Before today, did anyone think Newcastle was going to beat Liverpool? No, nobody thought that. I’m guessing even Newcastle players didn’t think that because if they did, Steve McLaren wouldn’t have had to hire a motivational speaker for the players. Whether it was the motivational speaker or Liverpool having to come off of a Capital Cup game and look forward to their final Europa League group stage game, but Newcastle defended their home and got three big points in a 2-0 win.
In terms of the table, Liverpool falls down to 7th, in a tie with West Ham for 6th. Liverpool is now six points back of Manchester United for 4th. Newcastle passes their derby rival Sunderland to move to 18th, in a tie with Norwich and Bournemouth to get out of the relegation zone. Newcastle sits two points behind Chelsea for 14th place.
In the game, Newcastle played to their game plan and stuck with it. They kept their defensive shape and completely covered the middle of the defensive third. Christian Benteke couldn’t do anything and his only chance he got was a shot from two yards out that went over the crossbar. Even though Liverpool had the ball for almost 60% of the game, they never really had a legitimate sniff at the goal.
Newcastle kept things nice and tight and when they had their moment, they attacked. In the 69th minute, Georginio Wijnaldum, while almost screwing up, kept control of the ball and took a hopeful shot on Simon Mignolet. Martin Skrtel knocked the ball into his own net and Newcastle was up 1-0.
As Newcastle landed the first metaphorical punch that knocked Liverpool to the ground, the visitors had to reach down for something. In the play that will be talked about most, Alberto Moreno seemed to score a beautiful goal but was ruled offside. Replay showed that there was no debate, Moreno was onside. While they didn’t necessarily play as if they earned the three points, Liverpool was certainly robbed of an equalizer here.
As the game went toward its conclusion, Liverpool had no choice to attack. This led to Newcastle taking advantage o fht elack of defending and Wijnaldum finished it up to get Newcastle the points.
For Liverpool, this probably definitely came as a shock to everybody. From the players to the coaching staff to the fans and the media, they didn’t expect a 6-1 win over Southampton in the Capital One Cup Wednesday to a 2-0 loss to Newcastle today. There were many variables that contributed to this result, but maybe it’s best to call this a dose of reality and maybe everyone will fall back down to earth after the “magic” of Jurgen Klopp lofted many people’s expectations. Don’t get me wrong, things have been better for that team since Jurgen Klopp became manager and this result doesn’t change a thing, but maybe people can hold off on the title talk under Liverpool can get up to and in the top four.
We’re now entering a month that will result in constant change throughout the table and points picked up and lost, whether deserved or undeserved, by every team in the EPL. This game today, and really the weekend at large, is only the beginning.