Newcastle United 3
Nolan (15), Barton (80), Carroll (90)
I guess there is no other way to describe this game other than disappointing.
Perhaps Roy Hodgson was partly glad that most of the pre and post match attention was focused on Newcastle and their recent crisis. However, hopes that we were perhaps finally beginning to get some consistency proved to be a false dawn and surely there will be no recovery while we continue to travel badly. HRH commented
“It’s a major setback, a major blow.”
It certainly was. A good win against Villa earlier in the week, but perhaps more significantly was the fright we gave Spurs on the road the previous Saturday? However, optimism and confidence, as seen in the previous piece I wrote, is a risky stance to adopt when supporting this current Liverpool side.
Once again the line up was positive. Torres returned (Babel made way) to partner Ngog up front, a combination that done well at White Hart Lane. However, perhaps Spurs’ style of play was more to our suiting? This time we allowed ourselves to go under to combination of the occasion (perhaps) and most certainly a robust if not necessarily overly skilful Newcastle side who were determined, through sheer hard work, to do it for Chris Hughton, or the fans or their new manager or any combination of the three. Whatever the case we need a meaner streak as we allowed ourselves to be bullied by Newcastle. Perhaps HRH might hope that some of our players find some b*llocks under the tree in two Saturdays time?
Newcastle’s tactics were simple. When we had possession they filled back in numbers and once they took it off us, Andy Carroll was never far from their thoughts usually via a long ball. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a criticism of Newcastle. It was the right thing to do as we didn’t deal with it. All three goals saw us shirking from physical responsibility. Barton’s free kick was not dealt with by Skrtel who allowed Carroll to out jump him. Nolan picked up the cross and was allowed to score watched by a static Konchesky.
The second goal was more of the same. Another long ball to Carroll who headed on to Ranger. Again Skrtel was found wanting and then Barton simply ran past another static red, this time it was Johnson, to score. The third saw us running back to our trenches from an advancing Andy Carroll. He didn’t bother to wait for us and rifled a long range effort past Reina having probably had time to pick out, and aim for, a specific square in the netting.
Our equaliser scrappy as it was, Kuyt picking up from Campbell’s error and seeing his shot deflect home via Taylor, came at a great time just after the break. Storm weathered? Time to kick on and reassert ourselves? Nope, nothing doing. Before that Meireles’ shot was stopped by Enrique. Kyriakkos should have done better with a header from a Meireles corner.
Torres had a shot well saved and another that was just past the post. I’m slowly beginning to wonder about Torres. Again he looked angry, exasperated and disinterested. He’s been injured and is still not fit but this moody stuff is not professional, his mind appears elsewhere. Surely after last week his thoughts must now turn even more to the future professionally and personally. I think it will be a miracle if he’s still playing for us this time next season.
Quiet were we will be I’ve no idea. Let’s hope we’ve found something, a bit of away form would be a start?
Newcastle: Krul, Jose Enrique, Campbell, Simpson, Taylor, Nolan (Smith 87), Barton (Routledge 90+3), Gutierrez, Tiote, Carroll, Ameobi (Ranger 63) Substitutes: Harper, Perch, Guthrie, Routledge, Smith, Lovenkrands, Ranger
Liverpool: Reina, G Johnson, Konchesky, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Raul Meireles, Maxi (Jovanovic 85), Lucas, Torres, Kuyt, Ngog (Babel 72), Substitutes: Jones, Aurelio, Kelly, Cole, C Poulsen, Jovanovic, Babel