurtis JonesLiverpool
- OnGeorginio WijnaldumLiverpool
Liverpool make a change of their own, with Jones going off and Wijnaldum introduced in midfield.
- OffJacob MurphyNewcastle United
- OnMiguel AlmirónNewcastle United
Newcastle make their first change of the night and it's Almiron who's coming on. That's a statement of intent from Steve Bruce.
That should have been the opener! Salah cuts back inside after being picked out by Firmino, but his shot is wide… in fact it’s really quite wide. That’s a bad miss.
- Yellow cardJames MilnerLiverpool
Liverpool enjoy an extended spell of possession in the Newcastle half but it comes to an end with a stray pass from Henderson and Milner sacrifices himself with a tactical foul to half the resulting break and picks up a booking.
Newcastle are still playing well here but the game is starting to get a bit stretched and the more open it gets the happier you’d imagine Liverpool will be.
Alexander-Arnold finds Mane with a deep cross but the header is all wrong and the flag is up for offside in any case.
That’s so close to the opener as Mane drifts across the near post and brushes the side-netting with his glancing header.
Mane wins Liverpool a corner after an extended spell of possession for the visitors.
Yedlin bursts past Fabinho and the defender steps in to wipe out the American, picking up a booking that he knew was coming. Cynical.
- 2nd Half
Newcastle get the game back underway and both teams are unchanged.
- End of 1st Half
The whistle goes and it’s 0-0 at the break. Mo Salah has had the best chance of the match so far at a freezing St James’ Park, but Newcastle have been decent with Callum Wilson particularly impressive up top for the Magpies. All to play for in the second half.
That’s another crucial stop by Darlow. Firmino is unmarked from six yards out but his header is a bit too close to the keeper. It’s still a decent stop though.
Salah thinks he’s in but Yedlin sniffed the danger and comes across in the nick of time as last man to make a crucial interception.
It’s been a decent half of football this, with Liverpool probably edging it but Newcastle offering plenty of threat themselves. It might be 0-0 but there’s been plenty of quality on show.
Murphy has a crack from range but it’s straight down the throat of Alisson. The ref blows up after the save for James Milner to receive some treatment, with the midfielder not happy that play was allowed to continue. There was little in the incident to merit a stoppage in truth.
This time it’s Robertson whose touch is all over the place to deny Liverpool a great chance on the break. It’s not clicking for the visitors, but they’re growing into this game and the openings are coming with increasing frequency now.
That’s a superb stop from Darlow to keep Newcastle level. Henderson’s floated pass over the top isn’t tracked by the centre-backs and Salah is clean through, only for the Newcastle stopper to rush out and get a crucial touch with his right fingertips to send the shot wide.
A fluffed touch from Firmino sees a chance go begging for Liverpool as he’s picked out in space in the Newcastle box. That control was clunkier than my dance moves, not great from the Brazilian, not great at all.
Mane and Salah try to combine in the final third but Liverpool’s usual attacking fluency just isn’t there and the move fades away to nothing.
A gem of a move from Liverpool ends with Alexander-Arnold in space at the back post to attempt a first-time volley, but he can’t quite make the connection he wants and it’s an easy save for Darlow.
Liverpool break through Mane, who ghosts past his man but can’t quite pick out a red shirt with his final ball.
Another cross into the Liverpool box almost picks out Wilson as Newcastle threaten again. It’s been an impressive start from the hosts.
Liverpool carve Newcastle open on the break but Robertson’s final cross is a bit too deep and it runs away from a throw-in on the far side.
Yedlin caught Robertson on the ankle in the follow-through of that shot and there’s a short pause while the full-back receives treatment.
The ball falls to Yedlin inside the box and he takes the shot on first time, sliding it wide of the far post. There’s a chance that was a shot that could have doubled as a cross, it’s hard to tell what Yedlin was trying, but once again it’s a dangerous situation that Newcastle have created for themselves.
Milner has a pop from distance but it’s a comfortable save for Darlow.
Wilson makes Phillips look a bit silly with a superb run that brushes the centre-back aside. The angle at the end of the run is quite a tight one for a shot, but it still takes Fabinho to come across and deny the Newcastle forward with a last-ditch block.
