English Premier League: Mohamed Salah scores twice as league-leading Liverpool dispatch Newcastle

Mohamed Salah's second-half brace made up for a missed penalty as Liverpool kicked off the new year three points clear atop the Premier League standings with a 4-2 victory over Newcastle United at a rain-drenched Anfield on Tuesday (NZ time).

Juergen Klopp's team, who began the day level with Aston Villa on points, now have 45 from 20 games. Villa have 42 points while Manchester City, who have played one fewer game, are third on 40. Newcastle are ninth on 29.

Liverpool dominated the game, and Salah, who had fired a first-half penalty straight at goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, finally broke the deadlock in the 49th minute when Darwin Nunez cut the ball across to the Egyptian for a close range finish.

Alexander Isak scored against the run of play with Newcastle's second shot of the game in the 54th minute when he ran onto a through ball from Anthony Gordon and knocked it past keeper Alisson into the far corner.

However, Curtis Jones put the home side back in front in the 74th minute with a tap-in after a pass across goal from Diogo Jota, and Cody Gakpo scored four minutes later.

Sven Botman pulled one back for Newcastle in the 81st before Salah, who was playing his last game before departing for the African Cup of Nations, struck from the penalty spot after Jota had been fouled to seal the win in the 86th.