Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle: Improved NUFC let down by Mike Dean & more mistakes

A spirited performance and clear improvement on the 4-0 drubbing at Leicester, but it wasn’t enough in the end as decisions went against us and individual errors proved costly in a 3-1 win for Liverpool.

Coming into the match, Liverpool hadn’t lost in December for 33 games. The last man to beat Jurgen Klopp over the festive period? Eddie Howe back in 2016. Sadly, the new NUFC boss couldn’t repeat the feat here.

It looked like we might just pull off an upset when Jonjo Shelvey opened the scoring with a brilliant strike seven minutes in, but some moronic refereeing from Mike Dean – who refused to stop the game for a head injury – and an equally awful pass from Jonjo Shelvey meant Liverpool went into the break 2-1 up.

We defended better in the second half and had one big penalty call turned down before a late screamer from Trent Alexander-Arnold put the game to bed.

The positives are that we didn’t fold, worked our socks off, defended better (in parts) and showed intent to get forward the odd time we broke the Liverpool press, however it’s another defeat where the big moments went against us once again.

Howe made three changes from Sunday, seeing Isaac Hayden, Jacob Murphy and Ryan Fraser replace Joe Willock, Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson at Anfield.

STARTING 11: Dubravka – Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lewis – Shelvey, Hayden – Murphy, Joelinton, Fraser – Saint-Maximin

SUBS: Darlow, Clark, Wilson (79), Ritchie (15), Hendrick, Almiron, Willock (87), Gayle, Longstaff.

As expected, Liverpool dominated the ball in the early stages and it wasn’t long until Dubravka was tested, with Jota’s low shot being saved well by the Slovakian.

However, it wasn’t long until the 3,000 travelling Toon Army were celebrating a shock 1-0 lead!

Saint-Maximin pulled clear on the counter, found Fraser on the overlap and the Scotsman’s cross was cleared…but only as far as Jonjo Shelvey. The former Liverpool midfielder shifted the ball from under his feet and fired past Alisson from 25 yards, giving us a 1-0 lead just seven minutes in.

After defending well over the next five minutes, we were dealt an injury blow as Lewis pulled up with a hamstring injury and limped off. A real shame for him after only just returning to the side, and also a real concern that Matt Rtichie would now come on to face Mo Salah…

We just about survived the next 15 minutes, until Mike Dean happened. Fabian Schar and Isaac Hayden collided in the box, the latter stayed down with a head injury, the game wasn’t stopped and Jota scored (after having his first effort superbly saved). Abysmal refereeing, especially when the player down was keeping Jota onside, but it was 1-1.

What I will say is this, though. There’s no chance the game isn’t stopped if that happens at the other end.

Moving on, Saint-Maximin very nearly made it 1-1 just moments after the restart. He burst through, skipped past two in red and had a low shot saved well by Alisson.

Liverpool then went straight down the other end and made it 2-1. A blind pass by Shelvey put Mane through on goal, his shot was well blocked by Dubravka, but Salah arrived on the scene and tapped in, rounding off what had been an utterly brutal five minutes of unfortunate events for NUFC.

They were lucky with the equaliser, however the second was us hitting the self destruct button yet AGAIN this season, with Shelvey’s horror pass gifting them a goal.

Shortly after the half hour mark it could and should have been 3-1. Oxlaide-Chamberlain pinged a brilliant ball in behind for Mo Salah and the Egyptian looked all set to double his tally, only to drag his shot wide.

Liverpool were beginning to move through the gears now and it felt like a third was coming if we didn’t weather the storm in the final five minutes of the first half.

We actually had a chance of our own just before the break, but it was wasted by Saint-Maximin. First he had Fraser to slip in down the left as he ran at Liverpool’s scrambling back line, then it opened up for a through ball down the right, but he ignored both, ran down a blind ally and fired an aimless cross straight to a Liverpool shirt. His teammates were visibly frustrated and I don’t blame them.

