Lacklustre Liverpool held by Newcastle
Premier League, St James' Park - Newcastle United 1 (Joselu 36') Liverpool 1 (Coutinho 29')
Liverpool were held 1-1 by Newcastle at St James' Park on Sunday as Philippe Coutinho's stunning strike was cancelled out by Joselu.
Coutinho was hardly involved in the opening 25 minutes but just before the half-hour mark he was given room 25 yards out and he let fly, unleashing a curling effort into the near corner.
Newcastle responded almost immediately as the Liverpool defence parted and allowed Joselu in. As he was about to pull the trigger the Spaniard was tackled by Joel Matip but the ball came back off the striker, past Simon Mignolet and into the net.
Liverpool pushed hard for a winner but couldn't find it as Newcastle, well drilled by the Red's former manager Rafa Bentiez, held firm and in fact it was the hosts who had the best chance to win it late on but Mo Diame's deflected effort ended up in the arms of a relieved Simon Mignolet.
The result lifts Liverpool to seventh on 12 points, one off fourth-placed Chelsea, while Newcastle's 10 points leave then ninth.
Liverpool’s defence costs them again. Jurgen Klopp seems pretty fed up of answering questions about his defence, but if they keep conceding goals like this those questions will keep coming. Newcastle created very little but scored an incredibly easy goal – Jonjo Shelvey dissected their backline with a simple forward pass – and that was enough to undo all of the Reds’ good work. Conceding soft goals is a recurring pattern, it keeps costing Liverpool points and as a result they currently look well off the pace being set by the Manchester clubs.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool). In a scrappy game, he provided the sole moment of brilliance and was the only member of Liverpool’s usually electric frontline who looked anywhere near to his best.
23’ –TRIPLE CHANCE! First Wijnaldum flicks a corner onto the near post, then Lovren can't quite reach the rebound but Matip can and he squares the ball to Lovren, six yards out, who sees his shot blocked and finally Mane fires wide from a tight angle.
29’ – GOAL! Newcastle 0-1 Liverpool (Coutinho). A stunner from Coutinho! He picks the ball up 30 yards out, manoeuvres away from two men and then unleashes a fierce shot that curls into the near top corner. That's quality, and that's why Liverpool wouldn't sell him.
36’ – GOAL! Newcastle 1-1 Liverpool (Joselu). Out of nothing, Shelvey slices the Liverpool defence open to release Joselu, who takes his time and is caught by Matip, but Matip’s tackle ricochets the ball off Joselu and past the goalkeeper into the net. Lucky boy!
90+2’ – CHANCE! A Newcastle corner isn't dealt with at all and the ball falls for Diame, eight yards out and dead centre in front of goal, but his scuffed shot is deflected straight into Mignolet's arms.
Klopp has never beaten Newcastle, losing once and drawing twice.
In 45 Premier League meetings, these sides have never played out a goalless draw.
Liverpool have only won on one of their last seven visits to St James’ Park.