By jpa90, 04-11-2012, 19:34:03
Liverpool earned a point in a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United at Anfield in a game that the Reds will have felt they should have won. Despite dominating possession for much of the game, Liverpool failed to exploit the chances that they created and Newcastle took the lead through Yohan Cabaye. Luis Suarez rescued a point for the home side but Liverpool could not find a winner in a game that celebrated Steven Gerrard’s 600th career appearance for the Reds.
A fast-paced start saw Liverpool dominate possession with a series of well-worked attacks. The visitors did well to defend several early corners, despite being unable to hold on to the ball. It was Luis Suarez who was the closest in the first 20 minutes; the Uruguayan narrowly missing the target with an in-swinging free-kick and seeing his close-range shot blocked by Tim Krul’s foot.
Brendan Rodgers will have been impressed by his team’s desire from the off and it was evident that the Magpies were aware of this. Papiss Cissé and Demba Ba provided good hold-up play and allowed Newcastle to test Liverpool’s back line. There were very few clear-cut chances for the visitors in the first half but Liverpool struggled to capitalise on the chances that they created.
As the first half drew to a close, Liverpool’s defence switched off and they paid the ultimate price. Both Jose Enriqué and Raheem Sterling were unable to stop a powerful run down the right channel from Hatem Ben Arfa and his delivery into the box found Cabaye unmarked at the back post. The Frenchman smashed his shot past a helpless Brad Jones, giving Newcastle the lead going into half time.
The Reds will have been frustrated at their failure to score despite being in control for the majority of the half. After withstanding several dangerous attacks, Newcastle had given themselves a significant boost of confidence that they hoped would see them through the second half.
No doubt feeling that the scoreline once again was unrepresentative of their performance, Liverpool started the second half unchanged. Despite a rogue sprinkler drenching a small portion of the Anfield crowd, the Liverpool fans ensured that the players stepped out to the same volume of encouragement as they had in the first half.
Shola Ameobi replaced Ba who limped off almost immediately after the restart and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was aggrieved that Sterling was not given a card for a dangerous challenge on Cissé. Liverpool were playing with determination to equalise and Krul once again denied Suarez with a good save ten minutes into the second half.
Nuri Şahin found an angle deep in the Newcastle half but saw his shot skip just wide. Much of the game was being played in the visitor’s half as Liverpool piled on the pressure. A long ball over the top from José Enrique found Suarez who took the ball down on his chest and shrugged off Fabricio Coloccini. He calmly knocked it around Krul and stroked it into the back of the net, making it 1-1.
Suarez’s goal injected some belief into the team and Liverpool stepped up the pressure. A golden opportunity was presented to Jonjo Shelvey shortly after when Suarez fed him the ball 12 yards out after working hard to get into the box. Shelvey did not get a good connection on the ball and Krul made an easy save.
Suarez was again the provider in another dangerous Liverpool attack when he found Sterling unmarked in front of goal. The midfielder’s shot was blocked however, but it was clear that Liverpool were hungry for a winner. In committing several men up front, Newcastle took advantage of a thin Liverpool defence and Jones got down well to save a low shot from Ben Arfa after the visitors worked a counter-attack.
The referee was yet to produce a card until he gave Coloccini a straight-red with less than ten minutes left for a late lunge on Suarez. With a man up, Liverpool were relentless in their attacking approach but Newcastle were working hard to thwart any attempts on goal. Krul’s concentration was key for the visitors as he twice prevented Shelvey from producing a late winner. The cross-bar saved the goalkeeper’s blushes however when a deflected free-kick bounced over him and off the frame of the goal.
In what seems to be a familiar story, Liverpool have taken a point away from a game which they largely controlled. The visitors’ concentration was admirable throughout the game and they will be pleased not to have conceded late on. Liverpool and Newcastle look ahead to their mid-week Europa League games against Anzhi Makhachkala and Club Brugge respectively.
Kopworld man of the match: Luis Suarez