Newcastle 0 Liverpool 2 – Twelve minutes losing the plot but this was excellent from Newcastle United
No getting away from the fact that Newcastle 0 Liverpool 2 is a final scoreline that is a blow.
Nick Pope finding a bizarre way to get sent off and miss the Carabao Cup Final, will arguably be seen as an even bigger blow by many Newcastle fans.
However, one thing for sure.
Newcastle United were then excellent for the remaining 70+ minutes of the match, despite playing a man down.
Eddie Howe’s team started so well, dominated the midfield, far more energy than the visitors, Almiron on five minutes could / should have put Newcastle in front, Alisson managing to keep his effort out.
A case of what if? Though only one of many for NUFC on this Saturday night.
On 10 minutes a great Trent Alexander-Arnold ball found Nunez who got lucky when failing to control it properly but kicking the ball off his own chest it fell kindly and he blasted past Nick Pope.
Seven minutes later and another excellent assist, this time from Salah, Gazpo scoring.
I think this was the real killer goal.
Five minutes later Alisson catches a cross, launches the ball swiftly downfield and Nick Pope comes out to cover his defence as always but totally gets in a muddle. Goes to head it but the ball deceives him and dips, he still goes to head it and I think does just touch head to ball BUT then definitely does stop it with his hand / arm. A horror moment as Pope and the entire stadium realise he now misses the cup final.
That is where the negativity ends though.
These things can happen and indeed they have, 12 minutes of madness, but after that Newcastle United didn’t feel sorry for themselves. Instead dusted themselves down and were bizarrely much the better team for the rest of the match.
Liverpool had a few very late chances as Newcastle were knackered in the very final stages and two down. However, other than that it was Newcastle with the better play and players.
Newcastle United are now a proper team, they got their head right after that 12 minutes of pain and at least for me, gave me every hope for the rest of the season. Indeed, I think Jurgen Klopp should feel the most worried of the two managers by far after this game, the 10 men of Newcastle gave them all kinds of problems.
Some great chances as Burn headed against the bar, Wilson should have beaten Alisson late on with most of the goal to aim at one on one, numerous other good chances and situations.
Isak was superb despite outnumbered, ASM even more so, I think we saw him really bounce back today and remind everybody as to what a good player he can be for Newcastle United. No wonder he got man of the match.
There was so much other good stuff as well.
The fact that all the players had the mentality and confidence to not let this all fall apart, they kept doing the right things, kept playing the football, kept showing bravery in possession.
Longstaff and Joelinton were great in midfield and summing up the attitude overall, Joelinton had treatment and insisted on going back on, only for Eddie Howe to force him off and hopefully ensure the Brazilian warrior is ok to start at Wembley.
Based on what I saw today, Newcastle United are one of the four best teams this season in the Premier League and apart from that 12 minutes, if playing like this the rest of the season they will end up top four.
Apart from damaged pride and a dent in morale, hopefully only temporary. Newcastle United may be missing their first choice (and second choice…) keeper at Wembley but other than that , there is no other down side ahead of that Carabao Cup final in eight days time.
No injuries I could see and with Bruno to come back in, possibly Targett back in the squad as well, plus Wilson set to be available to start if selected, Newcastle United can go to Wembley and win this final.
Remember as well, whilst NUFC have this eight day period to prepare, Man U have Leicester tomorrow and Barcelona on Thursday, who knows what injuries, fatigue and potential red cards could impact on them.
I saw a lot of people saying how they would take defeat today if it meant winning at Wembley.
Well, if you made that deal with the devil, now is the time for Newcastle United to deliver on it.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 0 Liverpool 2 – Saturday 18 February 5.30pm
Pope 22 Red Card
Nunez 10, Gazpo 17
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Liverpool 37% (61%) Newcastle 63% (39%)
Total shots were Liverpool 13 (6) Newcastle 14 (9)
Shots on target were Liverpool 7 (4) Newcastle 4 (3)
Corners were Liverpool 7 (2) Newcastle 6 (5)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Pope, Trippier (Murphy 64), Schar, Botman, Burn, Longstaff, Anderson (Dubravka 24), Almiron (Gordon 64), Joelinton (Ritchie 71), Saint-Maximin, Isak (Wilson 64)
Dummett, Lascelles, Lewis, Manquillo
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