Clark drags back Milner and picks up the first booking of the game. That’s very early to be getting a yellow against a team as dangerous as this Liverpool side.
The snow is falling a little heavier now. It’s not likely to settle at this rate but these won’t be pleasant conditions for the players. (It could make for some nice photos though!)
Newcastle deal well with a brace of corners before Salah is caught offside as Milner tries to keep the pressure on.
Robertson whips a decent cross into the Newcastle box and Ritchie takes no chances, turning it behind for a corner.
Newcastle have had the better of the early exchanges and it’s Wilson again who has Alisson scrambling with a header from a free-kick that slides past the far post.
Callum Wilson forces Alisson into early action with a cross-turned-shot that needs to be tipped over the bar. The delivery from the resulting corner is decent but the Liverpool goal isn’t troubled by a wayward header.
- 1st Half
The game gets underway with Liverpool in their usual all-red strip and Newcastle in their black and white stripes.
The players take a knee as flakes of snow fall from the Newcastle sky and we’re all set for kick-off.
The stadium might be empty, but that doesn’t stop the usual saxophone solo in Mark Knopfler’s ‘Going Home’ from echoing around St James’. Banger of a tune this, let’s be honest.
Liverpool’s manager has enjoyed a remarkable year, leading the club to its first Premier League title and first domestic league crown in 30 years. He’ll be keen to ensure that the disappointing draw to West Brom last time out doesn’t set the tone for a drab ending to the year though, with tonight’s game being Liverpool’s (and the Premier League’s) last of 2020.
Newcastle’s disappointing recent run has seen pressure build on Steve Bruce. He’s spoken to tonight’s broadcasters and says he understands what ultimately will decide whether he’s a success at the club or not. There might be a hint of truth to what he's saying, but whether the fans will like that sort of thinking is another matter.
That’s the situation as it stands though, so for now let’s park the Covid chat and concentrate on this game.
The Premier League have released a statement this evening suggesting that they are currently happy for the scheduled fixtures to continue in coming weeks as planned. But as we know after a 2020 that has ripped up the rulebook, that position could certainly change.
Just under half an hour to go until kick-off and the players are out warming up (and that is no small task in freezing Newcastle this evening!).
Newcastle on the other hand are going through a sticky patch and could have done without back-to-back games against Man City and Liverpool. Steve Bruce’s side put in a decent if toothless showing in their 2-0 loss at the Etihad on Boxing Day, but will be hoping to offer slightly more in the way of attacking threat this evening when they get the opportunity.
As for tonight’s match, Liverpool will be keen to bounce back from the disappointment of dropped points against West Brom last time out and could temporarily extend their lead at the top of the table to five points over current closest challengers Manchester United.
Jurgen Klopp hasn’t been shy in offering his views on the congested nature of this season so far, and a ‘circuit break’ would surely only increase those issues during the remainder of the campaign. But what options do the Premier League have? Earlier this afternoon Eurosport’s James Walker-Roberts outlined the situation as it is right now and talked through the various solutions on offer, and you can read that article here:
With infection rates increasing at an alarming rate around the country and Premier League players increasingly returning positive tests, there have been calls from some quarters for the season to be paused for a ‘circuit break’ to try and reduce the risk. There has yet to be an official response to those suggestions.
While Liverpool’s upcoming matches aren’t currently under direct threat of cancellation, fans will no longer be able to attend matches at Anfield after a tightening of coronavirus restrictions in the area was announced today by the government.
Thankfully this game is okay to continue, but a string of positive tests at Fulham meant that the game which should have preceded this one was called off. You can read more about that story and what it means here.
Klopp makes two changes to his Liverpool line-up, with Milner and Phillips coming in for Wijnaldum and Matip. Interestingly there’s a spot for Thiago on the bench as he continues his return to full fitness.
Newcastle make just the one change from the XI that began the defeat to Manchester City on Boxing Day, with Callum Wilson starting in place of Miguel Almiron.
Good evening and welcome to live coverage of Newcastle vs Liverpool at St James’ Park. The last few days have seen the actual football overshadowed by a string of Covid-19 stories as Premier League positive tests arrive alarmingly regularly while infection rates soar in the UK. This evening’s earlier kick-off between Fulham and Spurs was the second of the midweek fixtures to be called off… but more on that later. First up it’s team news time.