Second half substitute Ayoze Perez capitalized on a defensive mistake from Alberto Moreno to score the winner and keep up the Magpies’ impressive form.
Both clubs progressed to the quarter-finals of the Capital One cup with midweek wins and there were two much changed sides that lined up in the afternoon kickoff at Tyneside. Newcastle welcomed back first choice goalkeeper Tim Krul while Steven Taylor, Moussa Sissoko also started from the first whistle. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers also made numerous changes and under-fire Italian striker Mario Balotelli was handed a start, with Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling coming back into the side as well.
Newcastle’s new look 4-3-3 along with a compact back four proved the difference as they secured a clinical 1-0 win victory. Moussa Sissoko was the star of the show driving at the Liverpool defence with intent and was a constant menace throughout the game. It was yet another abject display from Liverpool whose superb attacking play of last season seems a distant memory now. The visitors offered almost no threat as Newcastle controlled the game to secure their fourth consecutive win in all competitions.
In the post-match press conference Rodgers said: “It was disappointing. I didn’t think we deserved to lose the game, but we didn’t do enough to win it.We had enough of the ball and good movement in front of the ball, but we just lacked that bit of creativity and invention in the final third of the field.”
“Anything we had to deal with up until the goal, we dealt well with defensively – there were no real issues. But we made a mistake and the mistake, unfortunately, has cost us the game and that’s the biggest disappointment.”
“If you can’t score the goals to win the game, then it’s important that you don’t concede. Up until that point, we were solid defensively.”
“It was unfortunate today – we made a mistake and got punished for it. There’s no magic formula, you’ve just got to keep working well with the players that we’ve got and continue to hope that you get that bit of luck, and that confidence in the final third of the pitch can return.”
Rodgers had his say on why he felt his side haven’t been able to match the kind of goal ratio they set themselves last season.
“Over the last 18 months, we were a team that was a real threat going forward,” said the boss. “We’ve lost probably 80 per cent of our goals out of the team with Luis [Suarez] going and Dan [Sturridge’s injury].We can’t keep going on about it but it is an item as to why we’re not getting so many goals.”
“At the moment, we’re finding the goals a little bit harder to come by, but it’s not through lack of effort. The players are working tirelessly on the training field, working very hard.”
“Last season we scored a lot of early goals and we haven’t been able to do that so much this season. It’s one of a number of reasons.”
He added: “In terms of commitment, my players have 100 per cent commitment to their work and it just wasn’t their day.”
Next up for Liverpool is a trip to Spain to take on Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.