Newcastle earned a resilient draw against a Liverpool side who dominated most of the game at St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon.
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez made a number of changes to the side that lost last Sunday to Brighton. Full-back Javier Manquillo replaced Chancel Mbemba, whilst Jonjo Shelvey made his return to the side following his suspension.
Liverpool also made a couple of changes following their win over Leicester. Both Emre Can and Roberto Firmino were dropped to the bench, with Daniel Sturridge and the returning Sadio Mane taking their place.
Going into the game Liverpool were in need of the points more than Newcastle. The Toons had shown enough throughout the first weeks of the season to suggest that this season will be one of relatively comfortable consolidation. Liverpool on the other hand went into the game eight points behind both Manchester clubs, and a draw would have done them little good.
Both sides started the game brightly, with Newcastle certainly not parking the bus. Matt Ritchie had the first real effort of the game, with his long range curler testing Mignolet. Luckily for Liverpool, it wasn’t right in the corner and Mignolet held on comfortably.
At the other end of the pitch, Liverpool had a huge penalty shout turned down by referee Craig Pawson. Coutinho made a brilliant first-time pass to find Sturridge, whose shot then hit the arm of the sliding Lascelles. In fairness to Lascelles there was little he could have done – the ball hit his leg and as he fell, rebounded onto his arm.
About halfway through the first half Liverpool started to really control the game, with Newcastle struggling to get out of their own half. A few chances fell the way of Wijnaldum and Lovren, with the latter’s shot being cleared off the line.
Liverpool did take the lead soon after, with Coutinho scoring with a storming shot from 25 yards. He moseyed infield from the left, and smashed a rising shot that curled away from Newcastle keeper Elliot into the net.
However, Liverpool’s defensive nightmares continued with Joselu grabbing an equaliser against the run of play. The striker found himself one on one with Mignolet where he dithered for ages allowing Matip to make a desperate slide tackle. However, in typical Liverpool fashion the Cameroon international actually only managed to kick the ball of Joselu and past Mignolet.
The second half started in a similar fashion, with Sturridge missing a golden opportunity to restore Liverpool’s lead. Clark sliced a clearance putting Sturridge clear on goal. His first-time shot however was blocked by Elliot, before Salah volleyed the rebound over the bar.
As the match progressed, Liverpool switched to a 4-2-3-1 with Salah playing as a No10. Newcastle struggled to get close to him, and there were a few occasions where it looked like Sturridge would get onto the end of one of his fine passes.
Despite attacking with urgency – which included bringing on the trio of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solankie, and Firmino – Liverpool were unable to break Newcastle’s resilient defending in the end. This was a fine result for the Toon’s who stay in ninth position, Liverpool drop below Burnley into seventh.