Newcastle 0 - 0 Liverpool
Magpies: Player XX’, Player XX’, Player XX’
Reds: Player XX’, Player XX’, Player XX’
The last match of 2020. A pretty good year for Liverpool, but a pretty shit year for most everything else. So here’s to brighter days. But first, let’s do the business against the Magpies.
The exciting news is that Thiago is fit enough for an appearance on the bench. If he plays, it’ll be his first action since Richarlison’s horror tackle at Goodison. Also returning from injury: James Milner, who is in the starting lineup, and Xherdan Shaqiri, who joins Thiago as an option off the bench.
In the opening 5 minutes, Callum Wilson—who loves a goal against Liverpool—is already showing his danger. An early cross-come-shot forces Alisson to be alert and tip the ball over the bar, and a few minutes later he gets his head to a corner but cannot put it on target.
Liverpool’s passing is less-than-sharp in the opening stages. In fact, Alisson nearly sells out Milner with a poor ball when attempting to play through the press. Milner’s last ditch intervention stops Newcastle from getting in on goal.
A scary moment for Robertson, who takes a knock from a coming together in the Liverpool box. He limps off, and is unavailable to defend the ensuing corner, but he’s back a moment later. And sprinting with the ball about 70 yards a moment after that.
Trent Alexander-Arnold just made a pass that I can’t even comprehend, springing Sadio Mané down on the opposite flank. Mané probably should have done better with it, and the same goes for Mohamed Salah. The ball eventually ends up back with Trent, but he can only manage a weak shot that doesn’t really test the keeper.
Robbo and Roberto Firmino nearly scored the identical goal from 10 days ago against Palace, but Bobby’s first touch was no where near as sublime as on that day, and the opportunity was wasted.
A couple of minutes later, Mo is played in with a perfect chipped ball over the top. The keeper just manages to get a hand to his delicate finish, tipping it around the bar.
Liverpool have really turned it on in the last 15 minutes of the half. It’s still knotted at zeroes at the half, but Liverpool have gotten in behind quite a few times as legs began to tire. Hopefully this is a prelude to a goal or three, and not another game where we’ll regret the missed opportunities.
Fabinho goes into the book for a very worthy yellow. The Brazilian impeded Yedlin’s run, resulting in the caution and a free kick from a dangerous spot. Thankfully nothing came from it.
I don’t know what Kloppo told the lads at halftime, but surely it’s not this. Liverpool have looked downright bad in the opening 15 minutes of the second half. The lads look tired and disjointed after the break.
Now it’s Milner’s time for his customary yellow, this time for a very late challenge (that also prevented a counter). Professional, through and through.
Oh, Mo. Liverpool finally manage to do a good thing this half, after Bobby beats a defender, and puts it on a plate for the Egyptian. Unfortunately, he fires just wide of the target.
Klopp makes the first change of the evening, and it’s not the midfielder that we all hoped for, but probably the one we need: Gini Wijnaldum. He replaces Curtis Jones, who hasn’t had one of his better outings tonight.
A few minutes later, the man we’ve all been waiting for, Thiago comes on for James Milner.
Alisson is called into service for the first time tonight, and he comes up big! The Brazilian goalkeeper is quick to get down and save a free header off of a Newcastle set piece.
Yet another huge chance left wanting! This time there’s a goal line scramble, and Sadio just can’t quite poke it over the line. Ghaaa!
It was just one of those nights where the goal seemed to have a damned force field over it. So frustrating. At least Thiago looked great. Hopefully we get to see much more of him this season.
Also: get fucked, 2020.