Good evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for tonight's Premier League showdown between Newcastle United
at St James' Park!
All eyes will be on Liverpool here as they look to at least ensure that the title race goes down to the final day, but only victory will do for them ahead of Manchester City's match against Leicester on Monday night. An eighth straight league win would send Liverpool back to the top of the table, but anything less and Man City would have the chance to seal the title with a game to spare. It is an in-form Newcastle side, led by a former Anfield favourite Rafa Benitez, who stand in their way though, and the Reds are heading into the game off the back of a 3-0 Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona in midweek.
Kickoff is in five minutes' time, so let's have a quick look at the team news before we get started...
NEWCASTLE STARTING XI:
Dubravka; Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie; Perez, Ki, Hayden, Atsu; Rondon
SUBS: Shelvey, Darlow, Diame, Barreca, Kenedy, Fernandez, Muto
LIVERPOOL STARTING XI:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Sturridge, Mane
SUBS: Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi, Gomez, Matip, Mignolet, Shaqiri
KICKOFF: Here we go! Another must-win game for Liverpool gets underway at St James' Park!
There is a great noise inside St James' Park tonight, and they unfurled a huge banner before kickoff too - a reminder to Rafa Benitez of just why he should stay at this club.
Liverpool are trying to set the tone early here and get on the front foot quickly, which they need to do after their result in midweek. No sign of a Champions League hangover just yet, but it is still very early days.
Liverpool have not had the best of times at this stadium recently, winning just once here in the past decade - although that was a 6-0 drubbing. Newcastle are in fine form at home so this is a dangerous game for the title chasers tonight.
Manquillo is fortunate to get away with a high foot here, catching Mane in the head inside his own area. Anywhere else on the field that is a foul, but the referee says no in the penalty box!
CHANCE! Half a chance for Liverpool at the end of a really good break forward which sees Sturridge release Mane. Eventually Robertson swings a cross in from the left and it falls at the feet of Salah, but he has to take his shot early and fires it wide of the near post.
GOAL! NEWCASTLE 0-1 LIVERPOOL (VIRGIL VAN DIJK)
An early breakthrough for Liverpool, and it is so, so easy for Virgil van Dijk
The Dutchman is left completely unmarked in the middle of the six-yard box to rise unchallenged and meet a corner with a downward header which Dubravka can do nothing about. Terrible marking, but a dream start for Liverpool!
Liverpool have also scored a league-high 17 headed goals now this season, while Newcastle have conceded a joint-league high 14...
That is a perfect start for Liverpool, and it prevents Newcastle from being able to just sit back and soak up the pressure. The onus is now on the visitors to take a few risks.
Dodgy play from Liverpool as first Lovren overhits a back-pass for Alisson, who refuses to hoof it long having only just kept it in. Newcastle's attackers almost catch Liverpool in the press, but Fabinho just about gets it clear.
GOAL! NEWCASTLE 1-1 LIVERPOOL (CHRISTIAN ATSU)
Newcastle level things up, but it could have - perhaps should have - been even worse for Liverpool as Alexander-Arnold had purposefully handled the ball on the line seconds before to deny Rondon a certain goal.
Rondon had turned the ball towards goal after Ritchie dragged his shot into his path, and it was only Alexander-Arnold's intentional elbow which kept it out. The rebound falls to the feet of Atsu, though, and he strokes it home to level things up and give Liverpool a reprieve in the process!
That is a big goal in a huge match in this title race, but perversely it is one Liverpool might be pleased to see awarded. Had Atsu not been there then it would have been a straight red card and a penalty.
CHANCE! Newcastle are up for this one now! Ritchie swings a cross in to the back post where Manquillo is racing forward, but his diving header is too close to Alisson.
OFF THE BAR! Liverpool are suddenly hanging on now! Perez picks up a knockdown from Atsu and gets a shot away early which crashes off the crossbar having taken Alisson by surprise.
GOAL! NEWCASTLE 1-2 LIVERPOOL (MOHAMED SALAH)
This is non-stop action at the moment! Salah restores Liverpool's lead with a cushioned right-footed finish on the volley, and it is Alexander-Arnold - lucky to still be on the pitch - who provides his second assist of the night!
