Newcastle just about hobbled over the line with a point on Sunday when they faced Liverpool at St. James' Park. It wasn't the most exciting or eventful of matches, but it is a great point for Newcastle which keeps them 9th in the Premier League table going into the international break.
Manquillo replaced Mbemba at left back, Jonjo Shelvey finally got his chance back in the first team (which he took well) in replacement for an out of form Isaac Hayden
Liverpool made 4 changes from their disappointing draw against Spartak Moscow, including Sturridge coming in for Firmino and Wijnaldumn starting against his old club ahead of Emre Can.
Match (First Half)
For the first 15 minutes or so the match was evenly contested between the two sides but Liverpool clearly had the better chances, including when Mohamed Salah completely missed the ball in the Newcastle box, right before Manquillo did the same thing and Sturridge took the ball of him, before Manquillo recovered well and forced the striker into an awkward angle with the help of Jonjo Shelvey.
Newcastle had some opportunities for themselves, with Matt Ritchie testing his left foot from outside the box with 12 minutes on the clock, however Mignolet had no problem catching it, this remained the same for the majority of our shots; Lascelles and Shelvey (twice) both had shots blocked or easily saved.
But the biggest "nearly" goal came on the 23rd minute when Wijnaldumn headed the ball onto the post from a corner and Lovren had his following shot cleared off the line, scrappy defending by Newcastle made the ball bounce to Mane who fortunately hit his shot into the side netting.
This would soon be forgotten by Liverpool fans as just 6 minutes later, Philippe Coutinho hit an absolute beauty into the top left corner. Jonjo Shelvey arguably should've done better to tackle the Brazilian but the shot was dazzling nonetheless.
A few years back Newcastle would've just collapsed and let in about 3 more at this point in the game, but not this team. Equalizing seven minutes later when Shelvey played a fantastic through ball to Joselu, who had appeared to have been tackled by Joël Matip, luckily, the ball smacked back off his shin and rolled in; ending his streak of missed sitters with seemingly one of the only ways the Spaniard can score.
For the rest of the half Newcastle were on the back foot, hanging onto a 1-1 draw in the last few minutes.
Match (Second Half)
The second half was when both sides had the best of their chances; like when on the 50th minute, Ciaran Clark managed to slice the ball behind him right to the path of Daniel Sturridge one-on-one with Rob Elliot, instead of calmly stroking it home, he just smashed it right at Elliot before Mohamed Salah missed an open goal on the rebound. Just four minutes later, Atsu had the chance to score or cross as he bombed down the wing into the Liverpool box, but he took too long to make his mind up and he got tackled off the ball which was quite disappointing form the Ghanaian.
Barely a minute later Liverpool's Joe Gomez could've or maybe should've seen red when he kneed Atsu in the head in the air, similar to Mane's sending off against Manchester City. This is another incident where I can confidently say that if it was Mitrovic committing the foul he would've seen a straight red, Gomez only got a yellow card for the incident.
Newcastle were on the back foot for the majority of this match, some of the play was so bad it was painful but our defense was quite solid at times, something we haven't really been able to say in the premier league in recent years.
Hayden, Gayle and Diame all came on for Merino, Joselu and Perez as the game advanced, and it almost worked perfectly, if only Mohamed Diame took his one and only chance of the game better late in extra time, the ball bounced to him in the box following a corner but his shot was very weak and it deflected off of 2 Liverpool players before going straight at the keeper.
The game ended 1-1.
Round-Up + Next Game
In the end a draw is what the game deserved to be. Both teams were quite poor and didn't take their chances well. Our next game is after yet another international break when we play Southampton away. I think it could be tougher than this game and we will need to be playing our best ATTACKING football to get a win down there. Although Joselu scored today he probably would've missed if it weren't for help of Joel Matip, so I think Mitrovic should start when we next play on the 15th of October. I really don't know how the game will go and I think it will be another game where we should be hoping for a win instead of expecting one.