I was seething at the break, still wondering how Mike Dean made that call, however we had to keep going. We’d been dealt a hammer blow and shot ourselves in the foot, but we weren’t out of this yet, showing we had the pace to hurt them and willingness to get bodies in the box on the rare occasion we broke the Liverpool press.

The second half kicked off and the hosts didn’t come out with the sort of intensity they ended the half with, giving us a few moments of possession before Dubravka did brilliantly to stop a Mane header that was destined to be tapped in by Jota.

Minutes later, Murphy combined well with Saint-Maximin and curled a left-footed shot just wide of Alisson’s far post, reminding the travelling Toon Army that we weren’t out of this just yet.

Another moment arrived just after the hour mark as Saint-Maximin came deep and released Murphy down the right. He picked his head up and put a great ball across the box to Fraser, who went down from a lunging challenge from behind from Alexander-Arnold.

The full-back may have got the ball, but replays suggested he went through the back of Fraser to do so. VAR had a look, but nothing was given…unsurprisingly.

Saint-Maximin was struggling with a knock picked up in the build up to the above chance and Wilson was warming up to replace him, however we had a chance to make it 2-2 before that after a positive burst from Fraser resulted in a free kick in a dangerous position. Shelvey stepped up and curled his effort just wide, leaving us still searching for that equaliser with 20 minutes remaining.

The change was finally made and Wilson replaced Saint-Maximin, who was indicating to the bench that he needed to come off after giving it five minutes.

10 minutes left and a chance for one last push, although we very nearly lost all hope of an unlikely point after another sloppy moment from Fabian Schar resulted in Dubravka getting down well to deny Mane at the back post.

Jota almost made it three seconds later, but his lot show was blocked well by Hayden, who, for all his limitations on the ball, had added some steel to our midfield and protection in front of our defence in this one.

After a few warning signs, Liverpool made it three five minutes from time to put the game to bed. A stunning strike from Alexander-Arnold and one that left Dubravka with no chance. The Slovakian had made several key saves today, but there was no stopping this.

Game over and the end of a frustrating night for Newcastle United. Our effort levels couldn’t be questioned and, in parts, we played well. We were better defensively in the second half, but awful officiating, some more individual errors and a few bits of poor decision making at the other end cost us in this one.

Let’s hope we can take that level of effort into every game between now and the end of the season, with us also keeping our fingers crossed over injuries picked up by Lewis and Saint-Maximin.

Next up, table toppers Man City at St James’ Park on Sunday…

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

32 thoughts on “Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle: Improved NUFC let down by Mike Dean & more mistakes

  1. I don’t think you were let down by Mike Dean, you were let down by Isaac Hayden. Having seen replays from 18 different angles, there was no clash of heads, what we actually saw was Hayden play acting. If instead he’d got to his feet Mane would not have succeeded with the cross that reached Jota. Quite impressively, Mike Dean also got TTA’s tackle call correct. VAR is available, but wasn’t required as no error was made. Stop looking for excuses and try to play the right way others you deserve relegation.

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  2. sorry folks – the old “fake head injury to get the game stopped” didn’t work for once – and if anyone is really saying result would have been different in long run even if goal disallowed then they are delusional – I don’t like Liverpool but Toon fans need to start being honest about teams current shortcomings and not blaming anything and everything for current plight. PS I actually wouldn’t mind Toon escaping the drop and with Wilson and Saint-Maximin in team they still have a chance!

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  3. I said last week that I thought there would be a forced winter break because of Covid. I thought the Govt would step in but now it is on a game by game basis with the PL fighting to play whatever teams can put out a side. I am not sure they will bow to pressure from their own team Managers because if you can play 5 games that gives them a product to show on TV this weekend.

    I think there are 4 games off so far. Another 1 and that might just tip the balance to calling a halt until boxing day at the earliest.