The full-back whips his cross in from the right and Salah watches it all the way onto his boot before just steering his finish past Dubravka.
Questions must be asked of the Newcastle defence again with that goal as Salah was again in far too much space. Two soft goals for the hosts to concede so far!
Here is that Newcastle goal, complete with Alexander-Arnold's save which went unpunished...
CHANCE! It could - and perhaps should - be 3-1 here as Salah threads a pass through for Mane, who is thwarted by Dubravka. It was good goalkeeping, but Mane will feel that he should have scored.
Liverpool are racking up the stats so far tonight...
SHOT! Liverpool are back on top now and Sturridge looks to get in on the act with a curling effort which flies a couple of yards off target. You could see what he was trying to do, but the accuracy was just off.
This has been a cracking contest so far, played at a really good pace from the very first whistle. Newcastle are in no mood to just sit back and soak up pressure.
Liverpool fans may have been fearing a Benitez tactical masterclass tonight, but they have got plenty of joy going forward so far and there do seem to be more goals in this one for the visitors.
Five minutes left of an action-packed first half now and as things stand Liverpool will once again be heading to the top of the Premier League table, on a mammoth 94 points - yet still it might not be enough!
SAVE! Rondon wriggles into space around 25 yards from goal and tries his luck, but he doesn't catch it right and Alisson gets down to make a comfortable save.
Some sloppy passing from Liverpool leaves Newcastle in a good attacking position, but Fabinho steps out of defence to intercept the ball and break up the attack.
There will be two minutes of added time at the end of this first half.
YELLOW CARD! Schar picks up a needless booking for knocking the ball out of Henderson's hands when he was taking a throw-in.
HALF TIME: NEWCASTLE 1-2 LIVERPOOL
A superb first half comes to an end at St James' Park with Liverpool in the lead against Newcastle, and if we have half as much action in the coming 45 minutes then we are far from done tonight.
Liverpool have been the better team for the most part, but Newcastle had a purple patch after scoring their equaliser and the Magpies have looked dangerous when coming forward. Still on a knife edge this one!
The opening goal came after just 13 minutes when Newcastle's marking went AWOL to leave Van Dijk, of all people, unmarked six yards from goal to meet a corner.
From there the Dutchman had a relatively simple finish, planting his downward header past a helpless Dubravka to give Liverpool a perfect start.
Liverpool's lead lasted only seven minutes before Newcastle equalised, and in controversial fashion too.
Rondon's initial effort was prevented from going in by Alexander-Arnold's deliberate handball, but the ball bounced back out for Atsu to convert the rebound - allowing Alexander-Arnold to avoid a red card and a penalty.
It would prove to be a pivotal moment of that first half as Alexander-Arnold went on to set up Salah's strike eight minutes later, with the Egyptian edging further ahead in the Golden Boot race.
Alexander-Arnold swung a first-time cross into the middle for Salah, who watched it all the way before steering his finish into the bottom corner.
KICKOFF: Liverpool get us back underway for the second half!
Robertson swings another lovely cross into the box which Mane and Sturridge are both interested in, but Lascelles gets a crucial touch to put it behind for a corner.
SHOT! Salah tries his luck with a snapshot from range, but gets it all wrong and the ball is never troubling Dubravka.
CHANCE! A one-goal lead is not safe in this game, and Rondon fires a warning about that here with a sharp turn and shot just inside the area. Alisson is down well to keep it out.
CHANCE! Big chance for Liverpool at the other end here as Robertson, Mane and Wijnaldum work the ball well down the left flank before the latter lays the ball into the path of Sturridge. The striker really should score - or at least make the keeper work - but he blazes his effort well over the crossbar.
CHANCE! Half a chance for Liverpool again as the ball is zipped into the box by Robertson and Henderson does really well to fashion a volley out of it, but it is cleared away before it can trouble Dubravka.
Atsu goes bursting down the left and skips away from Lovren before whipping a cross into the box which Robertson needs to nod behind for a corner.
GOAL! NEWCASTLE 2-2 LIVERPOOL (SALOMON RONDON)
Newcastle level things up again, and they had been threatening that!
