Newcastles United earned a well-deserved one-one draw against Liverpool at Saint James Park, with Joselu’s thirty sixth minute goal cancelling out Philippe Coutinho’s wonder-strike, which had shot the Reds ahead in the twenty ninth minute of the game.
This game summed up what Liverpool have become this season – a side that creates a plethora of scoring chances but remain inexplicably profligate in front of the goalpost; a side that shows a deplorable naivete in defending attacking play that ordinarily should pose no threat to defenders of an elite football club .
This shambolic performance should not be explain away with the flashes of brilliance that comes to light when they launch their offensive play.It is time for Jurgen klopp to answer a few questions about his coaching methods.
In this game,Rafa Benitez was able to employ a tactical formation that almost completely neutralized the attacking threat of Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah from the flanks by throwing bodies to block those channels. While Mane was completely ineffective at the left flank, Salah was still a menace from his position on the right.
Liverpool had a chance to score in the early minutes of the first half. A combination play between Salah and Mane freed the Senegalese winger to make inroad into Newcastle’s half, but Salah fluffed his lines when Mane sent a reverse pass to him at the front of the opponent’s eighteen yard box.
Georgino Wijnaldum header of Coutinho’s cross hit the goalpost and a melee broke out which ended with Mane hitting the side net with his effort.
Joselu profited from the poor positional sense of Joel Matip and Dejan Loveren when he was able to race with the ball through the two central-halves who had wandered far from their own half of the pitch, as he approached Mignolet in Liverpool’s penalty box, a sliding tackle from Matip caused the ball to ricochet off Joselu’s legs : an the ball flew past and on-rushing Simon Mignolet , rolling into the net without another touch .
Daniel Sturridge who had found it had to influence the came from his central postion, missed a chance to put his side a head when he latched onto a mis-cleared ball inside the Magpies eighteen yard box, but his shot was defelected by goalkeeper Elliot right to the front of Sala who balloned it over the crossbar.
Not even the introduction of Dominic Solanke and Roberto Firmino could get the Reds the much needed winning goal, though another second half substituts, Alexandre Oxlade-Chamberlain, came close to scoring with a flying header of Alberto Moreno cross that flew over the crossbar.
NewCastles disciplined defensive display was able to earned a point from their more star-studded opponents at the end of the game.
The usually emotionless Rafa Benitez , was unable to disguise his exultant feeling of getting a share of the spoil as he hugged and congratulated his players and Liverpool’s players.The Spanaird took time out to exchange pleasantries with Coutinho whom he managed at Inter – Milan.
With this draw, Jurgen klopp will be once again be subjected to intense criticism by the team fans of the club who have grown tired of the underwhelming performances of their club since the begining of the season.