Mohamed Salah's change of boots fires Liverpool to impressive victory over Newcastle

Egyptian recovers from missing a penalty to score twice as Reds establish three-point lead at the top of the Premier League table

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A change of boots brought a change of fortunes for Mohamed Salah on Monday night after the Egyptian star recovered from missing a penalty to fire Liverpool to a 4-2 victory over Newcastle United.

Salah had the chance to put Liverpool ahead in the 22nd minute but saw his penalty well saved by Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. He soon shrugged off the disappointment, though, and after changing his boots at halftime, Salah broke the deadlock four minutes into the second half.

Alexander Isak soon equalised for Newcastle but two quickfire goals from Curtis Jones and Cody Gakpo in the 74th and 78th minutes saw Liverpool convert their dominance into a comfortable lead.

Sven Botman pulled a goal back for Newcastle with a thumping header from a corner, but Salah made sure of the victory with his second visit to the penalty spot. This time, the Egyptian made no mistake, slotting into the bottom corner for his 14th league goal of the season.

"We should not be really surprised that Mo can change a game, can improve in the game, because he did it hundreds of times," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said after his side opened a three-point lead at the top of the table.

"But it's just a really good example. The more goals you have, the more you're used to missing chances and the more you just understand what you have to do keep going and if necessary keep improving, using the situations better, and that's what Mo did."

Salah, who will join up with Egypt for their Africa Cup of Nations campaign this month, is now joint-top goalscorer in the league with Manchester City's Erling Haaland.

"It's not superstitious because I play with many boots. But when I feel it's going to play with my head, OK, out, change the boots," Salah said.

Liverpool thoroughly dominated against Newcastle on a wild and rain-drenched evening at Anfield, with 35 shots to the visitors' five, and 15 shots on target.

"I didn't have to look at the stats, because I saw it. It was really special," Klopp said. "It was (partly keeper Martin) Dubravka. We didn't stop, that's the most important thing."

A couple of weeks after calling out the Anfield crowd for two uncharacteristically quiet games, Klopp had nothing but praise for the fans who braved the blustery conditions on Monday.

"Tonight the atmosphere was absolutely exceptional in how we all took together, these missed chances," Klopp said. "It was not like 'Oh my god, what are they doing?' and I would understand that in moments, but everybody was just really on fire and we go again, we go again, we go again and we did.

"So, super game from start to finish, super high intensity."

There was a moment of panic for the Liverpool manager when he lost his wedding ring on the pitch after full-time while clapping along with the fans. He spent several moments retracing his steps before spotting the ring and then kissing it with a grin for a television camera.

"That would have been really awful," said a relieved Klopp. "I lost it in the sea once and needed a professional diver. I had a massive shock but it's back."

Updated: January 02, 2024, 5:04 AM