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  4. If we Manage to play City I think the team is close to picking itself now because of injuries. I am certain Howe would rest ASM and Lewis and Fernandez are out. I reckon it is:

    Dubs

    Manq Lascelles Schar Ritchie

    Hayden Shelvey Willock

    Fraser Wilson Joelinton

    The only question really is Miggy or Fraser.

    I know it looks like a 4-3-3 but it isnt reall as Joelinton and Fraser would drop back to defend like they did against Liverpool.

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  5. 5 games off now this weekend and the PL clubs are set to meet on Monday. I think the real issue is how many of the players have symptoms and how many only have to isolate with no symptoms. If you go by what has happened in the past there are many more positive tests than there are players with symptoms. By Boxing Day, the isolation period for most teams would be over so I am not sure that the games should be called off.

    Looks like there is a full blown panic in Football team Management and within the Govt so there is likely to be a break. The general population seem the most calm about it all but it is looking increasingly likely that there will be a lockdown in all but name.

    If you hit the pause button then they could get their act together. My fear is it will go back to behind closed doors if it carries on as it is.

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  6. I actually agree that play shouldn’t have been stopped for Hayden – BUT, if that were Matip or Henderson lay holding their heads I certain it would have been.

    Equally with Frasers possible penalty – if that had been Manquillo on Salah or Mane – firstly they would have rolled round as if they had been shot, and a penalty would certainly have been given imo.

    But ultimately Liverpool were their usual dominant selves and our players struggled to string 3 passes together in the first half.

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  7. The situation in football contradicts everything else that is going on. Lots of parties and events have been cancelled with many in the hospitality industry saying this is a disaster. Beginning tomorrow France are not even letting UK travellers into the country. Germany is voting this afternoon on whether to impose a 2 week quarantine on incomings from the UK.

    The pressure is building and I just cannot see how the Govt will not be calling on the PL for a temporary shutdown, especially since some PL Managers are saying it should be done.

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  8. The conversation I was having last night was – we need to strengthen in 6 or 7 positions in the first team alone – let alone strengthening the overall squad.

    Do we throw everything at it in January and try and get at least 4 or 5 in – which won’t be easy as clubs won’t want to sell in January, especially to us.
    Alternatively, do we get 1 or 2 in and hope Howe can pull off a miracle.

    We don’t have a DoF in place even yet, so I’m not sure if it’s the right thing to do going after so many new players.

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  9. Sharpy, mate, I think it will be 3 or 4 in Jan. Trippier is essential if we can get him. He is not just a fullback upgrade but we need him on set plays. I think you know my opinion on Shelvey. He seemed to have changed a little bit and whipped in a few corners but has also mixed in some of his “floaters” which never work.

    Then we need a centre half. If the English clubs wont sell then there are plenty abroad. If you look at what we have I think none cost more than 5 mil. We need to splash 20 mil here unless we can get someone who is out of contract.

    We have actually spent in central midfield if you now count Joelinton 🙂 We need a Kante type to take the pressure off Willock or a box to box to give Willock 6 months to settle. He seems pretty good as a Sub so maybe going back to that role for 6 months would be a good idea.

    And of course we need another goal scorer. That could be Lingard as he scores more often than our backups to Wilson. But there must be somebody at teams like Atalanta or Seville we could get? Teams that have been knocked out of the CL would be where I would look, or teams currently in the Europa League which is nowhere near as lucrative and they may be willing to sell.

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  10. Latest: 17 matches in EFL called off in addition to the 5 in the PL.

    Pep returns inconclusive Covid test and is set to be retested.

    Eddie Howe latest to pretty much call for pause. Potter and Frank have been most vocal.

    Gomez and Van Dijk were out of our game due to positive Covid tests.

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  11. We need Klopp or Pep to say something and then I think matches would be off until New Years Day. That might help us, although I am not too bothered if City goes ahead as I think we will lose that whenever we play and regardless of who we get in.

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  12. I know we have as good as signed Trippier, but I don’t think RB is such an urgent position to strengthen.

