Newcastle United, a club with rich footballing history, have struggled to stay in the top flight in recent years. They, however, earned an immediate promotion under Rafael Benitez and have done pretty well so far in early days of the 2017-18 Premier League campaign. They grabbed three wins in a row but suffered a defeat against fellow promoted side Brighton & Hove Albion last Sunday. The Magpies were determined to get back to winning ways at home this weekend against Liverpool whom they have troubled at St. James Park in past seasons.
This Sunday evening fixture has been an emotional voyage for Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez who is remembered and loved by the Reds fans for his contribution to the club during his 5 years tenure and is regarded as the most successful Reds boss in recent history. Liverpool, under Jurgen Klopp, have shown promises but are struggling with defensive frailty and lack of conversion rate. They were back to winning ways against Leicester City at King Power Stadium last weekend but again settled for a draw against Spartak Moscow in their midweek Champions League outing. The game against Newcastle United, however, proved to be an action replay of their Spartak clash as it ended all square (1-1) yet again.
Below are the Newcastle United players rated from their draw against the Reds.
Robert Elliot: 7
The new victim of Philippe Coutinho’s long-range strike but did a fair job between the sticks. Saved a one-on-one effort of Daniel Sturridge who failed to capitalize on Ciaran Clark’s howler.
DeAndre Yedlin: 7
Yedlin mostly concentrated on his defensive duties as the Magpies were happy to sit back and hit Liverpool on the counter-attack. The American professional did well to contain Sadio Mane who was quiet for the entire evening.
Jamaal Lascelles: 7
Lascelles was solid at the back and did well to contain Daniel Sturridge who never looked promising throughout the game.
Ciaran Clark: 6
Was little nervy as he made some unnecessary clearances without pressure and made a howler which could have been costly if Daniel Sturridge and Mohamed Salah had capitalized on the opportunity.
Javier Manquillo: 6.5
Did not offer much in attack but had a great combative display against Joe Gomez. Although he often allowed space for the Liverpool right-back to run forward, the young Englishman could not make the best out of it.
Jonjo Shelvey: 7.5
Shelvey was the architect of Newcastle’s equalizer as his long ball found Joselu in acres of space which eventually led to a goal. Was dispossessed a few times but controlled the game from the middle of the park.
Mikel Merino: 7
The Borussia Dortmund loanee was combative and made a number of crucial blocks, tackles, and interceptions to break down Liverpool’s movements in midfield. Was taken off in the second half amidst fans’ applauds and was replaced by Isaac Hayden.
Matt Ritchie: 7
Ritchie did not have enough opportunities to run forward like other occasions but he worked hard down the right-hand flank as he kept on helping his defence and cover Yedlin to defend against Sadio Mane.
Ayoze Perez: 6
Perez was mostly involved in defensive duties as Newcastle United did not offer much in attack and were concentrating on sitting deep against Liverpool’s attacking waves. Was taken off late in the game and was replaced by Mohamed Diame.
Christian Atsu: 6
Almost broke the Liverpool defence on one occasion but lacked the finishing. Did not offer much going forward.
Scored Newcastle’s equalizer in a comical fashion as he picked up Shelvey’s ball in free space and made a forward run but it was Joel Matip whose sliding clearance touched the ball that deflected off him to get past the goalkeeper. Was taken off and replaced by Dwight Gayle late in the second half.
Isaac Hayden: 6.5
Came in place of Mikel Merino. Did well to screen his backline late in the game and protect the scoreline.
Dwight Gayle: 5
Failed to make any noteworthy contribution since coming on replacing Joselu.
Mohamed Diame: 6
Earned a corner in dying seconds and almost found a late winner. But it was Dejan Lovren who threw his body into the path of his strike. The ball got deflected and eventually ended up in Simon Mignolet’s grasp.