Naby Keita’s classy first-half goal at St. James’ Park was enough to send Liverpool two points ahead of City, which plays at Leeds later.
Even with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Mohamed Salah rested from the starting lineup ahead of Tuesday’s decisive Champions League semifinal game at Villarreal, Liverpool could have won more comfortably as Newcastle’s hopes of a fifth straight league win wilted in the face of almost constant pressure.
Newcastle was also bidding for a seventh straight win at home and the game kicked off amid a raucous atmosphere that might have increased had Jonjo Shelvey managed to make a better connection with a second-minute shot.
Keita had keeper Martin Dubravka scrambling across his line as his first-time strike flew inches wide of the far post with eight minutes gone as Liverpool increasingly started to dominate.
It took the lead after 19 minutes when Jordan Henderson and Diogo Jota combined to feed Keita, who stepped inside before dispatching the ball past the helpless Dubravka.
Miguel Almiron thought he had leveled after rounding goalkeeper Alisson, only for an offside flag to dash his hopes, and it took a fine fingertip save by Dubravka to prevent Jota from increasing the visitors’ lead just before halftime.
Newcastle started the second half with greater intensity, but with Bruno Guimaraes and Allan Saint-Maximin largely curtailed, was unable to cause enough problems.
Sadio Mane could have sealed the result with 27 minutes remaining but steered his shot wide.