Sack face: Rafa Benitez has been dismissed as Real Madrid manager

By Harry Sykes

Newcastle boosted their hopes of escaping Premier League relegation by coming back from 2-0 down to claim a point at in-form Liverpool on Saturday afternoon.

The Merseysiders were in total command at half-time after outstanding individual goals from Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana had given them a seemingly secure advantage.

But Georginio Wijnaldum, who had been omitted from the starting X1 for the second consecutive match, came off the bench at half-time to inspire Newcastle’s fightback.

Papiss Cisse pulled one back after 47 minutes with a fine header and Jack Colback stunned Anfield with an equaliser midway through the second half with a shot that deflected off Dejan Lovren.

Rafael Benitez’s side have now secured five points from their last three matches over an eight-day period and their hopes of Premier League survival are alive.

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“Newcastle have given themselves a fighting chance now,” BBC pundit John Hartson told Radio Five Live afterwards. “Credit to them – no matter what people say, on the evidence of this second-half performance they are not dead and buried yet.”

Benitez’s team remain in 19th position in the Premier League but are now level on points with Sunderland and only one behind Norwich.

Sam Allardyce’s side have two matches in hand, one of which is on Sunday when they host Arsenal at the Stadium of Light.

Alex Neil’s Norwich have one game in hand on Newcastle, with their scheduled clash against Watford this weekend postponed because the Hertfordshire club play in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday.