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Henderson: "The Ball Wasn't the Problem"

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It wasn't a particularly enjoyable day for anyone involved, Jordan Henderson included, and the vice-captain pointed out that while they were able to maintain a majority of possession on the day, it did little to give them an edge.

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Gareth Copley

After a relatively promising week, Liverpool traveled to St. James' Park with hopes of building momentum for what will be a tremendously difficult four-day stretch. Away to Madrid in the Champions League and then Chelsea at home in league will provide the season's biggest challenge to date, and a solid display at Newcastle would have at least given reason for optimism that Liverpool were trending positively after improved performances against Hull City and Swansea in the League Cup.

Unfortunately we got about the exact opposite, with Liverpool looking toothless in attack and, while the drama was drastically reduced, error-prone yet again at the back in conceding the winner. And as vice-captain Jordan Henderson points out, they had plenty of the ball and, theoretically, plenty of opportunities to make something happen going forward. They just didn't:

"It was very disappointing. We came here for confidence and to get a result and we didn't manage to do that, so we're very disappointed. Throughout the game I thought we dominated the ball but we didn't really get in behind them or create many chances. We had one or two through Philippe Coutinho and Martin Skrtel from the corner. But overall, we're disappointed not to get something out of the game.

"I felt as though we started the game well and we quietened the crowd down, kept the ball. But the ball wasn't the problem - we were dominating the game through possession, but it was just getting into that final third and creating an opening. We struggled with that, so we'll have to improve on that and kick on for the next game."

He's not wrong--Stats Zone has Liverpool at nearly 65% possession for the course of the match, which some pointed out during and shortly after the match. But as Henderson points out, that possession was largely sterile, limited to non-threatening areas on the periphery of the final third. Or deeper, as Liverpool's top fifteen passing combinations on the day (again from Stats Zone) involved a member of the back line, with two of the top three between Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren.

More urgency, more creativity, and more cutting edge. Liverpool need it. Badly.