Newcastle stymie Liverpool 0-0

Sports Desk, Dec 30 (efe-epa).- Defending champions Liverpool ended 2020 on top of the Premier League, but they may come to rue the two points they dropped Wednesday in a 0-0 draw away to Newcastle United.

While the Magpies had just 26 percent possession and put only two shots on target, they kept the high-scoring visitors off the board as goalkeeper Karl Darlow took man of the match honors.

Newcastle created the first chance of the game, a Callum Wilson strike that forced Reds keeper Alisson into action.

But that turned out to be the prelude to a Liverpool onslaught that saw Darlow make first-class stops to deny Mohammed Salah and Robert Firmino.

On another occasion, the Newcastle keeper got help from defender Fabian Schär, who swept the ball away from the goal mouth before Sadio Mane could put it past Darlow.

Ciaran Clark forced another stop from Alisson with 20 minutes left.

Wednesday marked the first time in 74 matches that Newcastle and Liverpool played to a scoreless draw and the first time in the current season that the Reds have been kept off the score sheet.

Liverpool remain first on 33 points, just 3 more than Manchester United, who have a game in hand.

Still without key man Allan Saint-Maximin, recovering from Covid-19, the Magpies edged up to 14th place on 19 points.

“We rode our luck at times and my goalkeeper’s made a few saves when you have to if you’re playing one of the best teams in Europe,” Newcastle coach Steve Bruce told reporters after the final whistle.

Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp, who was angry following the team’s 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion last weekend, struck a more positive tone on Wednesday.

“We found a lot of solutions today, created chances but didn’t use them that’s why it’s 0-0. But I liked the game,” the German said. “This is a draw which we are not happy with the result, but I’m fine with the performance because that’s the way we have to play and protect. We did all that, but it’s still disappointing. It is how it is.”

The other Premier League match scheduled for Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur-Fulham, was postponed at the last minute at the request of the visiting side after several players tested positive for coronavirus.

But amid calls from some coaches and club directors for a pause in the schedule because of the pandemic, the league sought to brush the notion aside.

“With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the Premier League continues to have full confidence in its Covid-19 protocols and being able to continue to play our fixtures as scheduled,” the league said. EFE cmg/dr

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