Rondon in particular has been a thorn in Liverpool's side tonight and he gets the equaliser with a brilliant left-footed volley into the bottom corner. Liverpool could not fully clear their lines from a corner and the ball is nodded back in to Rondon, who lashes it beyond Alisson before any of the defenders can react.
How big could that goal prove to be in this title race? Liverpool need another response in the final 35 minutes or so, but there are more goals in this match!
This is where the pressure will really start to come for Liverpool. They have dealt with it well for most of the season so far, but they simply have to score another tonight.
Brilliant skill from Ayoze Perez as he skips away from two defenders in a small amount of space inside the area, throwing in a couple of nutmegs to boot. He does get a shot away, but it is blocked before it can trouble Alisson.
Robertson drills a low cross into the box, but it is just behind Henderson who cannot get his foot to the ball.
It just isn't happening for Liverpool at the moment, although Newcastle are going for the win here so some space could open up for the Reds.
LIVERPOOL SUB: Change from Klopp here as Xherdan Shaqiri replaces Wijnaldum.
Half a chance for Newcastle as Ritchie sends a cross into the box which Atsu meets with his head, but he would have to do a lot to get it on target and in the end it does not test Alisson.
Concern for Salah here as he catches a heavy blow to the head from Dubravka and then hits his head against the floor when falling too. With all the talk about possible concussions at the moment I would be surprised to see Salah continue here.
This looks very worrying now. Salah has barely moved since going down and the medical staff have just called for a stretcher. It looks like it could be a serious one and the Reds could be missing Salah for the rest of the season.
Salah is carried off by the paramedics and on comes Divock Origi
in his place.
That is a huge blow for Liverpool in the final 15 minutes of this game, just when they need a goal. I would be surprised if we see him again this season either, and he will almost certainly not be ready for Tuesday's semi-final against Barcelona.
This is very stop-start now, with Perez going down clutching his head here. There will be lots of stoppage time to come.
Just over 10 minutes of normal time remaining now and Liverpool are running out of time to get that winning goal they need. Man City fans will be willing Newcastle to hold on here!
Poor from Alexander-Arnold, who panics with a quick free kick and fires it straight out of play. It gets a huge cheer from the crowd and will only add to the pressure Liverpool are feeling here.
LIVERPOOL SUB: Interesting change from Liverpool here as James Milner replaces Lovren, which will see Fabinho drop back into central defence.
Crucial interception from Dummett as he nods the ball over his own bar just when Origi's floated cross looked like falling to Mane at the back post.
GOAL! NEWCASTLE 2-3 LIVERPOOL (DIVOCK ORIGI)
HUGE, HUGE goal for Liverpool as they surely win this game and keep their title hopes alive with just four minutes remaining!
Shaqiri swings a cross into the box and it looks as though Origi has nodded it in, but it looks as though the final touch comes off Lascelles! Origi might have got the touch first, though, so he will be claiming it!
Liverpool fans don't care - it is a huge goal whoever it gets credited to!
Even if that goal does not get credited to Origi, he had a huge part to play having also got that late, late winner against Everton earlier in the season. He has certainly played his part in this title race!
NEWCASTLE SUB: Change for Newcastle as Muto replaces Schar - attacking move from Benitez!
There will be EIGHT minutes of added time at the end of this match!
YELLOW CARD! James Milner goes into the book for a sliding challenge on Atsu, taking one for the team.
It is all about game management for Liverpool now - can they see this match out for a massive three points? The title race will go down to the final day if they do.
Newcastle throw a cross into the box and Liverpool cannot initially clear it, but Alisson then comes out to punch it away. Nervy times for Liverpool now!
FULL TIME: NEWCASTLE 2-3 LIVERPOOL
The title race goes down to the final day!
Another dramatic installment in this incredible tussle at the top sees Liverpool return to the summit with 94 points, at least until Man City face Leicester on Monday night.
It was a huge win for Liverpool tonight as Origi gets an 86th-minute winner after Newcastle had twice wiped out the visitors' lead. Incredible stuff again, and it is over to Man City now!
Right, that is all we have time for this evening!
Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's massive match as Liverpool keep their title hopes alive with a dramatic 3-2 win over Newcastle! I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.
From me, though, it is goodbye for now!