Three talking points as Newcastle United held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw
Liverpool missed the chance to climb into the top four as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle United.
A sensational 25-yard strike by Philippe Coutinho had put the Reds in front on the half-hour, before Joselu equalised just seven minutes later when the ball trickled into the net after cannoning off his shin.
Liverpool pushed for a winner but despite creating a hatful of opportunities, they had to settle for a point at St James’ Park. Here are three talking points.
Defensive frailties haunt Liverpool
Much has been made of Liverpool’s profligacy in front of goal – but a worrying statistic for the club is that only West Ham and Crystal Palace have conceded more goals this season.
It is no secret that Jurgen Klopp was after a quality centre-back in the transfer window and his failure to strengthen this area has been exposed.
While there was a huge slice of luck involved in Joselu’s goal, which rebounded in off his leg from Joel Matip’s tackle, there were question marks once again over the two central defenders’ positioning.
Joselu had been given far too much space, which was unpicked by a superb through ball from Jonjo Shelvey. Reds’ manager Klopp appears to be no closer to solving his side’s defensive issues.
Newcastle’s home form will be crucial
After last weekend’s disappointing defeat away to Brighton, this was a welcome result for the Magpies.
While they had their opponents’ wastefulness to thank, Rafa Benitez’s men gave a good account of themselves and can be satisfied with their performance.
For any promoted side, home form is crucial to their survival hopes. Since their opening-day reversal against Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle have taken seven points from a possible nine at St James’ Park, which has helped them climb to ninth in the table.
The passionate support they receive means the Magpies will always be a tough nut to crack at home, as Liverpool found to their cost.
Sturridge fails to take his chance
With Roberto Firmino dropped to the bench, Daniel Sturridge was handed a rare Premier League start against Newcastle. However, he failed to vindicate Jurgen Klopp’s faith.
Perhaps understandably, the England striker looked short on match fitness and was unable to have an influence on proceedings.
There were a few nice touches, but Sturridge had one guilt-edged opportunity to score and could only blast his effort straight at Newcastle keeper Rob Elliot.
The 28-year-old has endured a frustrating time under Klopp, scoring only 10 Premier League goals in the two years since the German took charge. It is looking increasingly like his future lies away from Anfield.
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