Liverpool verdict - Divock Origi emerges from the shadows again to halt Rafa Benitez torture

Origi scores late on as Liverpool take the Premier League title race with Man City down to the last day

By James Pearce
23:16, 4 MAY 2019

A season appeared to be brutally unravelling before Kopites' eyes at St James' Park.

Liverpool's 26-goal top scorer had been carried off in agony on a stretcher and their frontline striker was watching at home on TV with a potentially season-ending injury.

On the back of a cruel Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona in midweek, their Premier League title dream looked set to go up in smoke. Fifty thousand Geordies were revelling in the Reds' suffering as the minutes ticked away.
Jurgen Klopp's side looked doomed to a demoralising stalemate which would have effectively gift-wrapped that gleaming trophy for Manchester City. Pep Guardiola was putting the champagne on ice.
CLICK HERE to relive the dramatic action from Liverpool vs Newcastle as Divock Origi scores late winner

But this remarkable team Klopp has built simply refused to accept their fate. In the face of adversity, they rallied and delivered a thrilling late twist in the tale.
Four minutes from time Xherdan Shaqiri whipped a free-kick into the box and fellow substitute Divock Origi sent a glancing header goalwards to spark scenes of wild joy amongst the travelling Kop.

The ball flew in off Newcastle skipper Jamaal Lascelles who in his programme notes had declared: “I do fancy us tonight. Liverpool might be quite tired.” Pride really did come before a fall.
It was a thrilling, torturous night in the North East. Rafa Benitez had vowed that there would be no favours for his old club and he was true to his word as a resurgent Newcastle pushed Liverpool all the way.
The sense of tension was unbearable during a nerve-shredding finale but the Reds got over the line.

Once again when their backs were against the wall, they found a way to win under immense pressure. They character they have shown all season has been breathtaking. They have got themselves out of so many tight corners. They truly possess balls of steel.
An eighth successive league victory lifted them two points clear and ensured that the title race will go down to the final day of the season next Sunday when Liverpool host Wolves and City travel to Brighton.
Now all eyes will be on the Etihad on Monday night. If Brendan Rodgers can stop the City juggernaut with Leicester then he will be afforded the kind of legendary status on the Kop which narrowly eluded him five years ago.
If the Foxes avoid defeat then Liverpool will have their destiny in their own hands. Hope still abounds.

The Reds appeared to be cruising at St James' Park after Virgil van Dijk nodded home his sixth goal of the season but Christian Atsu soon restored parity.

Mohamed Salah made it 2-1 but Salomon Rondon equalised in the second half before Salah was stretchered off after a sickening clash with keeper Martin Dubravka. When Liverpool needed a hero, Origi emerged from the shadows to replicate his impact in the Merseyside derby earlier this season.

Now there's just the small matter of trying to pull off a European miracle when Barcelona visit Anfield on Tuesday night.
In the absence of Firmino, who is still hampered by a groin injury, Daniel Sturridge was handed only his fourth Premier League start of the season.
Klopp had opted for fresh legs in the wake of a gruelling night in the Nou Camp with captain Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren also recalled.
With Keita sidelined by an adductor injury, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and James Milner all dropped to the bench.
Liverpool flew out of the blocks and dominated the opening exchanges.

Former Reds full-back Javier Manquillo was fortunate to get away with a clumsy high boot which flattened Sadio Mane inside the box.
Klopp applauded enthusiastically on the touchline as his side continued to move the ball at pace and really stretch Newcastle's backline.
Full-backs Andy Robertson and Alexander-Arnold rampaged forward as every opportunity – providing the kind of elite service the Reds' front three have feasted on all season.
Salah blazed wide and saw another effort deflected over before the breakthrough arrived on 13 minutes.
Alexander-Arnold's corner was inviting and the marking was non-existent as Van Dijk gleefully powered a header past Martin Dubravka from six yards out.

Liverpool were firmly in the ascendancy with Sturridge bright and inventive as he dropped off into space and linked play intelligently.
Newcastle had barely threatened but they restored parity just seven minutes after falling behind. Matt Ritchie's cross-shot was turned goalwards by Rondon, it struck Alexander-Arnold's arm and Atsu made the appeals irrelevant by slamming home the loose ball.
The atmosphere inside St James' Park was transformed and briefly Liverpool were wobbling.
Manquillo's diving header from Ritchie's cross was held by Alisson Becker before the dangerous Ayoze Perez volleyed against the bar.
But as has been the case so often this season, Klopp's men stood firm. They refused to wilt and swiftly regained their composure.
Just before the half-hour mark Liverpool were back in front. Sturridge's classy backheel found Alexander-Arnold, who whipped in another beauty from the right.
Salah's eyes lit up and he hooked a clinical finish past Dubravka and into the bottom corner. With two more assists, Alexander-Arnold moved level with Robertson on 13 for the season.

Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool FC at St. James Park on May 04, 2019 (Image: Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Some of Liverpool's slick interplay was sublime but Mane was thwarted by Dubravka's block.
The Reds should have netted a third goal early in the second half. Outstanding in the Nou Camp in midweek, Robertson maintained his remarkable consistency in the North East.
The left-back's hunger and tenacity won back possession high up the field and Gini Wijnaldum teed up Sturridge but his finish was horribly wayward.

Moments later Robertson showcased the other side to his game as he raced back to deal with a dangerous cross after Atsu had skipped away from Lovren.
From the ensuing corner, Newcastle levelled for the second time. Wijnaldum nodded clear but Manquillo turned it back into the box and Rondon unleashed a thunderous finish past Alisson.
Suddenly, Liverpool were on the back foot with Perez's shot blocked as the home fans serenaded Benitez with chants of 'We want you to stay'.

Jurgen Klopp and Rafael Benitez embrace prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool FC at St. James Park on May 04, 2019 (Image: Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Klopp took action with Shaqiri brought on for Wijnaldum. It was a rare outing for the Swiss attacker, who has slipped down the pecking order following a lively start to his Liverpool career. This was only his third outing since February.
Liverpool's hopes of wrestling back the initiative were dented by the sight of Salah lying motionless on the turf after being clattered by Dubravka. Following lengthy treatment, he was stretchered off to applause from all four sides of St James' Park with Origi replacing him.
Heartbreak beckoned but Origi delivered another priceless late cameo. It's going down to the wire. 

Newcastle: Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar (Muto 90), Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Ki, Atsu, Perez, Rondon.
Not used: Darlow, Barreca, Fernandez, Kenedy, Shelvey, Diame.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren (Milner 83), Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum (Shaqiri 66), Henderson, Mane, Salah (Origi 73), Sturridge.
Not used: Mignolet, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Matip.
Referee: Andre Marriner
Attendance: 52,206

Goals: Van Dijk 13, Atsu 20, Salah 28, Alisson 54, Origi 86.
Bookings: Schar, Milner.
Man of the match: Andy Robertson. Outstanding once again.

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