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Newcastle United’s supporters began the day on a protest march calling for owner Mike Ashley to either show some ambition or sell the club to someone who wants to do more than float around in mid-table while using it to advertise their own personal business interests.

They dispersed midway through the afternoon no doubt acknowledging that no matter who runs Newcastle United, no matter the lack of investment in the team and regardless of the board’s popularity, there is nothing like a game against Liverpool to make them forget about wider concerns.

There have been more goals – the four here taking it to 126 – scored in games between Newcastle and Liverpool than any other in the Premier League and this was another dramatic chapter to add to their story. Thrilling football and constant drama played at an exhausting pace, this was an enthralling match that ended yielding a far better point for the home side than the visitors.

Liverpool may well have been happy with a draw before kick-off given the history between these two grand clubs who have spent too long trying to recapture former glories, but they were playing against opponents reduced to 10 men in the first half, who were clinging on for a draw when the final whistle blew.

Liverpool like to think they have emerged as title contenders this season, and there is no doubt there have been vast improvements in Brendan Rodger’s second year as manager, but teams that win the title would be expected to win games like these.

It was two points dropped because those are the high standards Liverpool’s start demands they are judged by now.

“We’re slightly disappointed and frustrated not to have won the game because we were playing against 10 men and we had the chances,” Rodgers said.

“But after an international break and after being behind twice in the game, I think we might look back at this as a good point for us.”

For Newcastle it was a point gained and an important victory of sorts. They were humiliated 6-0 by Liverpool on their last visit to St James’ Park and the manner in which his side fought for each other, and demanded respect from the stands, felt like closure for manager Alan Pardew after memories of that dark, depressing day back in April had inevitably been revived.

“We showed another side to our game which was our resilience and character and that was questioned at the back end of last season,” Pardew said. “We do have that in our group, but we needed to prove it.

“We were carrying some scars getting beat 6-0 off them last time and don’t think that wasn’t in the back of our minds at half-time. We needed to bury that today and I think we did. Our home fans have seen us play well, but we haven’t had to dig in against top teams and done it well, so I think that was important.”

Newcastle probably shaded the first half and took the lead with a wonderful, dipping shot from Yohan Cabaye. It beat Simon Mignolet from 30 yards, but rather than criticise the goalkeeper’s lack of foot movement, it is better to praise the execution of the shot.

“It moved right, left and right again,” Pardew said. “There isn’t a goalkeeper in the world who would save that.”

Most of Liverpool’s threat was coming from set-pieces and Davide Santon cleared a Luis Suárez header off the line, but they were given a huge boost just before the break.

A simple ball over the top appeared to be gathered by Suárez in an offside position, but replays showed the Uruguayan had been played onside by the otherwise excellent Cheick Tiote, who had been slow retreating because of an injury.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa pulled Suárez back inside the area, brought him down and was sent off, the 10 men’s misery completed when Steven Gerrard rolled in his 100th Premier League goal from the spot.

Newcastle did not have a centre-back on the bench, but sent on academy graduate full-back Paul Dummett to play alongside Mike Williamson and he put Newcastle back in front six minutes into the second half after Martin Skrtel had misjudged a header.

Stung, Liverpool responded and Newcastle’s forays forward became increasingly rare. Suárez eventually carved them open, combining with Victor Moses to cross for Daniel Sturridge to equalise with a diving header for his 13th goal in 13 appearances.

Liverpool looked like the only team who would go on to win it, Suárez rattling the crossbar, Sturridge failing to convert Gerrard’s pass. And there were was drama right up to the final whistle when Tim Krul made a superb save to keep out a Suárez free-kick.

“Credit to Newcastle, they were better than us with 11 men but they shot themselves in the foot getting a man sent off,” Gerrard said.

“They clung on in there after that and did well, but we created enough chances to win the game. I’m pleased to have scored my 100th goal, the first one coming all those years ago against Sheffield Wednesday, even if I’d have preferred it to come from open play.”

Match details

Newcastle United (4-1-4-1) Krul 7 Debuchy 7 Mbiwa 5 Williamson Santon 6 Tiote 8 Gouffran 7 Sissoko 6 (Dummett 44), Cabaye 7 (Anita 78), Remy 6, Ben Arfa 5 (Sammy Ameobi 78). Subs Elliot, Cisse, Shola Ameobi, Obertan. Goals Cabaye 23, Dummett 56. Booked Gouffran, Debuchy. Sent off Yanga-Mbiwa.

Liverpool (3-4-1-2) Mignolet 6 Toure 6 Skrtel 6 Sakho 6 (Alberto 63); Johnson 5 (Sterling 83) Gerrard 7 Henderson 6 Cissokho 7 Moses 6 Suarez 7 Sturridge 7. Subs Jones, Agger, Allen, Kelly, Flannagan. Goals Gerrard 43pen, Sturridge 72. Booked Gerrard, Sturridge, Tourée.

Referee A Marriner (West Midlands). Att 51,703.

Source: Telegraph

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