The Warm Down: Karl Darlow's super display awards Newcastle a point against Liverpool 
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 30: Karl Darlow of Newcastle United looks on as he warms up prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St. James' Park on December 30, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Scott Heppell - Pool/Getty Images)

For a 0-0 the game had a bit of flair in it. Karl Darlow was again super for Newcastle United. With seven world-class saves keeping the Magpies in the game and securing a point to end 2020. Darlows one on one save from Mohamed Salah in the first half will get a shout for save of the season.

Liverpool had the majority of the ball and possession in a typical hide ten men behind the ball and defend for your lives performance, despite the positive start and the first half resilience it never really looked like Newcastle would pick up the three points.

Newcastle's defence played well

Despite the lack of possession, two real changes, and Liverpool having seven clear cut chances Steve Bruce's men played well.

The back five definitely deserve a lot of credit with Ciaran ClarkFabian Schär and Federico Fernandez covering each other smartly. Schär deserves a shout out with an acrobatic goal-line clearance to stop Sadio Mané having a certain tap in. 

Both wing-backs in Matt Ritchie and DeAndre Yedlin helping stop Liverpool's full-back danger as both Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold did not create a chance from open play. 

The main plaudits have got to go Karl Darlow. Again the number one kept Newcastle in the game. Darlow has been brilliant this season with a 71 per cent save percentage the top among the Premier League goalkeepers. 

The question around the league should be when will Gareth Southgate take a look?

Callum Wilson worked hard

Bruce kept Callum Wilson out of the Manchester City game to keep him fit for this game and crucial fixtures down the line. It has worked out as Wilson was all over the place all game. 

Especially in the first half when matched up against Nathaniel Phillips which saw Wilson get on the other side of the youngster repeatedly. 

In the second half, his opportunities dried up but the English international kept his runs wide doing the dirty striker jobs, being Newcastles second-best player on the pitch.

Does Steve Bruce deserve credit? 

In short, yes.  In the long no. 

The Magpies hosted the league champions with a plan. It didn't go wrong, so it looked great. A back five with four big physical and energetic midfielders and Wilson up front running about. This worked because as soon as the ball is lost, the team is into that shape immediately and working the press well with someone always filling in. 

Liverpool were wasteful with their opportunities with Mohammed Salah thrice having the opportunity to give the Reds the lead. In the second half, the shooting attempts dried up and the lads looked happy to settle for a point. Plan A worked, Steve Bruce gets the credit. 

Some Bruce doubters might say plan A did not work and it was yet again individual performances that earned Newcastle the point tonight. 

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