Rafa Benitez was known for remarkable comeback wins during his time at Liverpool. He must have hoped for something similar when he brought his relegation fighting Newcastle side to Anfield. He certainly got his wish after the Magpies came from 2-0 behind to secure a well fought 2-2 draw.
Liverpool looked to be running away with the game when Daniel Sturridge scored only after 68 seconds. Jurgen Klopp handed Connor Randall and Kevin Stewart their Anfield debuts following Mamadou Sakho’s UEFA investigation over his failed drug tests.
A comfortable first half for The Reds was followed by an inspiring Newcastle performance in the second half. Papiss Cisse and Jack Colback scored within 15 minutes to earn a vital point for Newcastle.
Following the full-time result at Anfield, we take a look at the key talking points and things learned following Liverpool’s 2-2 draw vs Newcastle, which ended up being a fair and perhaps the satisfactory result for both the teams.
Newcastle have got in them to fight for survival
No one gave them a chance to get anything from their games against Manchester City and Liverpool. However, with some gritty displays and tactical genius from Rafa Benitez, Newcastle earned 2 draws and registered 2 vital points from those games.
With Norwich and Sunderland set to play against the bigger teams in coming weeks, Newcastle could hold the edge in this season’s relegation battle. We will know in coming weeks whether the consecutive draws from Rafa’s team will be enough to keep them in Premier League for another season.
Liverpool need to close games out
If one aspect of Jurgen Klopp’s management which needs fine tuning is his team’s ability to close out games when they are ahead. His pressing style always keeps Liverpool players guessing whether to keep pressing or sit back and defend the lead they have.
Effects of Sakho’s failed drug tests were clearly felt
No sport is based on the outcomes of ifs and buts, however, had Mamadou Sakho played against Newcastle, perhaps Liverpool could have protected their lead. The Reds have suspended Sakho until results of his drug tests are out. His absence will be a key factor in Liverpool’s season with Europa League semifinal to be played next Thursday.
Players are responding to Rafa’s tactical changes
Just like the game against Manchester City, Rafa Benitez changed things against Liverpool by bringing Georginio Wijnaldum at half time and took Ayoze Perez off. Since the change, Newcastle looked much the better team with Andres Townsend, Moussa Sissoko and Wijnaldum linking up well to support Cisse’s forward runs.
Newcastle’s fighting spirit was for everyone to witness as they are refusing to go down without putting up a proper fight. Seeing The Tyneside club respond to Rafa’s tactics, I wonder if Newcastle board took a bit longer in getting rid of Steve McClaren from St. James’ Park.
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