Honours Even As Rafa Holds Former Club

Joselu Grabs Magpies Deserved Point

It was honours even at SJP on Sunday Afternoon in an entertaining game in front of the Sky cameras against Jurgen Klopps talented Liverpool side as Rafa Benitez frustrated his former side.

They had to ride their luck at times but I think in terms of endevour and hard work Newcastle were worthy of a point and with a bit of luck they could even have snook a win towards the end but overall I think a draw was just about a fair result.

It is performances like these that make games like Brighton the week before all the more frustrating - we have to find a way to become more consistent and we have certainly shown that we can get results back at this level.

I was suprised with Rafas decision to start Shelvey and Merino with Hayden dropping to the bench - not in the sense that I dont think those 2 can play together but I thought this was just a risky game to be taking out the more defensive minded Hayden.

Many will say it worked although I would say that both Shelvey and Merino had steady rather than exceptional games. Jonjo does what he does best as his perfect pass set up Joselu for his lucky finish mid way through the first half that cancelled out Coutinhos stunning strike 5 minutes earlier. Other than that though I thought he looked a bit rusty but I suppose that was to be expected following his recent spell on the sidelines.

I was pleased to see Joselu get the goal after a couple of frustrating games for him - yes there was an element of luck as Matip played the ball onto him but sometimes it is a bit of luck like that which can sometimes kick start a striker into a run of form so fingers crossed on that one.

It was a strange game from a Newcastle perspective really that I think highlighted what we are about in the sense that I dont think there were really any standout performers. Everyone had a steady game with Yedlin probably the pick of the bunch for me. His pace is such an asset and he used it to good effect a couple of times covering around for his centre halves.

Liverpool will say they had the better chances and we certainly did have to ride our luck at times with old boy Wijnaldum hitting the woodwork and Elliot making a couple of good stops but I think the fact Liverpool took off probably their 2 most potent players in Salah and Mane as they looked to shake things up kind of shows that they had run out of ideas a bit and I think we have to take some credit for that.

We worked hard and defended with a spirit which I think will earn us plenty of points this season if we keep it up. We just need to show a bit more quality to go with that at times but I think we also have to remember that we were up against a side with a lot of talent in it.

Yes they may be stuttering a touch and it was disappointing to maybe not test their back 5 a bit more as that is clearly their weak link but to face a front 4 of Mane, Salah, Sturridge and Coutinho and see the likes of Firmino come off the bench and come out of the game with a 1-1 draw then I think you have to be fairly happy and I think Rafa was.

So a happy reunion for Rafa who received a lot of love from the whole stadium which must have been a touch surreal and we consolodate our position in mid table with a not too shabby looking 10 points.

There are bigger tests to come for sure but I think if we can mix some good points like this with continuing to beat teams in and around us like we have done so far then we should do ok this season but of course there is a long way to go.

Another internaional break sees us get a bit of a rest before we take another trip back to the South Coast to Southampton which has not been a happy hunting ground for us over the years.

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