London: Liverpool came back from a goal down to salvage a point against Newcastle on Sunday, extending the Magpies` 18-year wait for a win at Anfield.
After the opening stages the smart money would have been on a home win, the Reds controlling proceedings with ease, but after taking their foot off the pedal Yohan Cabaye opened the scoring just before the break in wonderful style. However, an equally if not more spectacular effort from Luis Suarez earned the hosts a point in the second half.
Brendan Rodgers reverted back to the same starting line-up that drew with Everton in their last league game, with Steven Gerrard making his 600th appearance for the club. The visitors made three changes from their last tie with Papiss Cisse, Vurnon Anita and Steven Taylor all returning.
Raheem Sterling was the main protagonist in a bright start from the hosts, the winger nipping past Anita on two occasions in the opening ten minutes as he caused the Magpies problems. The away side held firm, though, with the Reds failing to actually pose any real goal threat - the one exception was Suarez being denied a good chance when Fabricio Coloccini slid in to block, though the striker believed he should have had a penalty.
Tim Krul was finally tested with 20 minutes gone. Nuri Sahin played in Suarez with a neat ball with the striker`s low effort forcing the Magpies keeper into a fine save with his feet. The Uruguayan went close again ten minutes later when he headed just over after a magnificent diagonal ball from Gerrard.
Pardew`s men offered barely any resistance as the Merseyside outfit were comfortable yet uninspiring, aside from the odd moment of brilliance from Suarez and one skillful run and shot from Suso, which deflected over for a corner.
However, with 43 minutes elapsed, Cabaye gave the visitors the lead in superb fashion. Andre Wisdom`s foul throw ceded possession and Ben Arfa beat former Magpie Jose Enrique with a lovely piece of skill, before clipping a cross to the Frenchman, who controlled the ball and slammed a half volley past Brad Jones.
Mirroring the first half, the Reds came back out on top. Ten minutes in, Suarez forced Krul into a diving save with a curling effort. The forward then turned provider as he slotted in Sahin whose shot deflected wide. Rodgers` men showed no signs of halting their dominance in possession, shots, corners et al, but still struggled to find a way through the opposing defence.
But, as is so often the case, a moment of magic from Suarez finally brought the Reds level. Enrique sent a long, hopeful ball up field with the attacker lurking by Coloccini`s side, the 25-year-old outpaced his man before bringing it down with his shoulder in breathtaking style, then rounding Krul and passing into the empty net.
More persistence and determination saw the forward break free of Coloccini on the right-flank, before somehow getting the ball across to Jonjo Shelvey. The substitute had the goal at his mercy but just couldn`t connect properly.
As the atmosphere at Anfield launched into full flow with 20 minutes left, the game also livened up and became more open. Sterling was denied a sure goal by a brilliant recovery tackle from Taylor, with Ben Arfa then seeing his effort saved by Jones.
The drama wasn`t isolated to chances alone, with around five minutes left Coloccini saw red for a very late challenge on Suarez, the defender sending his studs into his opponents leg well after he had shifted the ball on.
The Reds tried to take advantage of the extra man, Shelvey wasting two good chances to win it late on and a deflected Suarez free kick nearly evaded everyone in comical style, just bouncing over the bar. However the Magpies continued to work even harder and held on to a vital point.
First Published: Monday, November 05, 2012, 08:29