Three things we learned from Liverpool – Newcastle

Liverpool - Newcastle
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Liverpool allowed two goals in stoppage time, though only one counted in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Saturday.

A shocking late Newcastle equalizer was taken off the board by a sketchy rule as Callum Wilson’s inadvertant handling of the ball looked to give Liverpool a win at Anfield on Saturday, only for Joe Willock to rescue another big result for the Magpies in a 1-1 draw.

Liverpool survived poor finishing and a strong performance from Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka prior to Wilson’s would-be heroics, the substitute tucking his arm into his body after Alisson Becker’s stoppage-time save bounding toward him, then snapping the loose ball over the line.

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But Joe Willock snapped a shot off Fabinho and into the goal to give the Magpies a richly-desired, quite-unlikely, and well-earned point. Newcastle’s 36 points are nine points clear of 18th-place Fulham. Both have five matches left on the docket.

The Reds had led through Mohamed Salah’s third-minute goal but saw a series of saves from Dubravka and some wayward shooting keep the visitors in pursuit of their point. The draw stops Livrpool from a top-four spot, now a point behind Chelsea and West Ham before the London pair tangle later Saturday (start time 12:30pm ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

STREAM LIVERPOOL – NEWCASTLE FULL MATCH REPLAY


Three things we learned from Liverpool – Newcastle

1. Newcastle show how far they’ve come: It’s only been a couple of months since we would’ve been asking whether Newcastle’s beleaguered attack could take advantage of a Liverpool team which had few answers in its own third. The Magpies now look like an actual Premier League attack — a healthy Allan Saint-Maximin sure helps — while Liverpool has figured out its defense despite Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, and Joe Gomez being joined by Jordan Henderson on the sidelines (though, it must be said, Fabinho’s absence is proving it was nearly as glaring as that of Van Dijk). On a day with Callum Wilson able to join Saint-Maximin in the Starting XI, maybe this is settled before stoppage time in favor of the visitors? Yet maybe it doesn’t, as Alisson was alert and his backs quite decent.

2. Back Kabak to come back? We know Ozan Kabak is not going to wind up with relegated Schalke by the time the  2.Bundesliga season starts, but should the 21-year-old end up with Liverpool. The 21-year-old is still rough around the edges but has shown multiple Premier League clubs that he can handle the rigors of the league and is a better passer than anticipated. It may not be at Anfield, with the Reds apparently targeting Ibrahima Konate, but Kabak can almost certainly be a PL back.

3. Salah scores early beauty but, well, that’s that: The Egyptian’s terrific third-minute blast into the upper reaches of the goal signaled blowout intent, but Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka was a significant hurdle to Salah and teammate Sadio Mane. The other one was the size of the goal, which as one of the biggest in sports wasn’t big enough for Liverpool’s substandard finishing. The Reds, for their improvements listed above, have not settled their top four fate and have a serious Champions League worry despite a very soft run-in aside from an upcoming tilt with Manchester United.

Man of the Match: Martin Dubravka

Eight saves and five from in-tight. Yeah, Salah and Mane weren’t anywhere near their best but the Magpies’ star Slovenian delivered the goods to keep Newcastle within sight of a suckerpunch equalizer.


Liverpool – Newcastle recap

It didn’t take long for the Reds to strike, Salah lashing a fourth-minute effort into the top of the goal after a tidy first touch and turn of a deflected Sadio Mane cross.

Saint-Maximin was again the cente rof everything Newcastle, drawing a few fouls and pushing into the box several times to the consternation of Ozan Kabak (who rose to the challenge).

Chances remained for Newcastle and Sean Longstaff couldn’t sort his feet to bear alisson, whose save led a corner. Newcastle had the ball in the goal but the flag was up against Jonjo Shelvey.

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Diogo Jota was bright but sloppy for the hosts, misfiring on two promising chances to make it 2-0.

Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka made an outstanding 1v1 save on a breaking Salah in the 37th minute, though the Egyptian will rue his finishing bid. The same can be said of Dubravka’s collection of a ball off Mane’s foot.

A cutting edge may have had this 1-1, but maybe not given the awareness and superb play of Alisson Becker. The Liverpool keeper made a terrific save on Joelinton in the 56th minute, his second of the game.