Liverpool held at Newcastle: Post Match Reflections

Premier League
Saturday 19 October 2013 - 12:45 pm
St James' Park
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Liverpool missed out on an opportunity to take maximum points this past weekend at St James Park but amongst the disappointment there are still some positives to take.

Perhaps the biggest would be the continued partnership of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez who link up well at the top of the field.

The reds also welcomed back a couple of players to first team action in Aly Cissokho and Glen Johnson - with Liverpool's new formation these players will hopefully provide important competition to a squad that is probably still too thin in places.

Martin Skrtel has become the main figure of LFC's 2013-14 defence.

Martin Skrtel has become the main figure of LFC's 2013-14 defence.

Liverpool's new formation is having mixed fortunes.  Certainly it allows Suarez and Sturridge to effectively play in the same team, and the return of Coutinho will no doubt enhance their abilities as opposed to players like Moses and Henderson operating behind the back two.

One problem that has dogged Brendan Rodgers' era at Liverpool has not been solved by the new formation.  Even with three giant centre-backs, the reds are still woeful at defending set pieces.

Rodgers can be pleased the reds came from behind twice, but against 10 men for half of the game, and with the possession this helped enable Liverpool to have a point can be seen as a disappointing return.

Newcastle arguably deserved to grab the first goal of the game - Cabaye executing a wonderful swerving shot that beat the unsighted Mignolet.

Lucas Leiva and Jose Enrique have not been in outstanding form this season - but in the early periods of the game their absence was felt acutely in this game - Cissokho is still in the early days of his Liverpool loan and both wing backs showed their lack of recent match action.

Liverpool were thrown the lifeline before half time when Yanga-Mbiwa pulled down Luis Suarez in the area, conceding a penalty and getting sent off in the process.  Steven Gerrard was on hand to convert the penalty and grab his 100th Premier League goal.

Despite playing the second half with 10 men, Newcastle retook the lead.  A Cabaye free kick confused Liverpool's defence and Paul Dummett volleyed in.

Some defensive alterations saw Liverpool return to a 4-4-2 formation and shortly after Liverpool had equalised for the second time in the game.

Luis Suarez finding his new best friend Daniel Sturridge to grab yet another goal.

Many of Liverpool's players have indeed had tough weeks on international duty and players returning from injury is also not ideal in such situations.  Teams going down to ten men often exhibit an extra resilience that ironically can make them more difficult to break down.

It is hard to feel too down at this result as the league position still looks healthy, but if Liverpool aim to still be in the top four at the end of the season then they must iron out some lapses in defensive concentration.

Things are beginning to look good at the top end of the pitch - Liverpool need some shut-outs in the coming weeks before a very busy December tests us to our limits.

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Liverpool held at Newcastle: Post Match Reflections

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