Liverpool v Newcastle – Match Report
Newcastle United 1 (Cabaye 43)
A gutsy point earned but it could have been three if it hadn’t been for the sending off, injuries and the one true quality player Liverpool have.
As well as counting the dropped two points, Alan Pardew will no doubt be counting the cost of injuries to Ba and Cabaye, whilst wondering whether to appeal against the Colo sending off.
Liverpool set off like they had a point to prove and for twenty minutes or so they looked like they might prove it in the opening exchanges.
Dominating possession and territory they looked dangerous up to the eighteen yard line but then looked short of options with only Suarez looking to get into scoring positions.
The returning Taylor and Coloccini were standing firm though and Newcastle got through it ok.
United managed the odd passing movement but struggled as they got towards the other end. Talking of struggling, Perch was looking a bit out of his depth and a couple of reaching challenges led to free-kicks in dodgy areas.
The returning Anita was getting on top of Sterling when Perch was forced off with a strain, leading to Simpson on and Anita moving into the middle of the midfield alongside of the non-stop Gutierrez.
Another player who’d struggled in the opening half was Hatem Ben Arfa and the Liverpool pack regularly hunted him down and won back possession, while any one on ones with Enrique tended to remind us that he might not have lost the ability he showed at St.James’ Park.
As the half went though Newcastle did get a stronger foothold as Liverpool’s initial onslaught calmed down but still United struggled to create a meaningful chance.
That all changed with two minute left to half-time, for the first time Ben Arfa got at Enrique and twisted him and another marker inside out before hitting a perfect cross to Cabaye, one touch and then a perfect finish across the keeper.
Second best in possession but a goal up at the break. I’d have settled for that.
The second half saw things quickly go pear-shaped as after only a few minutes Demba Ba was forced off injured.
Ironic that Liverpool equalised with a route one approach, a long ball was admittedly brilliantly brought down by Suarez ahead of Coloccini and then expertly rounded Krul.
Worse was to follow for our captain as he went in on Sterling on the touchline with five minutes left. A bit like the mackems the player reaction was over the top and a red card was shown, the replays I’m told suggest no contact was made from Colo’s studs.
Newcastle managed to break a couple of times with some intent and Ben Arfa could have done better when we ended up with two over.
In the final analysis though it is a great point and hopefully the cost in terms of injuries/suspension won’t prove too severe a hangover.
You can see why Liverpool aren’t winning matches as it took that moment of brilliance by Suarez to avoid defeat. Apart from free-kicks the previously dominant Gerrard can’t get into matches like he used to.
They have then assembled a strange collection of quite skilful players but you don’t get the feeling they are suddenly going to become goalscoring monsters.
With black & white eyes, I think Sammy and Shane Ferguson certainly look like prospects who aren’t intimidated by everything that goes with first team football. How they progress remains to be seen but with the injuries/suspension apparently accumulated today, they could be getting their fair share of chances in the near future.
Steven Taylor was absolutely outstanding and fair play to Alan Pardew, for both showing faith in Williamson by keeping him in against Sunderland and West Brom, but accepting the inevitable and bringing back Taylor for this match and you’d guess all future ones – barring injury.
Newcastle look to be now easing their way into the season but it looks like being a squad effort if those encouraging signs are going to be translated into any kind of a repeat of last season.
Liverpool: Jones, Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique, Allen, Sahin, Sterling, Gerrard, Suso, Suarez
Newcastle: Krul, Anita, Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Gutierrez, Perch (Simpson 27), Cabaye (Ferguson 68), Ben Arfa, Ba (Sammy Ameobi 50), Cisse
Subs Not Used: Harper, Ferguson, Williamson, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Shola
Ref: Anthony Taylor
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