Reds Fail To Overcome 10 Man Magpies
Liverpool were forced to settle for a draw at St James' Park on Saturday as the Reds came from behind twice but failed to make the most of their one man advantage. Goals from Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge kept Liverpool's hopes alive but Newcastle played well and retained their point by the final whistle.
Brendan Rodgers reintroduced Glen Johnson and Aly Cissokho who were both back from injury. Joe Allen however had to settle for a place on the bench. There was also no Agger and no Enrique for this match, the latter of whom wasn't even on the bench.
The first portion of the game was relatively level pegging at St James' Park, both sides were creating chances and both sides saw efforts go wide or saved. Most fixtures between these two sides tend to have an exciting element and judging by the way this one began it was clear there was going to be goals and talking points.
The majority of pre match chat consisted of fans assuming Newcastle would find the back of the net in this game but I think I'm right in saying that most Liverpool fans didn't expect to see Newcastle to get off the mark first.
The Magpies goal in fairness was a great one and I don't feel we can complain too much about conceding in that manner. Yohan Cabaye took a chance with a right footed shot from outside the area and the ball flew all the way into the back of the net past Simon Mignolet.
With the Reds now on the back foot it was important that Liverpool worked to find a goal before half time, they couldn't afford to allow Newcastle to settle in here and thankfully they didn't. It was clear the international break had a detrimental effect on Brendan Rodgers' side, the link up play between Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez was definitely there but the extra games appeared to have taken their toll slightly.
At just before the 40 minute mark Steven Gerrard who did so well for his country in the week had his chance to step up for a penalty and mark 100 goals in the league. The penalty was awarded to Liverpool after Luis Suarez was clearly taken down in the box, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was shown the red card after being the last man and I really don't think Newcastle fans have too much to complain about there.
Steven Gerrard very rarely misses from the spot and with a powerful strike he sent his penalty to Krul's right and secured the Reds an equaliser.
Liverpool had scored at just the right moment and with 10 men on the pitch now for Newcaslte, the second half for the visitors should have technically been easier, however it wasn't as simple as that.
Just 10 minutes into the second half and Liverpool had conceded again. Unlike the first goal that was a flash of brilliance, this time Liverpool were very much to blame. It appears that no matter how hard we try at the moment we just can't deal with set pieces effectively. Paul Dummet eventually found the back of the net for his side but Liverpool's defensive layout was a bit of a shambles to say the least and Brendan Rodger's side should have done a lot better.
Now 2-1 down and finding themselves with a mountain to climb once again Liverpool could at least cling on to the fact that Newcastle still only had 10 men. Just after the hour mark Liverpool made a substitution bringing on Luis Alberto in place of Sakho. The passing from Alberto definitely aided Liverpool and the Reds did look as though they were going to find an equaliser with this slight tactical change.
At 70 minutes Liverpool found their chance, some lovely link up play between Suarez and Sturridge saw the Uruguayan play a perfect ball across goal that was met by the head of Daniel. Sturridge is now on 9 goals and in immense form, there was no dancing celebration yesterday though as he picked up the ball and encouraged his side to quickly restart play.
Liverpool of course knew they would be missing a real chance here if they were to only take away a point instead of three. The thing was though you found yourself being unable to complain too much because the Reds had come from behind twice but again, you found yourself then thinking "but they've only got 10 men..."
It was a strange situation because Liverpool didn't actually play that bad. A late chance from Luis Suarez that crashed off the bar and a final free kick that wasn't quite good enough meant Liverpool were left to accept the sole point. One thing I also had to note was that the Reds showed great fight to come back into that game twice and I know hindsight is a wonderful thing but I really don't think we'd have seen that kind of response in a game like that last season.
The Reds were momentarily top of the league on Saturday but quickly found themselves down in 3rd after Chelsea and Arsenal both won. It's certainly not the end of the world for Liverpool but we really need to capitalise fully on games like yesterday's because there will come a point where we've lost contact and if we're really serious about getting this top four place then we need to focus and grind out those three points.
However on the whole I don't feel too disappointed, yesterday wasn't good enough, we know this but thankfully we've done well enough so far this season to allow for a few mistakes at this early stage. With West Brom at home next Liverpool seriously need the three points there because a very tasty and perhaps very meaningful tie against Arsenal is the next game after that.
I asked you for your thoughts on the game and here are just a few of the ones I received, once again thanks for getting in touch and stay tuned on @_TheLiverBird timeline so you can send in your score predictions next week!
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