Saturday finished Liverpool 2 Newcastle 0.
Rafa’s team two down 10 minutes after half-time and then no way back into the match.
The Editor asked me beforehand to write about 3 positives and 3 negatives from the game.
We did ok!
I think that is the main thing to take out of the game. For this Newcastle team to get beat 2-0 at Anfield against this Liverpool team isn’t a bad result.
We didn’t get battered, and although we didn’t really offer much going forward, it was a respectable display I think. Certainly more positives to take from the performance than negatives.
These are not the games that are going to define the rest of our season. For any of us that have been doing our own online predictors, I would like to think that 99% of us had us down to get beat yesterday.
Importantly as well, the goal difference was kept down to -2, which as the season draws to a close, it looks like GD might just play a big role come the end. My dad always says, having a good goal difference (which we do relative to our rivals) is like having an extra point.
Card stays in pocket
Lascelles didn’t get a red card. You would have to have your black and white goggles on to say that he shouldn’t have been sent off at the end when he chopped down Salah outside the box. A straight red and a ban would have been a disaster for us, so that is by far the biggest positive to take away from the game.
Ability going forward
The lack of ability going forward in this side is frightening really. This is no disrespect to either Gayle or Joselu but how poor we are as an attacking threat, really is hard to watch sometimes. The two of them run their socks off but the quality is lacking.
This problem is further amplified by the lack of a decent no.10 in the side. Even against a top side like Liverpool, I still expected a little bit more from us going forward. Aside from the obvious (and only reason) Mike Ashley, if there is a ‘footballing’ reason why we still might go down this season, it will be because of how weak we are in front of goal.
We have yet to show that we can make the most out of the 5-3-2 formation. I was a little surprised, given our recent good form, that Rafa decided to tinker around with the structure of the starting line up against Liverpool.
I know we were away to a good team, and it is in Rafa’s nature to tinker, I just thought it was the wrong decision. Both Yedlin and Kenedy struggled to get forward at all, so instead of playing with wing-backs it felt like they were both solid full-backs. With nobody occupying the no.10 role, Dwight Gayle was even more isolated than he would have normally been.
The Referee costs us?
Mistake from the referee cost us our first goal. As a referee myself, I feel in an ok place to say that the standard in the PL is nothing short of a joke. For me, it was a clear foul on Merino in the build up to the goal. First of all, I don’t think there is a doubt that it was a foul, and I don’t doubt that had it been a player in a red shirt he would have given a free-kick.
Secondly, from the referee’s body language, it was almost as if he was suggesting that there should be an advantage played (without gesturing the advantage sign). This is what really annoys me in games, is when referees don’t ‘know’ the game that they are officiating. This is a situation in which Newcastle would want the free-kick, so letting them have the ball deep inside their own half away at Anfield is by no means an advantage. At the top level, I expect much better.
Oh and don’t expect BT or the ex-Liverpool commentator to pick up on the foul either… AND don’t expect the former NUFC man on the panel to pick it up either because he was too busy talking about how after joining Newcastle at the age of 19 from the lower leagues, playing in front of 52,000, battling for the Premier League and reaching the latter stages of the Champions League and UEFA Cup, after leaving Newcastle at the age of 22, we held him back in his career.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Liverpool 2 Newcastle 0
Liverpool: Salah 40, Sane 55
Possession was Liverpool 71% Newcastle 29%
Total shots were Liverpool 14 Newcastle 7
Shots on target were Liverpool 3 Newcastle 2
Corners were Liverpool 8 Newcastle 3
Referee: Graham Scott
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Murphy (Perez 84), Diame, Merino (Hayden 73), Kenedy, Atsu, Gayle (Joselu 66)
Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Ritchie
Crowd: 53,287 (Newcastle 3,000)
(To read the fan player ratings for Newcastle players at Anfield go HERE )
(To read Alan Shearer’s instant reaction to the game HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Liverpool 2 Newcastle 0 – Read it HERE)
(Read what Jurgen Klopp had to say about the match HERE)
You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn