Liverpool wanted to finish 2020 on a high by bouncing back from a disappointing draw against West Brom with victory over Newcastle United, but another frustrating stalemate was all they could muster at St James’ Park.
Despite a number of clear-cut chances, a couple of which fell to Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, the Reds could not find the back of the net against a Magpies side set up to be obstinate by Steve Bruce.
Reds fans got a welcome bit of news prior to the game, when Liverpool confirmed that Thiago would be included in the matchday squad after a lengthy absence from first-team action due to injury.
Indeed, the Spaniard was named on the bench, and could be in line to make an appearance for the first time since mid-October. In defence, Nathaniel Phillips was preferred to Rhys Williams in Joël Matip’s absence, while James Milner also makes his return to the starting XI.
For the hosts, Karl Darlow kept his place between the sticks, meaning regular first-choice goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka had to settle for a place on the bench. Jacob Murphy, Callum Wilson and Joelinton was the attacking triumvirate of choice, keeping Miguel Almirón in reserve in case an impact sub was needed.
The draw means that the Reds have now failed to beat four of the bottom six this season, and Manchester United could pull level on points with Liverpool at the top of the table if they win their game in hand.
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