By Arun Nair
Luis Suarez scored a sublime equaliser as Liverpool gained a point from a pulsating encounter against Newcastle at Anfield. Yohan Cabaye had given the Magpies the lead before the break but Suarez pegged the Toon back in the second half, and Newcastle held on despite Fabricio Collocini’s red card in the closing stages.
Liverpool extended their unbeaten run in the league but their customary profligacy cost them as they failed to make the most of long periods of dominance, with Newcastle proving resolute in defence.
The Reds began the game at high tempo, with Raheem Sterling threatening to carve the Magpies open on the wing. The home side continued to pile on the pressure on a Newcastle side who were showing impressive rearguard action to stop Liverpool from getting in behind.
Suarez was indignant that he should have been awarded a penalty when caught by Collocini but was denied by referee Anthony Taylor, before having a shot saved by Tim Krul as the Reds continued to press.
But Newcastle gradually came into the game after the early pressure from the home side and took the lead just before the break. Hatem Ben Arfa evaded Sterling and Jose Enrique before crossing from the byline towards Cabaye, who controlled before rifling a shot past Brad Jones unerringly.
The goal stunned Anfield, but the Reds began the second period in the same vein as the first, keeping the ball and probing for an opening. But their problems in front of goal seemed set to continue after Suarez had a shot saved and Nuri Sahin sent a strike narrowly wide.
However, Liverpool finally breached the Newcastle goal, thanks to a magnificent goal by Suarez. Enrique sent a long ball forward and Suarez, despite seeming second favourite, eluded Steven Taylor, controlled the pass and rounded Krul before poking home.
Suarez seemed to be at the heart of every Liverpool move, and set up sub Jonjo Shelvey after weaving his way past Collocini, but the midfielder could only send a weak effort into the grateful grasp of Tim Krul. The Uruguayan then sent Sterling through but the winger hesitated allowing Taylor to recover and block.
Despite Liverpool’s pressure, Newcastle were still a threat on the counter. Papiss Cisse volleyed wide and Ben Arfa had a shot saved by Jones, as the Magpies threatened to expose the Reds on the break.
Collocini was sent off for a challenge on Suarez but the visitors withstood late pressure to secure a point, while the Reds were left with an increasingly familiar feeling of missed opportunity.