”Agent Benitez, do you copy?”
“Agent Benitez. Do. You. Copy?”
“Agent Benitez, pls copy…?”
“Agent Benitez here. I Copy.”
So, hands up if you expected Liverpool to drop points tonight?
Exactly. No one.
ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, expected a game against Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle United – a team ‘on the beach’, managed by a modern Liverpool legend – to be the one in which Liverpool’s title challenged was derailed.
And yet, out of nowhere, it nearly was.
Out of nowhere, Liverpool looked on the brink of brink of throwing away the title on a (probably, it’s really far up north) cold night on Tyneside.
Despite it all starting so well, as Virgil van Dijk, or as he’s better known, THE GREATEST DEFENDER TO EVER PLAY FOOTBALL IN THE WORLD EVER, gave Liverpool the lead:
Virgil van Dijk has now been directly involved in 10 goals across all competitions this season.
Is there anything he can’t do? pic.twitter.com/R4cF6H8zwt
— Coral (@Coral) May 4, 2019
Liverpool lead as @VirgilvDijk heads home. Whisper it but I gave a little cheer. This title race deserves to go to the very last day.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 4, 2019
Then out of nowhere, Christian Atsu levelled after a defensive mix-up in a usually watertight Liverpool defence. It was the winger’s first goal since the dawn of time, and it couldn’t have came at a worse (yeah, you guessed it) time for the Reds:
⚽️ Christian Atsu ends a run of 39 PL apps without a goal – Newcastle have won all 7 PL and Championship games in which he has scored previously pic.twitter.com/AiFMo2wvxm
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) May 4, 2019
Atsu with a sense of timing and occasion.
— Michael Oti Adjei (@OtiAdjei) May 4, 2019
Fears that Rafael Benitez hadn’t shown his side the script prior to the game however, were quickly relieved before half-time. Liverpool fans collectively breathed a deep sigh of relief when Mohamed Salah gave his side a 2-1 lead.
Salah has equalled Roger Hunt’s best two-season goal haul of 70.
Only Ian Rush (78, 73 twice) has ever got more across two seasons for Liverpool.
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) May 4, 2019
All was right with the world again.
Balance had been restored.
Jurgen Klopp was happy.
Liverpool fans were happy.
Rafael Benitez was happy…?
Until Salomon Rondon, out of nowhere, scored an astonishing volley from just inside the penalty area to draw Newcastle United level and send Tyneside into raptures:
Rondon statue in every city in the country haha
— Paul berry (@Paulber35907121) May 4, 2019
Rondon is better than lukaku pass it on
— Chris Heptinstall (@chrisheppy1) May 4, 2019
Manchester City and Liverpool have the two best defensive records in the Premier League.
Salomón Rondón has scored against both. pic.twitter.com/vScELsMGql
— bet365 (@bet365) May 4, 2019
Following Rondon’s goal, all seemed lost. Liverpool were struggling to create anything in the final third, and Mohamed Salah was stretchered off with an apparent head injury; a head injury which could see the forward miss Liverpool’s clash with Barcelona in midweek.
And then, OUT OF NOWHERE, Divock Origi (of all people, right?!) popped up in the 85th minute to give the Reds the win:
And that was all she – or he (Rafael Benitez) – wrote. Liverpool would hold on for a crucial 3-2 win and with a lead at the top of the Premier League table just eight days before the season comes to an end.