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Liverpool miss chance to open gap in Newcastle stalemate

Liverpool squandered the chance to open up a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League in the final English top-flight match of 2020 after Newcastle held them to a goalless draw on Wednesday.

The 0-0 draw at St James’ Park means the champions go into the New Year with a three-point lead over Manchester United, having played a game more.

Nathaniel Phillips was handed a Premier League start for Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp’s defensive resources having been further depleted.

With Joel Matip having joined long-term absentees Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez on the casualty list, Phillips was included along with former Magpies midfielder James Milner in two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with West Brom as Matip and Georginio Wijnaldum made way.

Newcastle started brightly, with Callum Wilson forcing two saves from keeper Alisson Becker inside the opening 12 minutes and giving as good as they got for much of the half.

However, Liverpool might have taken the lead 11 minutes before the break when Mohamed Salah stabbed wide having seemingly done the hard work.

And it took a fine reaction save from Karl Darlow to deny Roberto Firmino in stoppage time and ensure the sides headed back to the dressing rooms with the scores still level.

Liverpool, who enjoyed nearly three-quarters of possession during the match, continued to press in the second period but could not find a breakthrough, with Darlow coming to the home side’s rescue in the dying minutes.

Klopp’s men finish 2020 on 33 points after 16 games, three clear of United, who have 30 points after 15 matches.

Standings provided by SofaScore LiveScore

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