Newcastle 1-1 Liverpool: Five things we learned

A tight and tense affair saw Newcastle and Liverpool share the points at St James' Park.

It was a tight start to the game, however Liverpool could have hit Newcastle with space on the counter after some brilliant runs from Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. 

However, it took a moment of Philippe Coutinho magic to break the deadlock midway through the first half.

The Brazilian playmaker picked up the ball from 25 yards out and cut inside before unleashing an unstoppable strike that sailed into the top corner.

However, slack Liverpool defending yet again cost the Merseysiders all three points. 

Jonjo Shelvey had far too much space and time in midfield and played a brilliant defence-splitting pass that cut the Liverpool side open.

Joselu got in between the two Liverpool centre halves and inadvertently finished after Joel Martin’s tackle deflected back off of the striker. 

It was a tense and atmospheric affair in the second half however, and lacked substance or any real quality. 

Substitute Mo Diame could have won it late on however saw his effort from close range deflected safely into the hands of Simon Mignolet.

The game ended 1-1 and RealSport have picked out five things we learned from the game. 

Coutinho the longshot specialist

He may disappoint the hipsters, however Philippe Coutinho is unstoppable from long range. 

No player has scored more goals from outside the box in the Premier League since Coutinho’s debut in the 2012/13 season. 

The Brazilian’s first half strike against Newcastle was his 17th goal from outside the box in England’s top division in that time, three more than second placed Yaya Toure.

Liverpool can often struggle to create against sides who remain compact and deep, with Coutinho often having to get his side out of jail with a piece of brilliance. 

Shelvey for England

Jonjo Shelvey is one of the most talented midfielders in the country. However, moments of madness have prevented him from being the consistent force he promised to be. Shelvey was awarded Newcastle’s captaincy in their first game of the season only to let his side down once again, getting a red card against Spurs for stamping on Dele Alli. However, the midfielder was brilliant against his former side Liverpool and displayed his wide range of passing. It was his defence-splitting pass in the first half that set up Joselu for a Newcastle equaliser. The England squad desperately needs a deep lying playmaker who can dictate the tempo and pass vertically through the lines. If Shelvey can stay in the news for the right reasons, he could force his way into the England World Cup squad.

Liverpool’s defence are sitting ducks

A lot is made of the individual mistakes the Liverpool defence make. They make far too many errors and it was crucial Jurgen Klopp signed another centre half. 

However, no single player would solve Liverpool’s defensive woes, with the issues more to do with structure than individual ability. 

For the Newcastle equaliser, they were completely cut open with a single pass, largely due to the space they had allowed in between the lines. It was more of a back two, which Joselu managed to get in between and eventually find the back of the net. Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip aren’t bad players. Signing Virgil van Dijk would still see Liverpool’s issues arise. 

The defence must get more protection from the rest of the team as a whole, and it’s something that Klopp must correct.

Firmino still first choice

Daniel Sturridge got a rare start for Liverpool in the Premier League. The English striker may be a phenomenal finisher but his performance would have done little to convince Klopp he should be first choice ahead of Roberto Firmino. 

The Brazilian is crucial to Liverpool’s pressing from the front and fluid front three. His movements where he drops deep, almost as a false nine can create space for the rapid Sadio Mane and Mo Salah to take advantage of. Sturridge may be an excellent striker, however will surely be consigned to a bit-part player whilst he is at Liverpool under Klopp. 

Newcastle must keep Benitez

The Spaniard has been an excellent appointment for the Magpies. 

Rafa Benitez decided to stick with the Northern giants to help get them straight back up to the Premier League after relegation, which he achieved. 

A club the size of Newcastle should at the very least be challenging for a Europa League place and under Benitez they have every chance. 

Newcastle look extremely organised under Benitez and will no doubt accumulate enough points to stay up this season under his stewardship. 

However, there were rumours of Benitez discontent at the club during the summer, failing to get the players he wanted to bring in to the club. 

If Newcastle wish to continue their progress, keeping hold of a happy Benitez is paramount.

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