The Toon Tribune: Newcastle’s pugnacity eclipsed by Liverpool’s quality

Newcastle United fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of in-form Liverpool at Anfield at the weekend, with goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane either side of half-time giving the hosts a comfortable lead.

Newcastle set up on Merseyside to defend and keep the Reds’ lethal attack at bay, with Rafa Benitez opting for a 5-4-1 formation.

The Magpies looked organised up until the 40th minute, with a lapse of concentration by skipper Jamaal Lascelles leaving Salah unmarked and free to slot home. The Egyptian slipped the ball under the legs of ‘keeper Martin Dubravka netting his 24th goal of the season.

United almost levelled minutes later, when Mohamed Diame’s goal-bound shot was superbly saved by Liverpool stopper Loris Karius. Unfortunately for the Magpies, this was as close as they got to the Liverpool goal, with the absence of midfielder Jonjo Shelvey being apparent with Newcastle’s lack of creativity.

10 minutes after half-time, the Reds doubled their lead with Sadio Mane running in behind  and collecting Roberto Firmino’s through ball and subsequently finding the net. This occurred from a succession of tidy play by Liverpool, who comfortably saw the game off.

After having only 28% possession in the first half, Newcastle did see more of it in the second. United attacked down their left-hand side, with Brazilian Kenedy being their most attacking outlet. Their effort was to no avail however, as Dwight Gayle cut an isolated figure up-front, as new signing Islam Slimani continued to recover from his injury.

The result was always a probability as Newcastle faced an energetic and confident side who boast one of the most fearsome attacking line ups in Europe. Damage limitation may be enough for the Magpies, with goal-difference possibly having an impact in the relegation battle.

Newcastle battled however Liverpool’s quality showed. The Magpies now face back-to-back home matches against fellow strugglers Southampton and Huddersfield Town respectively.

With the season drawing to a close, United must pick up valuable points from these types of matches, while every game from now until the end of the season is crucial.


Written by Dawud Arshad

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