Newcastle managed to secure a point at Anfield for the first time in seven attempts yesterday, but it was a point that came with quite a high cost attached to it.
Three players withdrew with with injury, namely Demba Ba, James Perch and Yohan Cabaye, whilst there is a very real possibility that we could be without our captain for three games after a moment of madness saw him see red for a challenge on Luis Suarez.
Liverpool had the better of the opening exchanges and managed to turn the screws on Newcastle without really threatening Tim Krul in the United goal. A succession of corners ultimately led to nothing for the home side, much like a penalty claim from Luis Suarez came to nothing, and eventually Newcastle managed to get a foothold in the game, finally using the fans favourite 4-3-3 formation to keep the ball for more than three passes.
However for all the dominance of the hosts it was Newcastle who nearly cared out the first guilt-edged opening of the game with Hatem Ben Arfa inches away from setting Demba Ba away one on one with Brad Jones. It was nearly a cracking opening but you have to give credit to the Liverpool defence for snuffing out the chance.
In truth there wasn’t a lot of goalmouth action at all in the first period although on balance of play it was probably Liverpool who felt they’d done enough to be ahead. However that wasn’t to be the case and two minutes from half-time Hatem Ben Arfa swung a ball over from the right which Yohan Cabaye trapped and half-volleyed at goal from a narrow angle giving the away side a surprising half-time lead. Cracking goal.
Half-time: Liverpool 0-1 Newcastle
The second-half started in much the same vain as the first with Liverpool on top yet ultimately not creating any real chances. A shot from Suarez was easily dealt with by Krul whilst another effort from young Spanish midfielder Suso was deflected over.
However with just over 20 minutes remaining Liverpool finally found the equaliser, and it was one that is far removed from the “passing philosophy” Rodgers believes in/inherited from Roberto Martinez and Paulo Sousa at Swansea.
A long hoof upfield from Jose Enrique was chested down by Luis Suarez who then took one touch to take the ball round Tim Krul and applied the finish by rolling into an empty net. Pundits and commentators fizzed over it, but I see Fabricio Coloccini being the wrong side of Suarez and a goalkeeper who went to ground far too quickly. Difference in perspectives I guess… 1-1.
Liverpool then pushed for the lead with Suarez creating a cracking chance for Jonjo Shelvey who shot straight at Tim Krul. Raheem Sterling was then denied by a superb sliding block from Steve Taylor.
As the home side pressed for a winner, and with time running out, Newcastle very nearly caught them on the break. First Papiss Cisse volleyed wide before Hatem Ben Arfa fire low and hard at Brad Jones in the Liverpool goal.
However a red card for Fabricio Coloccini in the 84th minute effectively put paid to any United attempts to win the game and instead we were left to hang on. To me it was a challenge that looked worse than what it was and if you look at the replays you’ll see minimal contact is made. In short it looked worse than what it was.
In the end though Liverpool were unable to break down the ten men of Newcastle and the points were shared at a ground where Newcastle find points notoriously hard to come by.
Full-time: Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle
Overall I’m happy with the point. I expected nothing before kick-off so this is most definitely a bonus point from my perspective. We now have back-to-back home game coming up against West Ham and Swansea after our European jolly on Thursday. Surely we need to be looking at six points from those?
And if we do manage to get six points from those we perhaps we might find ourselves IN fourth place rather than three points off it? There, is it really so bad?
Howay the lads!
Liverpool: Brad Jones, Andre Wisdom, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Jose Enrique, Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard, Nuri Sahin, Suso, Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez
Subs: Peter Gulacsi, Jamie Carragher, Sebastian Coates, Jonjo Shelvey, Jordan Henderson, Oussama Assaidi, Stewart Downing
Newcastle: Tim Krul, Vurnon Anita, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon, Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, James Perch, Jonas Gutierrez, Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba
Subs: Steve Harper, Mike Williamson, Shane Ferguson, Danny Simpson, Gabriel Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi