Premier Analysis: Ayoze the hero again as Magpies scrap to fourth straight success
Far from a classic in the lunchtime kick-off at St James’ Park, but Toon fans won’t care a jot as Alan Pardew – ‘back from the dead’ as one banner suggested – savoured a fourth consecutive success and third in the league to temporarily lift his team up to 9th in the table, 11th by the day's end.
"Bobby Robson said the highs are massive and the lows equally as low," the 53-year-old said. "He needed a tin hat at times and I need a tin hat at times. But when the good times come, this is as good a city to be in as any."
No fixture in Premier League history has produced more goals than games between Liverpool and Newcastle (129). That tally didn’t look like being extended in a scrappy first 45 minutes that produced 1 shot on target; Glen Johnson clearing Papiss Cisse's effort off the goal-line.
Liverpool have scored more goals against Newcastle in the Premier League (84) than versus any other opponent, but the Reds fashioned just 1 opportunity before the break; Martin Skrtel heading wide.
Brendan Rodgers’ men enjoyed the lion’s share of first-half possession (65%) yet of the 255 passes they completed, a paltry 12% of them were in the attacking third of the pitch.
The Merseysiders fared little better in the second half on their way to a third game in four outings without finding the back of the net. And they were undone by a mistake as the Toon made their 10th effort of the contest count. Alberto Moreno’s heavy touch inside the danger zone was gobbled up by Ayoze Perez, the man apparently courted by Barcelona and Real Madrid scoring for the second weekend in a row.
Liverpool laboured as their run of netting in 18 consecutive Premier League away games came to an end, creating just 3 chances from open play all afternoon and caught offside on 7 occasions.
They were perhaps unfortunate to be playing against 11 men for so long. The tackles flew in at St James’ Park, 65 of them between the two teams with Liverpool winning 29/33.
On another day, with a less lenient referee, both Moussa Sissoko and Daryl Janmaat may have seen red for their challenges on Joe Allen and Mario Balotelli respectively.
"It's a game we had almost full control of," Rodgers told BT Sport. "Maybe we didn't create as many opportunities as we would like, but we get punished buy a mistake and it's cost us the game.
"I think we passed the ball well, the options in front of the ball were good, but we probably lacked that little bit of quality in the final third."
- Premier League matches between Newcastle and Liverpool have produced more goals than any other PL fixture (130). Indeed, there has never been a goalless draw in this fixture in Premier League.
- Newcastle have won 3 and lost just 1 of the last 5 home games against the Reds in the Premier League.
- After failing to score in his first 9 appearances (all competitions) for Newcastle, Ayoze Perez has netted 2 in his last 2.
- Liverpool have kept just 2 clean sheets in their last 16 Premier League games.
- Newcastle (35.6%) registered their lowest possession figure in a Premier League home match since they hosted Manchester City in October 2008 (28.6%).
- Liverpool have failed to score on the road for the first time since November 2013 (vs Arsenal), ending a run of 18 consecutive Premier League games in which they netted.
- Mario Balotelli has now gone 689 minutes since his last goal in the Premier League.
- Newcastle have won 3 consecutive Premier League games for the first time since November 2013, when they won 4 in a row.