    Imo we need 2 CBs, 2 CMs a midfielder that can score and create goals and CF to help Wilson out.

    If we only bring 3 or 4 in through January and one is Trippier, then I think we still leave ourselves well short – Trippier doesn’t help us stay up in the way a CB or CF could.

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  13. Sharpy17:
    I know we have as good as signed Trippier, but I don’t think RB is such an urgent position to strengthen.

    Imo we need 2 CBs, 2 CMs a midfielder that can score and create goals and CF to help Wilson out.

    If we only bring 3 or 4 in through January and one is Trippier, then I think we still leave ourselves well short – Trippier doesn’t help us stay up in the way a CB or CF could.

    Not so much right back as free kicks and corners. Shelvey never hits a good free kick and we are so inconsistent from corners, whoever takes them. Longstaff always hits the 1st man and there are the Shelvey floaters which I have mentioned many times. Ritchie is OK one game and then totally useless the next.

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  14. I think the Covid numbers have reached a tipping point and we will see a pause. If not this weekend then after the PL teams’ meeting on Monday. They will try to set a schedule to start back up again soon but that will fail. Once they shut down, it will be much harder to start up again until the general pop numbers peak. I have thought about it and that probably means a month and sorry to say it empty grounds again for a couple of months.

    That is just my gut feeling, but I have been right on this so far.

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  15. Of course Simon Jordan is saying Mike Dean’s decision on the Hayden possible head injury was the right call. No it fcn well wasnt. If that had been a Liverpool player he would have stopped the game. It is only with hindsight and multiple replays that you see that Hayden was probably not hurt badly. The protocol is that if you suspect a head injury, you stop the game.

    These pundits love to twist their logic. I expect that Jordan also thought the Maddison swan dive was a penalty as well. At the very least that should have been an on-field review.

    The Refs automatically rule in favour of the big teams, which when you look at the way the rules are set up means that most of those rulings stand.

    Nobody really mentions Dean’s basketball-type screen for TAAs goal either. Dean gets in the way a lot which isnt mentioned that much.

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  16. Even an ex Sunderland player said we were denied a clear penalty (more of a penalty then th3 one given to Arsenal against West Ham), and that first goal of theirs shouldn’t have stood. We can bring in all the best players in the world, but it will not stop refereeing and FA corruption and inconsistency. How can a referee from Liverpool referee that game? We played ok and even very well at times. We attacked when we could and Shelvey scored a fantastic goal. We cannot win when a referee is determined we won’t. Look at other decisions for West Ham (Coufal) who got sent off for a lesser foul and other team awarded a pen for similar to what TAA did to Fraser. I can take it when we lose fair and square but disgusted when it’s clear there is an agenda to stop us. Ultimately we didn’t deserve to win, but I feel we could have taken a point.

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  17. Eric+Sykes: Not so much right back as free kicks and corners. Shelvey never hits a good free kick and we are so inconsistent from corners, whoever takes them. Longstaff always hits the 1st man and there are the Shelvey floaters which I have mentioned many times. Ritchie is OK one game and then totally useless the next.

    Eric – doesn’t that speak volumes that we don’t even have someone technically gifted enough to deliver from a dead ball more often than not.

    I like Trippier mate and would defo want him, just don’t think he’s a priority really. I’d rather go all out for Ward Prowse who would strengthen our midfield that desperately needs strengthening – who also offers those qualities you highlight.
    It doesn’t have to be Ward Prowse but you get where I’m coming from.

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  18. It’s completely apparent that our squad have been coached back to the wall football for years now you see what Howe is trying to do with them. It is going to take time, but very few look very good with possession football and the ability to string 5 or 6 passes together seems alien to our players – certainly in the first half it did.

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  19. A rule was brought in that a tackle from behind was a foul. Has that rule been abandoned? Klopp himself said that TAA was lucky coming from the wrong side. The pundits who say it was an excellent tackle are wrong if a tackle from behind is a foul. Of course I’m not expecting Dean to know the rules.

