Rafa Benitez faced up to Liverpool with another master class, with the reward of another point to United’s total.

Newcastle were neither afraid to attack, nor did they in any way shirk the defensive duties, testing Liverpool’s far superior team thoroughly, showing how much the squad has grown under Rafa Benitez.

A game that would have been a 4-0 or 5-0 loss under Steve McClaren or Pardew, was much closer than most could have imagined.

Liverpool stretched the defence with Mane and Salah, but Rafa had the defence sit a bit deeper to cope, and we were very rarely caught out of shape. All the players were told to contribute defensively, with even Joselu not ignoring his defensive duties from the front. It was obvious the team was very well drilled and organised.

However, despite this, Liverpool took the lead, and took it in some style. Liverpool’s goal was a beautiful strike by Coutinho, something that cannot be prepared for. He moved infield past Shelvey before rocketing one past Elliot.

Newcastle though, did not collapse, as they would have done under any other manager. Soon, Shelvey delivered a beautiful ball and Joselu should have slotted it through, but took long enough that Matip was back to tackle him. However, the ball bobbled off Matip, into Joselu and over the line, for one of the luckiest equalisers.

Play then got a bit less frenetic after half-time and eventually Joselu, who despite the goal, was not at his best, was taken off for Gayle.

Perez was another who had a very poor game, in truth, along with Clark.

Shelvey was at his imperious best though, contributing defensively while also pinging some beautiful balls. He also cleared one off the line that would have given Liverpool the lead near the end.

Hayden made a great last ditch block towards the end, while Elliot made a couple of good saves late on.

A very late effort by Diame was claimed easily by Mignolet, but overall Newcastle were composed, and were more than good enough for the point.

(Full match report to follow)

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Liverpool 1

Goals:

Newcastle: Joselu 36

Liverpool: Coutinho 29

Possession was Liverpool 68% Newcastle 32%

Total shots were  Liverpool 17 Newcastle 8

Shots on target were Liverpool 2 Newcastle 5

Corners were  Liverpool 5 Newcastle 1

Referee: Craig Pawson

Newcastle United:

Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Merino (Hayden 74), Atsu (Diame 90+1), Perez, Joselu (Gayle 79)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Lejeune, Murphy, Gamez

Crowd: 52,303 (approx 3,000 Liverpool)

(Read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Newcastle 1 Liverpool 1 HERE)

(Garth Crooks says Liverpool should have ‘smashed’ Newcastle. Read it HERE)

(Read Rafa’s post-match reaction HERE)

(Read Jurgen Klopp’s post-match reaction HERE)

(Danny Murphy pushes Jonjo Shelvey for England HERE)

(Read the fans player ratings of all Newcastle players HERE)

(Read Alan Shearer’s reaction to the match HERE)

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  • StevieB

    Another case of average team set up by world class manager . Great performance by most players

  • steve

    Because we never came away with shock wins against the top teams under Pardew….

  • Steve Pearce

    Why oh why is Perez still with our club? He simply does not have the strength to deal with Premiership defenders and midfielders and lacks the moral fiber to assert himself against them. Surely there must be someone else who could play in his position as he is in my opinion a liability and is only fit for toilet cleaning duties!

    • Stevie

      Err, because he’s the best player we have in that position? Don’t take my word for it though, just accept that of the guy who picks the team. Along with Elliot, Clark and Ritchie, he’s been selected by Rafa for every game. You may not agree with Rafa, but describing him as ‘only fit for toilet cleaning duties’ is not very nice really is it?

      • glassjawsh-got-banned

        you’re 100% correct. Perez isn’t up to the task, but he still must start because every other option is either better suited in another position or markedly worse. So he’ll get the nod until (if) they bring in someone better.

      • Malcolm Fisher

        Probably not. He would fall over the bucket or slip on the floor. Never seen a guy go down so often and easily as he does.

      • Steve Pearce

        Well – he’s shyte at football….

      • Albert Stubbins

        i’d put the tea lady on instead of Perez- the tea she serves is stronger and definately leaves a better taste in the mouth!! he’s pony and has been for donkeys- sorry I mean he is a donkey!!

    • Stephen Paylor

      I lost a lot of faith in Perez. In 50/50s he hides, throws himself on the ground when Henderson brushed past him. It is amazing that we have nobody at the club that can play number 10 better than Perez. If we can get 10 million for him he should be sold. Tom Cairney in the winter window if Fulham are off the pace

      • Steve Pearce

        I’d go for Andros Townsend’s return as Palace are this season’s Sunderland and will still be pointless come January!

  • Sing in the Leazes

    Perez works hard and tries properly for Rafa.
    He gets knocked down all over the pitch and just gets on with it.
    He’s intelligent with good vision, and reads situations quicker than the average player.
    He’s got great technique and a deft touch.
    He’s skilful, got good balance and can be athletic and acrobatic in tight situations.
    This is why we saw the potential in him and it’s why Rafa believes in him.
    Rafa knows what he can do and asks him to defend from the front to earn his place.
    Unfortunately he’s weak, slow at moving (not at thinking) and has no power in his shots. He’s profligate too…misses a lot of sitters.
    This is why he’s not suited to the physical English game and why we are sick of him now.
    Get to the gym son and then swing by shooting practice on the way home.
    Or just put Merino at number 10?
    I decided last season that he’d never come good. Can’t remember what game but he missed an easy chance at the Leazes end and I realised there and then. He’s not going to get much better than he is now.

  • Albert Stubbins

    great performance by the lads and I saw some great team effort but lets not kid ourselves here, with a bit of luck Liverpool could have had three or four. We were brilliantly organised but we have some very average players amongst some really decent ones- it is credit to Rafa that he can get this type of performance out of average players through drilled practice and routines. Perez was a passenger again for me on Sunday- he needs to give his all and be at it all game to have any positive impact on the team- a number 10 and a striker are the positions where we look most vulnerable and that isnt good. The defense and midfield are working as a unit but up front we have problems imo- role on January.