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    Newcastle United 1-1 Liverpool Match Report

     
    Liverpool failed once again to convert a dominant performance into three points as hosts Newcastle United came from a goal down to earn a hard-fought draw on Sunday.

    As well as controlling possession throughout the match, Jurgen Klopp's side missed several clear-cut chances and were unable to add to the superlative effort that Philippe Coutinho converted just before the half-hour mark.

    The performance was a carbon-copy of what the club produced five days earlier in the Champions League, when Spartak Moscow showed similar resilience to contain a misfiring Liverpool despite the brilliance of Coutinho.

    Although the Newcastle defence would have be aware of the Brazilian's intentions in the lead-up to the goal, they were powerless to stop him from coming inside on his right-foot before unleashing an exquisite effort from 25 yards which sailed into the top-corner.

    The Magpies also had their moments in the game despite soaking-up large spells of pressure, with Joselu's fortunate equalizer 10 minutes prior to half time offering Rafa Benitez's team their reward for a disciplined and organised defensive performance.

    The goal also highlighted weaknesses in the Liverpool defence as Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip failed to react to a long-ball through the middle by Jonjo Shelvey, which allowed Joselu a free-run on goal to score his second of the campaign.

    There was an element of fortune about the strike, however, with Matip's attempt at a last-ditch tackle ricocheting against the Newcastle forward's left shin from 15 yards out as the ball trickled over the goal-line.

    The pattern of the match had already been set in the opening exchanges as Liverpool tried to stretch the home side's defence through the pace of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and the recalled Daniel Sturridge, who was making a rare start in-place of Robert Firmino.

    Salah's pinpoint pass found Mane in acres of space on the left-hand flank but the winger's return-ball lacked the same precision, with Sturridge subsequently crowded-out when attempting to create room to unleash a close-range strike.

    In a cauldron-like St James' Park, Newcastle reminded their opponents that they also posed an attacking threat as Matt Ritchie tested the recalled Simon Mignolet with a left-footed strike from the edge of the penalty area which was comfortably saved.

    The Magpies duly withstood a Liverpool onslaught which ensued midway through the half, with Wijnaldum hooking the ball against the crossbar from a tight angle before neither Lovren or Mane were able to score from the rebound.

    Philippe Coutinho finally gave Liverpool the lead that their positive start had deserved from his trademark long-range strike, although their advantage lasted only seven minutes as Joselu's moment of fortune once again left the visitors cursing their defensive frailties.

    Newcastle survived another close shave in the latter stages of the first-half in order to stay level, however, when Matip was grappled by Ciaran Clark inside the area although an unperturbed Craig Pawson deemed the contact to be insufficient to award a penalty.

    Liverpool duly began the second-half with the same fluency and precision in their attacking play as they demonstrated prior to the break, although it was a defensive error from Ciaran Clark which presented The Reds with another gilt-edged opportunity.

    Clark's air-kick gifted Sturridge a one-on-one with Rob Elliott, with the Newcastle stopper making a smart save from 12 yards, while Salah fired over the crossbar having been unable to control the pace of the ball as the rebound fell his way.

    Newcastle continued to temporarily relieve the pressure by creating opportunities of their own, with Christian Atsu soaring past Joe Gomez with blistering pace before being denied by Lovren's last-ditch recovering tackle.

    Atsu was also involved in the thick of the action minutes later when he was struck by the high boot of Joe Gomez on the half-way line, which required Pawson to take a few seconds to reflect on the incident before only deciding to issue a yellow card.

    Liverpool began to increase the pace in the final minutes as they sought a winning goal but it proved elusive, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missing another golden opportunity when he headed Alberto Moreno's pinpoint cross over the crossbar from eight yards.

    The Reds were nearly caught by a late sucker punch, however, when Mo Diame's stoppage-time strike was blocked by the arm of Lovren from close-range but the incident was once again not deemed worthy of a spot-kick by referee Pawson.

    Despite Newcastle's defensive heroics, which earned the club their hardest-fought point of the season so far, they remain in ninth-place with Southampton providing the club's next opposition at St Mary's following the upcoming international break.

    Rafa Benitez's team began the season with two consecutive league defeats but the club have now taken 10 points from a possible 15 as they continue to impress since returning to the Premier League following relegation back in 2016.

    Seventh-place Liverpool, meanwhile, will need to be more clinical in front of goal when the Premier League returns as they face second-place Manchester United at Anfield, with Jose Mourinho's side only trailing leaders Manchester City in the table on goal-difference.

    The Reds have now conceded 20 goals in the 12 matches they have played in all competitions this campaign, while the club have only won one of their last seven matches since the 4-0 win over Arsenal in August.
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    Item Reviewed: Newcastle United 1-1 Liverpool Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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