Steven Gerrard scored his 100th Premier League club but Liverpool had to settle for a point against ten-man Newcastle United in a 2-2 draw at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle took the lead through Yohan Cabaye’s long-range effort, but Gerrard converted a penalty just three minutes before half-time after Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was sent off for a professional foul.
Paul Dummett did fire the home side back in front in the second half, but Daniel Sturridge dragged the Reds level again and the title-chasers couldn’t grab a winner in a pulsating lunch-time kick-off.
In this fixture last season, Newcastle were on the end of a 6-0 thumping but they showed defensive stability to keep the Reds quiet in the opening periods. It took 20 minutes for the first real chance to come, but Liverpool were very unlucky not to take the lead. Gerrard’s corner was met by Luis Suarez’s free header, but Davide Santon got back well to clear off the goal-line.
It was an important clearance and the Magpies took advantage to take the lead just three minutes. Cabaye scored a stunner against Everton before the international break, but it was their Merseyside rivals on the receiving end this time as the Frenchman unleashed a swerving low drive that flew past Simon Mignolet into the bottom corner. Arguably, the goalkeeper could have done better but the swerve that the ball took through the air made it difficult for the ex-Sunderland shot-stopper.
The defensive midfielder was at it again just minutes after the goal, but this time, his radar was just off as Newcastle continued to threaten. His powerful shot from 30 yards had Mignolet scrambling, but the ball flew inches over to the relief of Brendan Rodgers on the Liverpool bench.
At this point, Rodgers was hoping that his deadly double-act up front in Sturridge and Suarez would bail his side out in the North East and they were close to an equaliser in the 39th minute. The England international did well to pick out his strike partner on the edge of the box, but Tim Krul made a smart save to keep the shot out from the Uruguayan.
Unfortunately for the Dutch goalkeeper, Newcastle’s lead would only last three minutes later. Suarez broke through the defence and was pulled down by Yanga-Mbiwa, leaving the referee with no choice but to award a penalty. To make matters worse, the defender was the last man when fouling Suarez, so Newcastle were reduced to ten men.
Gerrard stepped up and coolly slotted past Krul to level the scores and join the Premier League 100 club alongside the likes of Alan Shearer, Didier Drogba and Andy Cole.
The second half was dominated by the Reds as they controlled possession, but found it very difficult to break down a stubborn Newcastle back-line. Their lack of ruthlessness proved costly as the home side retook the lead in the 57th minute in a shocker.
Cabaye’s floated free-kick was allowed to go all the way through to the back post and Dummett was waiting fire in from close range to the delight of Alan Pardew on the Newcastle bench. It was Dummett’s first goal for the club and it came in front of the famous Gallowgate End.
Liverpool’s mission to equalise for a second time in the game was tough for the away side, with Suarez being denied by Krul after a snap-shot from 20 yards out. However, Newcastle would not hold out and were pegged back again in the 72nd minute.
Victor Moses did well to thread a pass through to Suarez on the left side and the former Ajax man showed the chemistry he has gained with Sturridge by picking the England international out with a fizzing low cross. Sturridge made no mistake with a controlled finish that made it 26 goals in 20 appearances and the momentum was now with the Merseyside team.
They came close to grabbing a winner, but Newcastle had the frame of their goal to thank for sealing a point. Aly Cissokho’s cross from the left was expertly half-volleyed at goal by Suarez, but the ball clipped the top of the crossbar on it’s way over the bar.
The full-time whistle signalled the end of a pulsating game, but neither side will be fully pleased with just a point from this.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)