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Luis Suarez upstaged Steven Gerrard on a landmark day for the Liverpool captain as he underlined his value to Brendan Rodgers’s side once again, netting the equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
Gerrard became only the 10th player to make 600 appearances for the club but it was the 25-year-old Uruguay international who stole the show against Newcastle, who finished with 10 men after Fabricio Coloccini was sent off late on.
With Liverpool trailing to Yohan Cabaye’s fine strike late in the first half, Suarez produced a brilliant equaliser – his seventh goal in nine Barclays Premier League matches – but just could not inspire his team to victory.
He did, at least, preserve Liverpool’s impressive unbeaten home record against the Magpies which was extended to 18 Premier League matches – 15 of which were wins.
It would have been harsh had Newcastle ended that run as Liverpool spent 43 minutes dominating the match, only to be caught with a sucker punch just before half-time.
In the first-half Liverpool forced a succession of corners and saw shots from Suso and Raheem Sterling either deflected wide or just off target, while Suarez curled a free-kick just wide.
Tim Krul made his first save of note from Suarez after Suso and Nuri Sahin had combined to set him racing down the right, and the striker also headed wide from Gerrard’s cross.
Such was Liverpool’s dominance and confidence Gerrard chanced a 60-yard free-kick in an attempt to catch Krul off his line but it dropped just over – unlike Xabi Alonso’s effort from inside his own half which beat Magpies keeper Steve Harper on this ground in 2006.
Newcastle struck against the run of play when Andre Wisdom was penalised for a foul throw deep in enemy territory. The Magpies swiftly transferred the ball to their right to isolate Hatem Ben Arfa against former Newcastle defender Jose Enrique.
The Frenchman made a thrilling run to the byline and crossed to the far post where Cabaye controlled and smashed a superb half-volley past Brad Jones, becoming the first Newcastle player to score at Anfield since Patrick Kluivert in December 2004.
Demba Ba’s failure to last more than five minutes of the second half was something of a bonus for Liverpool, and the home side responded by picking up the tempo.
Just before the hour Suarez’s shot was turned around the post by Krul, with Sahin’s strike bouncing just past the same upright soon after.
Newcastle were restricted to counterattacks and one could have resulted in a penalty when Martin Skrtel challenged Ba’s replacement Sammy Ameobi, but referee Taylor judged it fair as Ameobi appeared to stand on the ball rather than being felled by the defender.
For all Rodgers’s insistence on short, passing football, the equaliser came from a 50-yard ball out of defence by Enrique. However, to say it owed a lot to Suarez’s brilliance would be an understatement.
The Uruguay striker, running at full tilt under pressure from Coloccini, controlled the ball on his shoulder, brought it down and quickly side-stepped Krul to roll it into the net.
Once again Suarez had ignited Liverpool and when he cut in from the right byline soon afterwards, substitute Jonjo Shelvey could not get enough on the ball to divert it into the net.
Another Liverpool mistake, this time from Enrique, sent Ameobi racing clear but with a two-man overload down Newcastle’s right, Ben Arfa shot tamely at Jones.
However, Newcastle captain Coloccini put his side under pressure when he was sent off for a foul on Suarez with six minutes to go and Suarez continued to threaten, hitting a deflected free-kick which bounced freakishly on to the bar in the last minute of added time.
|11 Nov 2012||v Chelsea (A)|
|17 Nov 2012||v Wigan (H)|
|25 Nov 2012||v Swansea (A)|
|28 Nov 2012||v Spurs (A)|
|01 Dec 2012||v Southampton (H)|
|09 Dec 2012||v West Ham (A)|