Premier League 2018-19: 3 reasons behind Liverpool's 4-0 win over Newcastle United
Liverpool treated their fans to a 4-0 win over Newcastle United courtesy goals from Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho. The win saw Liverpool open up a seven-point gap over Manchester City who slumped to a 1-2 loss against Leicester away from home.
Joselu could have put the visitors ahead in the 8th minute, but his poorly executed header went wide after bouncing off the floor. Liverpool then opened the scoring through Lovren's sweetly struck volley in the 11th minute.
Jurgen Klopp's troops could have put the game to bed before the interval as a plethora of chances fell to Sadio Mane, who could not convert due to poor finishing.
Shortly after the interval, Liverpool doubled their lead through Salah's penalty in the 47th minute. Newcastle showed no hunger after that, and the game was effectively sealed in the 79th minute as Shaqiri tapped home from a Trent Alexander-Arnold assist.
The rout was complete five minutes from time after Fabinho headed home close range.
On that note, let us take a look at three things that helped Liverpool secure a 4-0 win against Newcastle on Boxing Day.
#3 Lovren's early strike sets the tone for a comprehensive win
Rafa Benitez came to Anfield and set up a back five comprising of Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles, Dummett and Ritchie to stifle Liverpool's front three. In games like this, where teams defend deep in their own half, it is important for teams on the offensive to get an early goal.
Liverpool probed sharply and took a well deserved lead in the 11th minute after Lovren's sweetly struck volley found its way to the back of Martin Dubravka's goal. Lascelles could have and should have done better by clearing the header away from danger, but instead saw his headed clearance fall straight to the Croatian international.
Newcastle looked clueless in possession and could not enjoy a sustained spell on the ball which could have forced the Liverpool rearguard into action. The midfield trio of Diame, Kenedy and Hayden lacked the required composure, discipline and quality, which left the likes of Joselu and Muto bereft of any service from the middle of the park.
The hosts took advantage of Newcastle's lack of creativity and tactical discipline to create a wealth of opportunities. A lack of effort from the visitors saw Liverpool run amok in the second half to secure a comfortable 4-0 win at Anfield.
Overall, massive credit must be given to Lovren, whose early goal altered the game's momentum and provided the platform for Jurgen Klopp's side to secure their 16th win of the season.