ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
LIVERPOOL • There are days when you have to admire the ominous power in the opposition ranks and take your punishment. This was one of them for Steve Bruce.
His Newcastle team were belligerent, committed and disciplined, they even took the lead in the 3-1 Premier League loss at Anfield yesterday, but they were still cut apart by the brilliant precision of Liverpool's supreme attack.
Sadio Mane struck twice and Mohamed Salah once as Liverpool recorded a 14th consecutive Premier League win and extended their unbeaten run to 22 league games, their longest sequence under their manager Jurgen Klopp.
Both strikers were indebted to sublime assists from Roberto Firmino, who started on the bench. Jetro Willems' thumping early strike for Newcastle and the hosts' initial difficulties were long forgotten by the time Salah sealed victory for the Premier League leaders late in the second half.
Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said on BBC Sport: "We didn't start the game the way we wanted to and Newcastle, they started brightly and scored a hell of a goal.
"That gave us the wake-up call we needed and we kicked into gear and were too good for them."
Klopp had been concerned the international break would disrupt a rhythm that had flowed so effectively in Liverpool's last two outings against Burnley and Arsenal. His fears were founded initially.
Mane of Senegal is just the fourth African player to score 70 Premier League goals, after Ivorian Didier Drogba (104), Togo's Emmanuel Adebayor (95) and Nigerian Yakubu Ayegbeni (95).
Liverpool were sluggish in the opening 20 minutes, their touches sloppy. The accuracy of Firmino and Jordan Henderson, both rested ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie at Napoli, was missed.
An added problem was Newcastle's disciplined organisation and sharpness on the counter-attack.
The regret for Bruce was that it could not be sustained due to the intensity that eventually returned to the hosts' display.
Liverpool's equaliser in the 28th minute was created by the persistence of Robertson, who found Mane in space inside the area. The Senegal striker then picked his spot to perfection in the top corner.
Firmino had only been o