Rafael Benitez frustrates former club Liverpool with Newcastle draw

Joselu handed Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez a 1-1 draw in a reunion with former club Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.

Published: 02nd October 2017 11:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd October 2017 11:32 AM   |  A+A-

Newcastle United's Joselu celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game against Liverpool during the English Premier League soccer match at St James' Park, Newcastle, England. | AP

By Associated Press

NEWCASTLE: Joselu handed Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez a 1-1 draw in a reunion with former club Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.

The Spanish striker cancelled out Philippe Coutinho's 27th-minute opener to leave Liverpool with only one win in seven matches in all competitions.

Not since Benitez was in charge has Liverpool won major trophies, with the Spaniard delivering the 2005 Champions League and 2006 FA Cup. Liverpool remains without a league title since 1990 and looks no closer to ending that drought this season under Juergen Klopp.

Liverpool slipped to seven points behind Manchester rivals City and United who are setting the pace at the top of the standings. Newcastle is two points behind Liverpool in ninth place.

At times, Liverpool did bristle with attacking intent at St. James' Park with Coutinho orchestrating from deep to allow Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to link with Daniel Sturridge.

Having started brightly, Newcastle found itself having to defend deep and often at full stretch. Skipper Jamaal Lascelles blocked a 16th-minute Sturridge shot after a mesmerizing link-up which started with the striker and also involved Salah, Georginio Wijnaldum and Coutinho.

Mane volleyed wide from a tight angle two minutes later and DeAndre Yedlin had to cover across just in time to dispossess Salah after Sturridge had played Salah in behind Ciaran Clark with 20 minutes gone.

Matt Ritchie had earlier tested Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet with a curling strike, but the visitors came close to an opening goal when Wijnaldum flicked Coutinho's 24th-minute corner against the upright and defender Dejan Lovren saw his follow-up blocked before Mane fired wide.

The pressure eventually told three minutes later when, after Lascelles and Ritchie had only half-cleared their lines, Coutinho worked his way into range before thumping an arcing shot beyond Robert Elliot's despairing dive.

However, the lead lasted just nine minutes, with Jonjo Shelvey's pass opening up Liverpool. Shelvey played Joselu in between central defenders Matip and Lovren and, although the striker dallied, Matip's sliding challenge sent the ball against the striker's shin and inside the post.

The visitors should have restored their lead within five minutes of the restart when Clark's air-shot put Sturridge in on goal, but Elliot blocked the initial shot and Salah blazed wastefully over from the rebound.

Shelvey headed clear after Lovren had helped the ball across goal with 12 minutes remaining and substitutes Dominic Solanke and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both missed the target amid a late flurry, but Mohamed Diame almost snatched victory for the hosts near the end.


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