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Monday, 13 December 2010
NEWCASTLE 3-1 LIVERPOOL MATCH REPORT
Another away fixture for Liverpool and with high hopes of improving on a very poor record away from home this year. Confidence high going into this match after such a good performance against Aston Villa. But I was worried when I heard of the departure of Chris Hughton from Newcastle earlier in the week. Worse still with a new manager in Pardew being installed as new manager before Liverpool faced them. I often find teams with new managers getting good results in their first games in charge. But with confidence high I was hoping for a good performance from Liverpool.
With Torres available after the birth of his son, I was expecting him to come straight back into the team and I wasn't disappointed, very tough on Babel making way for him though as he had played very well in his last two starts. Again good to see Hodgson playing with two men up front away from home in the shape of N'Gog and Torres. Also I am pleased in the way Hodgson is trying to keep a settled team.
Pretty much a mixed atmosphere at the start as the Newcastle fans have not been happy with events in the last week. The game started at a slow tempo with Liverpool very comfortable at the start and able to pass the ball around. The first real chance came with Kyrgiakos firing in a shot after the ball broke to him after a Meireles free kick. But with Newcastle's first real chance of the match they took the lead, when a Barton free kick was met by the head of Carroll who headed across goal to the incoming Nolan who fired past Reina from close range, there was a hint of offside about it but the goal was given. Liverpool responded with Maxi heading over from a Johnson pass and Torres shot wide from a free kick from the edge of the box. But Newcastle still looked threatening with Carroll and Ameobi and on 30 minutes Reina made a good save when Carroll hit a good volley from the edge of the box after a good knock down from Ameobi. Then Meireles hit a volley which deflected off N'Gog before being cleared off the line by Gutierrez. Seconds later Meireles gifted Newcastle a great opportunity with a pass straight to Ameobi who ran towards the Liverpool penalty box before shooting which deflected off Kyrgiakos and just went past Reina's right hand post as Reina was left stranded. Liverpool shouted for a penalty just before half time when Maxi seemed to be tripped just inside the box but play was waved on. Then right on half time Kyrgiakos headed just past the post from a corner.
Liverpool got the perfect start to the second half when they found themselves level on 49 minutes when Taylor and Campbell hesitated on the edge of the box allowing Kuyt to collect the ball and fire a shot which took a slight deflection off Taylor and past Krul. This goal gave Liverpool a boost and they started to dominate as they pegged Newcastle back. Torres had two good chances, his first a header straight at Krul, then Konchesky played a quick free kick through to Torres but his shot was thwarted by Krul who spread himself to block his effort. Then Andy Carroll had a free diving header which he should have done better with as he headed over. Newcastle then made a change bringing on Nile Ranger who almost scored just a minute after coming on for Ameobi, after a Skrtel slip he was through with only Reina to beat but he fired just wide. But Liverpool found themselves under pressure and it was no surprise when Newcastle took the lead on 80 minutes. A long clearance from Krul was headed on by Carroll which Joey Barton managed to get on the end of and shoot past Reina. As Liverpool tried to push for an equaliser late on they were punished when Carroll hit a great goal from outside the area giving Reina no chance and ending Liverpool's hopes sending them to their 7th defeat of the season.
Another very disappointing away day for us, especially after looking so good after equalising, I thought we were the team that was looking the more likelier to go on and win. I thought early in the match we were comfortable without creating too much then with Newcastle's first attack we were down 1-0. I thought we were dictating most of the play but when Newcastle stepped up their game I felt we didn't respond especially in the second half as a second Newcastle goal looked like coming. A big moment in the game was Torres missing from close range. But I felt the game changed when Nile Ranger came on for Newcastle and he caused so many problems and he seemed to give Newcastle a lift which we couldn't respond to. The second goal was terrible defending, a long clearance headed on by Carroll who was being challenged by Lucas the smallest player in the team, why Kyrgiakos or Skrtel wasn't challenging is beyond me then Skrtel made a mess of trying to clear allowing Barton to finish as Johnson tried to challenge. The third goal was poor as Carroll ws given the freedom of the park as Lucas made no attempt to close him down. Kyrgiakos battled hard all day as Carroll is a difficult opponent. Skrtel was pretty dodgy, Lucas was pretty quiet in the middle. Meireles had another good game for us. Maxi was quiet and Kuyt scored but I felt he never gave us much. N'Gog was poor and Torres just doesn't look sharp at all. Overall far too many players underperforming once again. Hodgson is being slated once again but I can't question his team selection, but I do have question marks over his motivational skills as he doesn't look like a motivator to me. But then should players on 100 grand a week need motivating, the players need to stand up and be counted when the going get
s tough. At home next week but its our away form that has to be sorted out.
Man Of The Match - Meireles I thought he had a great game once again, some really good passes always trying to create, although nearly cost us with that sloppy pass to Ameobi. He was the shining light in another dark night.