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Little did I know it would be 3 years before I could go and watch my team again…

1 month ago
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My last NUFC game in the flesh, was way back in April 2019, away at Leicester. A 1-0 win under Rafa.

Little did I know then that I would have to wait almost another three years to see my team again.

If you had told me at the time that I would have to wait three years, but at the end of it Mike Ashley would be gone, then I’d have snapped your hands off.

I want to focus on the game writing this little report but for those of you who are yet to step back into SJP after Ashley has left, best of luck and enjoy your day. Especially those of you who attempted to do something about Ashley’s tenure, big or small, it’s done. He’s gone forever.

Having been in London for the week, we took the decent drive up to Liverpool by car after previous plans were thrown a spanner by fixture / TV changes. It’s funny that this fixture is always seen as a big / TV game… simply because there was a decent game on the tele 25 years ago.

I think Eddie Howe has game by game picked out the mistakes in his previous squad selections so far. With Wilson given a deserved rest, it was a line up I looked at positively (or as positive as you can, given the glaring lack of quality in our squad right now). A shame that Fernandez is injured, as I think he is a far better defender than Lascelles, nor do I think that Lascelles’ leadership outweighs his lack of quality on the pitch.

Anyway, it’s not about me, but I had a tear in my eyes standing in the away end and hearing familiar voices and songs for the first time in a long time. A very emotional moment and much needed.

I said before the game that if we scored a goal I’d be happy! Just let us go 1-0 up and have a proper celebration… there is nothing worse than standing in the freezing cold watching us get beat 2 or 3 nothing and the game having no meaning for large parts.

That goal came early on with a great move from ASM and a quality strike from Shelvey. A shame it was Jonjo’s only positive contribution to the game.

Anfield was silenced but what is new? I have been to Anfield 7 or 8 times now and it is always flat and dead. I never understand the decent atmosphere thing. No doubt it is bouncing for European nights or Man Utd games but how is that different from any other team?

Unlike at Old Trafford, which having been a similar amount of times to Anfield, can actually make a decent atmosphere and there has been many a game at OT down the years in which I have felt like the fans / Stretford end have literally sucked the ball into the goal.

Could we hold on? Liverpool stepped it up a gear after the goal and things looked ominous when Lewis went off which meant Ritchie, who is already out of his depth, had to deal with arguably the best footballer in the world right now.

We all know what happened with the immediate Liverpool equaliser. Two players down in the box holding their heads and the referee did nothing.

I could just about get away with it if the ball came out of the box and someone smashed it in the top corner. However, the referee took two or three looks at the player down in the box holding his head, he then watched Liverpool pass pass pass, play the ball out wide, put a cross in and have a shot saved before scoring.

I can’t think there is any excuse? What justification other than an inherent bias to deliberately let Liverpool continue their attack and given an awful advantage when trying to score a goal. Match fixing and things like that are often silly conspiracies but what conclusion is one to come to? Even worse, you can bet that Mike Dean will be busy refereeing again over the Christmas period.

Anyway, that was that, and before you had a chance to sulk, we were 2-1 down thanks to another astonishing mistake from Jonjo Shelvey.

Howe would clearly like to get the best out of him (like McClaren, Benitez, Bruce) but none have so far and I don’t think Howe will either.

A waste of space and the sooner we get a bigger better version of Jonjo Shelvey who isn’t a mindless idiot then the better.

ASM tried to get us back into the game but to no avail. The guy runs his socks off going forward, has carried this side under Bruce and the stick he gets from people is surprising for me. Frustrating at times, of course, but I think we should be a bit more grateful… god knows what some fans are going to be like when we spend a bit of money.

The second half was somewhat of a formality. I think we should have had a penalty having watched the replay again. It is one of those you never get at Anfield but guarantee if that was at the other end then the referee would be pointing to the spot and VAR would do f.ck all about it.

TAA made it 3-1 at the end with half an assist from Mike Dean… although it was a quality strike and Dean’s obstruction probably made no difference to the ball ending up in the back of the net.

I was actually quite disappointed with our fans on the whole. It goes without saying that selling out the away end time and time again, getting behind the lads is admirable, and we probably take our own fantastic support for granted. Perhaps it was just the few idiots sat around me but the constant abuse directed at our own players, fans filming the game on their phone rather than watching, some fans not even watching (spending more time giving hand gestures to old women in the home end), it did put a slight downer on things.

I’m also not one for excessive Covid-19 restrictions and believe people should largely be able to do as they please (providing they use common sense) but in the middle of a pandemic, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to wash my hands after going to the toilet. Instead, row after row of grown men p.ssing in sinks… some with their own kids standing next to them as they did.

We don’t want people to treat us differently because we are football fans but we have to help ourselves at times… people don’t p.ss in the sink at the Opera.

As for the referee, can the Premier League really justify a referee who lives 20 odd minutes from Anfield? Can they honestly argue that there is no conflict of interest?

Would the Premier League ever let a Gateshead or Blyth fan who lives in Hexham referee a Newcastle game? I think we all know the answer to that. It’s also came out that both of his sons are Liverpool season ticket holders.

He should have never been near that fixture in the first place.

I can’t remember the last time we had a decent performance at Anfield. That was probably the best one in a decade. With every game under Eddie Howe so far, there are positives to take. Once again though, it comes back down to refereeing decisions or terrible individual errors. That is easier to accept compared to the utter dross we had under Bruce but it must stop quick.

It is another game with 0 points and we’ve still only won one game this season. Come January, I think that will be the same.

Over to you Amanda…

Stats from BBC Sport:

Liverpool 3 Newcastle 1 – Thursday 16 December 8pm

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Goals:

Liverpool:

Jota 21, Salah 25, Alexander-Arnold 87

Newcastle:

Shelvey 7

Possession was Liverpool 74% (77%) Newcastle 26% (23%)

Total shots were Liverpool 23 (12) Newcastle 4 (2)

Shots on target were Liverpool 8 (6) Newcastle 2 (2)

Corners were Liverpool 11 (6) Newcastle 0 (0)

Referee: Mike Dean

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lewis (Ritchie 15), Hayden, Murphy, Shelvey, Fraser (Willock 87), Saint-Maximin (Wilson 79), Joelinton

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Hendrick, Gayle, Longstaff, Almiron, Clark

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Liverpool 3 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)

(Former top referee rules on this controversial Liverpool v Newcastle incident – Read HERE)

(Jurgen Klopp says he can understand why Eddie Howe might ‘not be happy about that’ – Read HERE)

(Liverpool 3 Newcastle 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(3 questions to ask on controversial incident that won game for Liverpool against Newcastle United – Read HERE)

(Eddie Howe points finger of blame at Mike Dean after Newcastle United defeat at Anfield – Read HERE)

(Liverpool 3 Newcastle 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Thursday’s defeat – Read HERE)

You can follow Jonathan on Twitter @jonnyinsg

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