Relentless title challenge bursts back into life as well of Liverpool willpower refuses to run dry

Liverpool fought in dramatic fashion to take three points against Newcastle at St James’ Park on Saturday.

The breathless 3-2 win saw the travelling Kop erupt into pandemonium as the Reds opened up a two-point gap over rivals Manchester City in the Premier League title race in their penultimate game.

Of course, Pep Guardiola’s side have a game in hand but that victory means Liverpool have now won their last eight match in a row in the domestic competition and the national media have given their verdict on Jurgen Klopp‘s side returning to the top of the table.

Oliver Holt in the Mail on Sunday scribed: There were four minutes of normal time to go when the ball flicked off the head of Divock Origi and bulged the Newcastle United net. High, high in the Leazes End behind the goal, a guttural roar of relief and exultation exploded from the Liverpool fans and spread out across the city of Newcastle below. It felt as if the roar had come from the skies. After a night when all seemed lost, their team was still alive.

After a night when the relentless title race between Jurgen Klopp’s side and Manchester City finally seemed to be coming to an end, when everything seemed to be going wrong for Liverpool, when their season seemed to be collapsing around them, they refused to let the dream die.

And so this 3-2 win means they are back on top of the table again. And so Liverpool have 94 points. And so Liverpool have won their last eight league games. And so City have to win when they play a carefree, in-form Leicester side at the Etihad on Monday. And so one of the greatest of all English title races is going down to the wire. Right down to the wire. 

Jonathan Liew for the Independent penned: However you can. However you must. Liverpool hadn’t come this far, shed this much blood, to throw it away at the penultimate hurdle. And so when they won a free-kick in the 86th minute, with their Premier League title challenge hanging by a thread, it didn’t matter that Mo Salah had been forced off with injury and substitute Xherdan Shaqiri was standing over the kick. It didn’t matter that Divock Origi, nor Roberto Firmino, was wandering around the area looking for space. However you can, and whoever can: these are the maxims that all title-chasing sides must live by.

With four minutes plus stoppage time left to salvage their dream, Origi headed in Shaqiri’s free-kick to claim a win. That, ultimately, was all that mattered. Everything else was details. Their defending was pretty shocking at times. Salah’s injury will be a concern in the coming days. Christian Atsu and Salomon Rondon were immense for the home side in a valiant team effort that belied their relative lack of jeopardy. But these were footnotes, mere bagatelles, on a night when Liverpool ensured the Premier League title race would be decided on its very final day.

Sam Wallace in The Telegraph writes: It was the night when Liverpool’s title challenge flickered for what must have seemed like an eternity for Jurgen Klopp and then, with time and options running out, burst back into life in mesmerising fashion with a goal from an understudy thrust centre-stage again.

Step forward Divock Origi: substitute, fourth-choice striker, Merseyside derby match-winner and decisive again, in the 86th minute of a thrilling game. The title race will go into the last weekend of the Premier League season after all, and once again the question is asked of Manchester City, who take on Leicester on Sunday, as to whether they can hold their nerve and go into the final Sunday in pole position.

This was an extraordinary game in which Newcastle came back twice, and one in which Origi was only thrown on because of an injury in the second half to Mohamed Salah, colliding with goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and carried off. That meant there were eight tense minutes of time added on at the end and there were moments when one wondered if this might even emulate the 4-3 classic between the two sides from April 1996, that helped deny Newcastle a Premier League title of their own.

This was Liverpool’s eighth straight Premier League win and while it was not their most composed by a long way, it said a lot about the depth of Klopp’s squad.

Martin Hardy for The Times said: Their well of willpower simply does not run dry and still their spirit won’t evaporate: Liverpool refuse, just plain refuse, to cede the 2018-19 Premier League to Manchester City. Perhaps it was always going to be like this, the most epic and remarkable of title races, going to the final round of fixtures, thanks to the most remarkable, epic game. Again, Jurgen Klopp’s side proved themselves exceptional.

If they do finish second, as runners-up only Arsenal in 1998-99 would be their equals in terms of personality and brilliance — and it would also underline City’s achievement in defeating them.

But their hope is alive, thanks to another late, untidy, but utterly precious Divock Origi goal — just like the big Belgian scored against Everton. Saturday nights in Newcastle are typically intoxicating and chaotic and this was a crazy, almost drunken football match. Liverpool scored, were pegged back. Scored, got pegged back again. Then had the trauma of losing Mohamed Salah to a head injury, following a collision with Martin Dubravka.

As Salah left on a stretcher, hands over face, chest heaving with sobs, the image was eerily reminiscent of last year’s Champions League final. Origi jogged on.