Liverpool 1 Newcastle United 1: Suarez rescues a point from gritty Newcastle
A battling display from the men in Black and White, coupled with another wasteful Liverpool performance in the the final third, meant a score draw at the end of 90 minutes at Anfield. Newcastle were finally able to get away from Anfield with something to show for their efforts – the first time since 2004.
The team selection saw Rodgers keeping faith in Suso, as the young Spanish prodigy started his 5th consecutive game. The Newcastle team saw a shift at right back, as Vurnon Anita was deemed suitable for duty by Alan Pardew. Papiss Cisse also returned to the line-up, playing on the left hand side of a 4-3-3.
The men in red got off the starting blocks much quicker, as they looked threatening in possession, and their midfield ruling the roost in the early goings. But only a Raheem Sterling shot was all Liverpool had to show for their early dominance. Flashes of brilliance from the enigmatic Ben Arfa, and a high shot over the the bar from Demba Ba were all that was on display for the Toons in the early minutes.
Suarez was looking sharp as ever, as he went on a few runs of his own. The Uruguay international often came deep to influence the game for his side. His pace was always a threat and also forced a fine save from Tim Krul. That was the only shot in the opening spell to worry the Dutch keeper, and this soon became the tone of the game, where Liverpool played the ball effectively in the middle of the pitch but were uninspiring where it counted.
The game was entertaining even during the break, as a rogue water sprinkler burst in front of Liverpool’s dug out, resulting in a down right soaking for the fans in the section.
The second started in the fashion the game had begun with Liverpool pegging Newcastle at the Kop end. With only 5 minutes gone in the half, Newcastle were dealt another injury blow, as their highest goal-scorer this season, Demba Ba was taken off to be replaced by Sammy Ameobi.
A curling effort from the boot of Suarez bounced awkwardly in-front of Krul, but the Dutchman was on hand to parry the effort to safety. If two injury substitutions were not enough, the influential Cabaye had to be withdrawn. The Magpies were hit left, right and centre with the injuries, but managed to cling on to their lead as the clock hit the hour mark.
On 67 minutes, Luis Suarez finally gave the Red faithful something to cheer about as he took a long ball from Jose Enrique on his chest, beating his man Coloccini for pace, and then coolly rounded off Krul to slot in the equaliser. The goal was a piece of sheer magic from the Uruguayan as he looked to carry the Liverpool team on his back for most of the game.
Suarez’s runs became even more dangerous as the game went on. Liverpool went really close when Suarez again had the better of Coloccini but found a floundering Jonjo Shelvey at the end of his pull-back, when all that the Englishman had to do was hit the target.
As time wore on, the game became stretched, and saw a great opportunity fall to the feet of Raheem Sterling, who was denied by an immense block from a recovering Steven Taylor.
The finale of the game had more drama in store, as Newcastle skipper Fabricio Coloccini, in a moment of madness, went in studs up on the back of Suarez and saw red. Though the intent was for all to see, the contact was minimal and Luis Suarez being his usual self, exaggerated the contact with expressions often seen when women go into labour.
The 10-man Newcastle side proved too tough a proposition to break down in the end, as they played with all men behind the ball till the final whistle. The best opportunity for Liverpool to capitalize came via a deflected shot off Cisse, which comically bounced over Krul, who was happy to see it bounce clear off the crossbar.
The outcome of the match left both set of supporters wondering what could have been, but Alan Pardew would have been the much happier of the managers.
The draw leaves Liverpool in 12th spot, yet again frustrated by a solitary home point. Newcastle drew their fourth consecutive away game and are yet to win away this season. The Magpies remain 10th on the table.
LIVERPOOL: Jones, Wisdom, Agger, Skrtel, Enrique, Sahin (Downing 74), Gerrard, Allen, Suso (Shelvey 66), Sterling, Suarez
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul, Anita, S Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Jonas, Cabaye (Ferguson 67), Perch (Simpson 26), Ben Arfa, Cisse, Ba (Sammy Ameobi
Referee: Anthony Taylor