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  20. Groucho:
    A rule was brought in that a tackle from behind was a foul. Has that rule been abandoned?Klopp himself said that TAA was lucky coming from the wrong side. The pundits who say it was an excellent tackle are wrong if a tackle from behind is a foul.Of course I’m not expecting Dean to know the rules.

    My rule for this game would be – what if it was Liverpool? That would have been a penalty and Dean would have stopped the game for a suspected head injury. I dont care what the replays showed afterwards, that’s not the rule! Even if Hayden was faking it you still stop the game.

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  21. Watching Wraith and Mitchell said the Mike Dean’s 2 sons have Liverpool season tickets. Puts his decisions into even clearer perpective. We all said it before the game so it wasnt “after the fact”. Tranmere fan my @rse!

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  22. Some comment on Chronic stories:

    Manchester Evening News is saying the Clubs may want a shut down until Jan 17th. That would help us I think. There is also no summer tournament so they could easily extend the season. The only problem is that it will probably be just as bad on Jan 17 so will be hard to start up again. I dont care about City as I have already written that off.

    Some Pundit says we should sign Aaron Ramsey. I didnt even look at who said it. Noooo he is injury prone. Why would we waste money for someone to sit on the bench!!!

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  23. Just to add, a shut down until Jan 17th would really help us. We will still be in the bottom 3 but it gives us more than half a season to get out of this mess. There are 20 games to play after City. This should also make up the minds of the owners to go all out in Jan and give players more hope that if they sign for us they wont go down. The worst thing for the country could be the best thing for NUFC.

    We really dont have many restrictions on what we can spend. The owners can put in as much as they want, it is the sponsorship stuff that the other PL teams are trying to stop. FFP is averaged over 3 or 4 years I think so that doesnt matter either. We could spend 100 million and prop up this disjointed squad.

    I also think the other teams will now be more willing to take our money. They know there is more austerity coming down the pipe. The French sides are skint anyway so I think we could get a decent player from there.

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  24. Me and Sharpy have discussed this before but how do we make room in the squad? It is pretty easy actually. Loan or sell a goalie and sell Clark. Then, there looks like there is no room for Gayle so you could loan him to a Championship club and pay half his wages. Isnt Longstaff out of contract in the summer? His wages are not that high so take what you can get for him.

    Huzzah, 4 squad places created and nobody would miss any of them (although I feel Gayle has been hard done by).

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  25. Eric+Sykes:
    Me and Sharpy have discussed this before but how do we make room in the squad? It is pretty easy actually. Loan or sell a goalie and sell Clark. Then, there looks like there is no room for Gayle so you could loan him to a Championship club and pay half his wages. Isnt Longstaff out of contract in the summer? His wages are not that high so take what you can get for him.

    Huzzah, 4 squad places created and nobody would miss any of them (although I feel Gayle has been hard done by).

    Eric – it’s a far easier discussion with the new owners – in fact it’s quicker to say who you wouldn’t get rid of … and if you make it passed 5 then you’re being too generous!!.

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  26. If we go a couple of goals down I am not sure if I will be able to continue to watch the Man City game. Their skill levels are amazing but sometimes they are so dominant that it is like watching a training video. I did watch the Norwich game all the way through and there were some great goals and fantastic skills. This is always my problem with City and the lesser teams (like us, unfortunately) that it seems like they are just putting on a skills session.

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  27. georgio:
    my xmas wish list has season abandonned on it

    Nah, mate. If they suspend the PL to Jan 17 it should get interesting for us. However, as I have already said, if they suspend it then how do they start up again, especially since the Covid numbers will likely be a lot worse.

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  28. Lets just assume we get a PL suspension at 18 games. That gives us at least part of the window to get players in. We have 10 points. If we got 1.5 points per game that is 30 points. That is upper midtable form and would get us to 40 points.

    I think that is doable depending on who we sign.

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