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Published: 13:31 | 16/12/15

Toon shock lacklustre Liverpool

Georginio Wijnaldum starred as Newcastle United beat a lacklustre Liverpool 2-0 in the Barclays Premier League at St. James’ Park.

Georginio Wijnaldum starred as Newcastle United beat a lacklustre Liverpool 2-0 in the Barclays Premier League at St. James’ Park.

In a scrappy encounter featuring few chances and little memorable attacking play, the midfielder did well to force Martin Skrtel into scoring an own goal with the game entering its closing stages.

Wijnaldum then sealed a vital win with a lovely finish in injury time which moves Steve McClaren’s side above Sunderland into 18th place in the table.

Although they will rue an incorrectly disallowed Alberto Moreno goal which would have brought them level, Jurgen Klopp’s side can have few complaints on an afternoon when they performed far below their expectations.

Without Philippe Coutinho and with Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana dropping to the bench, the Merseysiders failed to ignite in attack and looked disjointed in most areas.

The result leaves Liverpool six points off the final Champions League qualification places in seventh place and calms recent talk of a surprise title challenge.

Newcastle won’t care about that though as they responded in the best possible way to poor recent results.

In-form Liverpool gradually began to take control of the game early on but it took until a quarter of the way into the match before they were able to create their first real chance.

A corner into the box was met by Dejan Lovren, who helped the ball on to Christian Benteke but the striker somehow prodded the ball over the bar from close range.

Papiss Cisse should have done better when left one-on-one against Skrtel up the other end, opting to cut inside onto his favoured left foot rather than taking the defender on in space down the right and the forward ran into traffic and lost the ball.

The game remained scrappy in the second period with chances at a premium and on the half hour mark Klopp introduced Sturridge and Lallana in an effort to make the breakthrough.

However, it was the Magpies who finally broke the deadlock on 68 minutes when Wijnaldum eventually brought the ball under control in the Liverpool penalty area, shifted it to the right and let fly with his effort deflecting off the outstretched leg of Skrtel and past Simon Mignolet, replays indicating the Dutchman’s effort was probably going wide.

The visitors began to threaten in response to going behind, Sturridge taking aim from distance – his shot however, flew well wide of the target.

The England striker was then released by Lallana but he badly screwed his first-time effort several yards past the far post.

Liverpool could have been level when James Milner’s lovely crossfield pass found Moreno but just as the full back was preparing to meet the cross, the referee’s whistle blew for offside, Moreno finishing beautifully over keeper Rob Elliot with television replays proving the decision to be incorrect.

Dejan Lovren should have done better when he beat Elliot to a corner but his header drifted well wide, while the defender headed straight at Elliot minutes later.

However, Wijnaldum had the last laugh as he produced a wonderful dinked finish to seal a crucial - and fully deserved - victory.

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