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Opinion

People want to read lot more into Newcastle result against Liverpool than perspective tells us

4 months ago
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I actually enjoyed watching Newcastle 0 Liverpool 0 on Wednesday night.

A disturbing number of people I know are finding it easier not to watch these days, finding something better to do than the usual rubbish served up by the Ashley and Bruce partnership.

However, glad I persevered on this occasion, unlike most other matches this season and last.

Newcastle were a poor second best on pretty much every measurement, apart from the backs to the wall refusing to be beaten resolve that was very much apparent in this display.

There is always great satisfaction to be taken out of seeing your team dig in, give it everything, then come away undefeated at the end of it.

However, I have been surprised at some of the over the top reaction to it since the final whistle went.

Not just the usual Steve Bruce fan boys in the media and punditry latching on to this one result / performance and wanting to claim it ‘proves’ whatever, a fair number of Newcastle fans also wanting to read into this one game far more than I think is healthy.

It was an all out defensive action that we know our team are capable of surely?

A very good keeper (Darlow proving to be so, as well as Dubravka), the three centre-backs putting in an excellent shift, hard working defensive wing-backs completing a disciplined back five, then the likes of Hayden and others operating in front of them to further help diminish the Liverpool threat as much as possible.

It was the kind of disciplined defensive display that we used to often see under that Spanish bloke, against the better teams, then you need a certain amount of luck and maybe a little enterprise to earn something.

Nine of the eleven in the team last night were at the club when Rafa Benitez was here, the only exceptions Joelinton and Wilson in the two most forward positions.

With 27% possession and only two efforts on target, Newcastle United did little else but defend, though they did it well.

Rafa made great value for money purchases in buying Clark, Fernandez and Schar for a combined £14m, three international centre-backs, they were outstanding. Then when they were breached, future England keeper Karl Darlow continuing his incredible form.

Callum Wilson is a very good striker and created the first chance for NUFC for himself, his shot kept out from an acute angle, whilst predictably the second and only other real decent effort on goal was a Ritchie free-kick that Clark met and forced a good save from Alisson.

Liverpool missed / wasted chances as well but then you will pretty much always need that to get a result against one of the better sides.

However, heading into the match, should it really have been such a shock that Newcastle could get a result?

These were the six previous Liverpool PL matches:

Liverpool 1 West Brom 1

Crystal Palace 0 Liverpool 7

Liverpool 2 Tottenham 1

Fulham 1 Liverpool 1

Liverpool 4 Wolves 0

Brighton 1 Liverpool 1

In three of their last half dozen matches, Liverpool failing to beat a team that are below Newcastle in the league.

This isn’t the Liverpool team of last season (or the one before indeed) that rattled up a run of 26 wins and one draw in their first 27 PL matches of the 2019/20 season.

This is the current Premier League table as we end 2020…

…and this is how things looked after 16 games last (2019/20) season:

As you can see, by this point Liverpool were away and gone, well into that astonishing opening 27 game run where they won every single match apart from a draw at Old Trafford.

They were a class apart.

Now at this same stage, Liverpool have 13 points less, but are remarkably still top.

Leicester would be five points clear now if they could have repeated their 38 points after 16 games last season.

It doesn’t mean Wednesday night wasn’t a very decent result for Newcastle, it was, but it wasn’t a difficult to believe one.

Especially as the sides currently second, third and fourth bottom, also managed a draw against Liverpool in recent weeks.

For whatever reason(s), the Premier League has become more of a leveller in many ways.

If the other clubs towards the top end all win their games in hand you could have four clubs separated by only one point at the very top,

I will be far more heartened if I see Newcastle able to form more of an attacking threat in the games to come, with Sheffield United, Arsenal and Leeds to play in January, plus Everton and Leicester.

Can the team show in these and other matches that they can set up to attack more and not defend for 90 minutes?

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