An interesting day all round on Saturday, as Liverpool fans and Newcastle supporters watched on as their teams played out a 1-1 draw.
Mo Salah scoring in only the third minute with a goal of pure class, only to see Joe Willock grab an equaliser in the final seconds.
The midfielder coming off the bench for a third time in a row to score a goal that added points to the survival total.
As is the case for all of us, with it being a positive result for Newcastle United, I was far more interested in what everybody was having to say after the match.
It was particularly interesting to see a never ending debate / argument between Liverpool fans and their Newcastle counterparts.
The Newcastle fans believing their team had 100% deserved the point, whilst Liverpool fans were 100% of the opinion that their side should have won.
Funnily enough, the one thing that nobody wanted to accept was that BOTH sets of supporters are correct in what they are claiming.
Summing up the arguments put forward by the two sides…
Justice served when Willock scored, as so unfair that Wilson saw his goal disallowed for an accidental ball to arm that he had no way of avoiding.
Martin Dubravka a great performance, the Newcastle defence also putting in some great blocks, last ditch tackles etc.
ASM excellent in first half and cynical Liverpool players taking bookings to stop him, with an argument they could have been red cards.
A decent number of chances and decent opportunities, as well as the late equaliser and disallowed goal.
Control of vast majority of the game and possession.
A huge number of chances created.
Cutting through Newcastle’s midfield and defence so easily, so often.
Many times, Liverpool players left facing just Martin Dubravka.
Trying to sum up the above…
Newcastle fans are right in what they are saying, Liverpool’s defence is shocking at the moment and a more clinical attacking side could very well have scored four or five goals on the break if taking the chances or picking the right pass. As an away team you would expect to have less of the ball and chances at Anfield and it is a given that your defenders and goalkeeper will have to be up for it. Also, you can’t give up and must keep on trying, the absolute proof of that was Newcastle the better team in added time and ‘scoring’ those two late goals.
For Liverpool fans, when you see you team have 22 shots and nine of those are forcing a save, it would be very rare for you not to believe that your team had deserved all three points. The thing is as well, what we all saw was at times Liverpool strolling through the Newcastle backline, the number of times where only Martin Dubravka stood between them and a goal, was amazing. The Slovakian keeper making a lot of excellent saves, whilst in addition, Liverpool’s strikers chose the wrong option time after time. Sane, Firmino and Salah would have scored a hatful if in last season’s form, whilst Jota alone could and should have had a hat-trick.
The thing is, this is not the Liverpool of the last two seasons, when they scored goals for fun, defended well, and accumulated 97 and 99 points respectively.
Instead, Liverpool have next to no chance of finishing top four, can only get a maximum of 68 points at the very most, their defence is all over the place and the forwards often misfiring. Before struggling to a 2-1 win over Villa in their previous home game before the Newcastle one, Liverpool had lost their six home matches, including defeats to Fulham, Burnley and Brighton where they didn’t manage a single goal against any of the trio.
In general terms, of course Liverpool did for sure deserve to win the game. They had a ridiculous number of chances and could / should have had the match won easily. If one team has far more, and clear, chances than the opposition, it is just plain daft to argue otherwise.
However, at the same time, I have always said when I have played football (at lower levels!) and captained my teams, if you never give up, keep trying, don’t let the game slip away by conceding more goals, play until the very end, then you at least give yourself some sort of chance. A chance that very definitely won’t still be there if you just give up.
At the end of any match that you play, at whatever level, when you come off the pitch you know which has been the better team and on balance of play should have won…and will won the vast majority of times in those circumstances.
Likewise, on balance of play at Anfield yesterday, Liverpool would normally win at least eight, if not nine, times out of ten.
Newcastle United, by not giving up, earned the right for them to have a chance of yesterday being the one in ten chance of the scousers not winning, then having somebody like Willock (or Wilson) capable of finishing off that one late chance that might fall your way (not many giving credit to him but an excellent header by Dwight Gayle to set Willock up for the late equaliser.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Liverpool 1 Newcastle 1 – Saturday 24 April 12.30pm
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Liverpool 69% (71%) Newcastle 31% (29%)
Total shots were Liverpool 22 (12) Newcastle 7 (1)
Shots on target were Liverpool 9 (4) Newcastle 4 (1)
Corners were Liverpool 6 (2) Newcastle 3 (2)
Referee: Andre Marriner
Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Clark (Willock 64), Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Almiron (Gayle 85), Joelinton (Wilson 60), Saint-Maximin
Gillespie, Krafth, Lewis, Manquillo, Hendrick, Carroll
(Liverpool were desperate to be out of the Champions League – Happy to oblige – Read HERE)
(Unbelievably lucky Steve Bruce must do right thing and walk away in four weeks time – Read HERE)
(Should have been Liverpool 1 Newcastle 2 not Liverpool 1 Newcastle 1 – You couldn’t make it up – Read HERE)
(Liverpool 1 Newcastle 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s dramatic draw! – Read HERE)