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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 2 Liverpool 3

2 months ago
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Saturday finished Newcastle 2 Liverpool 3.

Rafa’s players were hoping to make it seven wins in their final eight home games of the season at St James Park.

A game that had so much going on, on and off the pitch.

The Editor asked me beforehand to write about 3 positives and 3 negatives from the game.Here goes…

POSITIVES

Competing with the big boys in the big games

There has been many a time under Benitez, on Sky, when the spotlight is on us against the big sides, that Newcastle would sit on the edge of their own 18 yard box for most of the game. I think back to that Manchester City game two seasons ago around Christmas time which was so hard to watch.

Saturday night was the opposite and was a pleasure to watch. After 20 minutes it looked like we may be treated to another Newcastle/Liverpool 4-3 classic. It was an end to end game that really was a pleasure to watch… even at 3am in Singapore!

Sign him up

It was another colossal display from Solomon Rondon as he gave the ‘best’ defender in the world a hard time. Another goal for Rondon, which he took well… something he has perhaps been criticised for is his finishing but he is far better than any other centre forward we have seen here since maybe Demba Ba.

Signing him up is an absolute no-brainer this summer. I think if we aren’t allowed to sign him, or at least if Rafa isn’t allowed to sign him, then that really is a sign that nothing is changing at Newcastle United. If we don’t sign him, that will leave us with only Joselu… and realistically needing two brand new centre forwards going into next season. Signing Rondon is imperative.

Good individual performances all over the pitch

All over the pitch I thought we did really well but there were a few players who put in performances that we have not usually come to expect from them in Newcastle shirts. Javi Manquillo was brilliant at right back, and if there is one major area of his game that lets him down it is his ability going forward, but he was a constant threat for Newcastle and could have had a goal.

Likewise, I thought Christian Atsu had a really good game, and I was pleased for him that he got his first goal in a very long time. I don’t mind Atsu as a player, of course he is hit and miss but more often than not, with his pace and trickery, he plays a big role in pushing the team 10 yards further up the pitch.

NEGATIVES

It is all getting a bit desperate

Rafa was somewhat serenaded before, during and after the game. It is all well and good for us showing our support but I can’t help but thinking it is all getting a bit desperate and we are all forgetting about the bigger picture here.

Why are we begging Rafa to stay?

What is he going to do if he does stay?

Most likely he will keep us between 9th and 15th and that will be that. It will play into Mike Ashley’s hands, it will continue to allow Newcastle to be used as the primary marketing vehicle for Sports Direct and it will only cement Mike Ashley’s position at the club further.

If we put as much effort into getting rid of Ashley, as we do loving Rafa, then we may start to get somewhere… who knows.

We sit 14th… another wasted year

What the result of this game confirmed is that Newcastle are going to finish another year doing absolutely nothing. Some may deem that a success. It probably is a success for Rafa given how tied his hands have been by Mike Ashley but is it a success for Newcastle United? Another lifeless, forgettable season slowly drifting into irrelevance.

Mid-table finishes may be the norm now for Newcastle United, and I wouldn’t mind it if I had any hope we were going somewhere (like maybe a West Ham, Palace, Watford), but we are not. Nothing will change.

Refereeing decisions

This is becoming an all too common feature now but at 2-2, with the clock ticking down and the game level, the linesman inexplicably gave a free kick to Liverpool. It was the most blatant dive you will ever see and it was right in front of him. No excuses. One of those instances in a game where you just wish you knew what the hell was going through the head of the official.

Liverpool fans should enjoy being at the top this season because once VAR is introduced they may be down in mid-table with us…

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Liverpool 3

Goals:

Newcastle:

Atsu 20, Rondon 54

Liverpool:

van Dijk 13, Salah 28, Origi 86

Possession was Liverpool 69% Newcastle 31%

Total shots were Liverpool 11 Newcastle 14

Shots on target were Liverpool 4 Newcastle 7

Corners were Liverpool 3 Newcastle 2

Referee: Andre Marriner

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar (Muto 90+1, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Ki, Atsu, Perez, Rondon

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Barreca, Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy, Fernandez

Crowd: 52,206 ,587  (3,200+ Liverpool)

(Read NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match HERE)

(My night started with a cowardly punch from a Liverpool fan…Read HERE)

(Rafa Benitez sends message to Mike Ashley after emotional night/game against Liverpool – Read HERE)

(Jurgen Klopp blown away by the game and atmosphere – Read it HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @_jonathandc

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