Newcastle 0-0 Liverpool: Reds held once again away from home
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Liverpool missed the chance to go five points clear at the helm of the Premier League going into 2021, walking away with a point against Newcastle at St. James' Park.

Newcastle opened brightly and had chances of their own to take the lead through Callum Wilson, but Liverpool will rue big chances missed by each of their front three.

The stalemate was almost became a continuation of the 1-1 draw against West Brom as Newcastle manned the barricades for the second half and challenged Liverpool to break them down. 

The biggest obstacle faced was 'keeper Karl Darlow, who put in a valiant effort and made numerous key interventions throughout the ninety minutes to ensure the Magpies stayed eight points above the drop.

  • Story of the match

Newcastle went against the blueprint from the Baggies and demonstrated a willing to come out and play in the opening stages, Callum Wilson no less testing goalkeeper Alisson on numerous occasions. 

Upon his return to the starting lineup, Wilson stung the Brazilian's gloves with a lofted effort, then making a troubling run after getting the better of Nathaniel Phillips.

The ever-reliable Fabinho typically put the boot in and cleared, but the trajectory of Wilson's subsequent shot would have suggested his fellow countryman between the sticks would have had it covered.

The Reds were able to play a much more on-brand style of football at St. James Park, such was the risk in Newcastle's admirable approach, but done very little with it with tame strikes from James Milner and Trent Alexander-Arnold.  

A well-timed Jordan Henderson ball over the top released Mo Salah, who took a touch but was denied brilliantly by a flailing Karl Darlow in a sequence which seemed to consequentially ignite Liverpool's desire in the half.

Jurgen Klopp's men started to turn on the style with some eye-catching passing sequences and grew in confidence as the half drew to a close, but perhaps their best opportunity to break the deadlock came from in-form Roberto Firmino.

Sadio Mane found his strike partner and the former nodded a powerful header in the direction of a resilient Darlow to parry away. 

Mane himself had an opportunity in similar vein to that of Firmino the other side of the half and put a teasing Trent Alexander-Arnold cross into the side-netting after a vibrant restart for his side.

Fantastic footwork from Liverpool's number 9 in midfield created enough room to find an onrushing Salah, who after adjusting himself, put the ball comfortably wide which at the time was Liverpool's best chance.

The best chance came soon after for Firmino nevertheless, wrestling free in the box and and putting Andy Robertson's cross wide of an empty net.

Liverpool were always coy on a return date for their £25 million summer purchase Thiago Alcantara after a devastating injury in the Merseyside derby, with his manager even stating it was unlikely for him to feature in the game pre-match. 

The Spaniard was brought on in place of James Milner with just under 20 minutes left on the clock and his forward-thinking influence injected a new lease of life into the team, spreading the play into the flanks with first time hits and half-volleys.

Liverpool camped out in the host's half for most of the second period, but Ciaran Clark met Matt Ritchie's enticing ball and forced a good save from Alisson in a rare venture up the park late on. 

Fabian Schar denied Mane a possible winner with a goal-line clearance after Darlow's botched collection of a low cross.

Darlow was called into action once again and had to rach down to yet another Firmino header from a corner, following it up with a strong punch away from goal.

There was nothing doing in the conclusive phases of the game for Liverpool, who now only have one win in their last seven away league games.

Thiago's late introduction was a positive in a game that Liverpool should have walked away with three points and not one, and there was evidence to suggest he just may be the key to unlock the recent formula that has stopped the Anfield side in their tracks.

  • Man of the match- Karl Darlow

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The 30-year-old was simply outstanding for Steve Bruce's side and without him, the Tynesiders would not have got anything from the game.

He has featured heavily after Martin Dubravka's horror heel injury in the summer that only saw the Slovakian be in contention for a start for this game. 

Darlow denied Roberto Firmino a trio of headed opportunities and imposed his physical stature to deter a guilt-edged Mo Salah shot in the first half. 

Other notable contributions from Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez aided in Newcastle's but it will be Darlow who rightfully takes the plaudits. 

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