Newcastle 0 Liverpool 0 – What did we learn and where does it leave us?
Ok, most of you will have seen this Newcastle 0 Liverpool 0 game but here is my version of events.
Bear in mind I am of the opinion that Steve Bruce is walking a tightrope, I thought the line up was as good as it gets.
The match kicked off and we were surprisingly on the front foot (always makes me nervous as teams like Liverpool can break in an instant and punish you as Leeds did over and over), the ball was being sprayed out confidently by our lot, but as soon as Liverpool got the ball we attempted to crowd them out and it has to be said to good effect.
I like Jonjo Shelvey but he lacks pace, whereas with Matty Longstaff and Hayden through the middle we were able to close them down effectively. Meanwhile both Ritchie and Yedlin were getting up and down the flanks to good effect also.
Suddenly a decent ball from Longstaff releases Callum Wilson down the left, he shows immense skill and strength to go past the Liverpool defender and is suddenly bearing down on goal from a narrow angle, should he have squared it? Absolutely not, he is a goal getter and he was unlucky. It was probably our only chance of the first half despite a couple of corners.
As the half went on, Liverpool grew in confidence and suddenly the prolific Mo Salah is free in the box with only Karl Darlow to beat, of course there is only one winner and for once it’s not Salah, as our custodian makes a remarkably good save. Liverpool had another change just before the break but again Darlow is equal to it, great stuff by our reliable man at the back.
At this point I was pleased to go in to the interval at 0-0.
The second half started with Liverpool now quite dominant, as chances came quite regularly. Firstly Salah on another one on one with Darlow does everything right only to roll the ball wide, I credit Darlow for this as it must have been in the mind of the Egyptian diving champion as he tried to place the ball out of the reach of our keeper. Next a header from a corner flashed wide from Firmino and you get the feeling it’s only a matter of time.
I don’t blame Bruce for Newcastle weakening after the interval, quite simply COVID and the amount of passes Liverpool were playing were taking its toll.
Things quieten down and we get a free kick some 40 yards out near the touch line and Matt Richie curls a delightful ball into the box where Ciaran Clark is unlucky to see his well header saved by Allison, I thought at this point we could actually nick a win…
However, as expected back come Liverpool and a wicked ball into the box sees two Liverpool players converging for a tap in, step forward Karl Darlow again as he makes a reflex save, unfortunately the ball is still destined for the goal as Mane looks to have simplest of tasks to finish it off, when suddenly Fabian Schar appears from nowhere to brilliantly hook the ball to safety….surely now we have a point.
Another Liverpool corner and a goalbound header is powering its way into the net, only for Karl Darlow to produce another outstanding save and then have the reflex to get up and punch the ball to further safety……. And finally the full time whistle goes.
So what did we learn tonight?
Firstly, Karl Darlow is England class and deserves a chance at that level, I love Martin Dubravka and it’s great he is back but he will have to wait for his chance.
I also thought the three centre-backs were magnificent and we nearly had a Philippe Albert/Juninho moment as huffy Liverpool left back Andy Robertson confronts our towering, and has to be said, outstanding Argentine Federico Fernandez who gives him ‘that’ look.
I also thought Yedlin played quite well and on one occasion in the second half his pace nearly took him through on goal, in my mind he is a really good asset simply because of his pace.
Whilst up front Callum Wilson showed everyone what a great player he is even when not scoring, his work rate and ability to unsettle defenders is plain to see and he is the sort of player you want in the trenches next to you.
So where does that leave us?
Relatively safe but with the ambition to remain at just that, its not good enough and while we have Ashley that won’t change. Although now is not the time to open up a fresh war with him, he clearly wants out and we can only hope that there are things going on behind the scenes that he is assisting with, that just maybe leads us to a better place, here is hoping!
Do I think Steve Bruce is the right man for the job? No!
I think he was wrong to come out and say what he said after the Brentford defeat, what players with ambition would come to Newcastle if they read that?
Would Callum Wilson for example be interested had he read those words by Bruce? I seriously doubt it.
However, it is what it is and unless good things happen we are stuck with him and despite what people think, I actually believe he is a decent chap…just not a decent manager.
Can I wish all Mag readers and their families all the best for 2021, please stay safe until this thing is over, I can personally confirm that COVID is extremely unpleasant and we need it to go away as soon as possible.
Here is to better times for us all both on and off the pitch!
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 0 Liverpool 0 – Wednesday 30 December 8pm
Possession was Liverpool 73% Newcastle 27%
Total shots were Liverpool 11 Newcastle 8
Shots on target Liverpool 4 Newcastle 2
Corners were Liverpool 12 Newcastle 5
Referee: Paul Tierney
Darlow, Yedlin, Fernandez, Schar, Clark, Matty Longstaff, Hayden, Ritchie (Lewis 86), Murphy (Almiron 67), Joelinton, Wilson
Dubravka, Shelvey, Carroll, Krafth, Gayle, Hendrick, Sean Longstaff
(Karl Darlow, MOTM, England and Alan Shearer – Just a normal night for Newcastle’s number one… – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 0 Liverpool 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)
(Jurgen Klopp talks through what happened at Newcastle and says 2020 had only one highlight for him – Read HERE)
(Alan Shearer gives his verdict on Newcastle 0 Liverpool 0 – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 0 Liverpool 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Wednesday’s draw – Read HERE)
(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 0 Liverpool 0 – Read HERE)
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