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Season 2018-19
Liverpool (a) Premier League


Wednesday 26th December 2018, 3.00pm.


Conditions: Futile

Admission: £30

Programme: £3.50


Newcastle United

4 - 0




11mins Andy Robertson's speculative cross from the left flank towards the back post was headed out weakly by Jamaal Lascelles and smashed home by Lovren in front of the Kop. 0-1

Half time: Liverpool 1 Newcastle 0

47 mins Paul Dummett placed one hand on the arm of Mo Salah as he dashed into the Newcastle area from the right flank. The pole-axed striker miraculously regained his footing to slot home the resultant penalty - although Dubravka wasn't far away from blocking it, diving low to his right 0-2

79 mins
Henderson and Alexander-Arnold were both involved in a short spell of pressure that saw the ball ping round our box until the unmarked Shaqiri rammed home a close range shot. 0-3

85 mins
Salah turned provider, sending over a corner that substitute Fabinho was able to head home with ease. 0-4

Full time:
Liverpool 4 Newcastle 0

We Said


Rafa Benitez:

"Against a very good team, you have to take the few chances that you have. We didnít do it - and then we paid for our mistakes. We have too many games and we needed fresh legs. 

"We needed to be sure the game plan could be right and I think we had the energy to do what we wanted. You could see the first half it was there but it wasnít enough.

"Obviously, we play against a very good team but there are two key moments in the game: the first goal - we made a mistake, and the second goal - a soft penalty that gave them control. For us, it was very difficult to react.

"The soft penalty in the game made the difference, we were in the game 1-0 at half-time, but when we conceded the second goal it was more difficult for us to react against a very good team.

"The second goal was crucial, it gave them more confidence and was more difficult for us, you have to take more risks, be more open then you make more mistakes and pay for that."

On Longstaff:

"For him, it will be good memories and bad memories. Good - because itís his debut, at Anfield, in a great atmosphere. Bad - because we lost the game. 

"But heís a nice lad, a good professional, a good player - and he has a great future ahead of him.Ē

On new signings:

"I was talking with Lee Charnley and still I have the same feeling: that it will not be easy."

On support for him in the closing stages from all four sides of the ground:

"I have to say thank you very much to our fans, the Newcastle United fans Ė and also to the Liverpool fans. My relationship with the city, the fans and the club is fantastic and will be fantastic forever.Ē

PL debutant Sean Longstaff added:

"Itís something Iíve dreamt of since I was a young kid and to hear the away end chanting my name is unbelievable*. Iím a bit lost for words really."

* Lobby was serenaded with choruses of "he's one of our own" and "if Longstaff scores, we're on the pitch."

They Said


Celebrating a century of wins in all competitions as Liverpol boss, Jurgen Klopp commented: 

"When we had the ball, after the first 15 minutes, we were good Ė one-twos, good finishes. We lost the formation a little bit, we were too wide offensively. If we could play the ball in behind it was good, but if they could clear it with a header then we were not there to win the ball back formation-wise. 1-0, a fantastic goal, quick in mind; again it was off a set-piece, which is brilliant. 

"A fantastic cross and then a good reaction from pretty much everybody in the box, then a fantastic finish from Dejan. I was really happy about half-time: we could adjust a few things and go back to the way we actually wanted to play. 

"That made life easier, especially after we scored with the penalty in minute 47 Ė pretty early in the second half. Then we controlled the game, which was good. We scored wonderful goals again, set-pieces fantastic. A pretty perfect day for us; not a perfect performance, but a really good performance. Result-wise and a lot of parts of the performance, really good.

"Weíve played three times in a row now against a team with five at the back, but all of them organised it differently. That makes it pretty difficult. Today for example, Newcastle had two strikers but they were pretty deep and what we did in the first half, we protected them with the two sixes instead of with the two centre-halves, so that means they cut off four players. 

"We had six players offensively, thatís why we didnít win the balls back as quick as we should. Thatís football. If you are 2-0 up then you have to control the game, thatís how it always is. In the past we became, I wouldnít say sloppy, but we lost concentration. That doesnít help, obviously. 

"Now we are much more awake, we control it in a better way, we switch sides, we still prepare and create Ė not as many as maybe would be possible, but still enough Ė and we score goals. If you are Newcastle and you come here and are three-nil down, that is not a trigger for a big fightback. 

"We were too strong for that today and it then makes life a bit easier for these few seconds or minutes in the game, but thatís all. 

"Until we were there, it was really intense and we had to put in everything weíve got.

On the six point margin between leaders Liverpool and second-placed Spurs: 

(The gap) means nothing. It's important how many points we have, not the others, because what is six points? It's nothing. We have to play them still, they are all strong, we have to play all of them again.

On the 83rd minute cheers when news that Manchester City were losing spread:

ďNo, I thought it was because of us! Iím really naive, I thought that is really nice, thank you very much! Obviously nobody told our crowd that Tottenham won 5-0.

"It is fine, atmosphere for Boxing Day, people coming from all over, around the world to watch, the atmosphere was really good and exceptional in that moment. But I thought it was because of us!"


In the bleak mid-season
(NUFC last ten PL seasons after nineteen games):

2018/19: 17 points, 15th (scored 14, conceded 26)
2017/18: 18 points, 15th (scored 19, conceded 29)
2015/16: 17 points, 18th (scored 19, conceded 34)
2014/15: 26 points, 9th (scored 22, conceded 28)
2013/14: 33 points, 8th (scored 29, conceded 24)
2012/13: 20 points, 15th (scored 23, conceded 30)
2011/12: 30 points, 7th (scored 26, conceded 25)
2010/11: 22 points, 13th (scored 28, conceded 29)
2008/09: 22 points, 12th (scored 25, conceded 27)
2007/08: 26 points, 11th (scored 26, conceded 29)

Newcastle have now gone 23 games since their last victory at Anfield; the 1-0 League Cup win back in November 1995. Today was the nineteenth defeat and there have been four draws, during which time we've scored 19 times but conceded no less than 58.

This was the first time that Newcastle have lost by four clear goals since a 1-5 defeat at Chelsea in February 2016 that hastened the demise of Steve McClaren.

Having featured in the League Cup earlier this season, Sean Longstaff became the 229th different player to represent United in the Premier League - and the first locally-born debutant since Jamie Sterry in May 2016.

Magpies @ Anfield: Premier League era:

2018/19: Lost 0-4
2017/18: Lost 0-2
2015/16: Drew 2-2 Cisse, Colback
2014/15: Lost 0-2
2013/14: Lost 1-2 og(Skrtel)
2012/13: Drew 1-1 Cabaye
2011/12: Lost 1-3 og(Agger)
2010/11: Lost 0-3
2008/09: Lost 0-3
2007/08: Lost 0-3
2006/07: Lost 0-2
2005/06: Lost 0-2
2004/05: Lost 1-3 Kluivert
2003/04: Drew 1-1 Ameobi
2003/04: Lost 1-2 Robert (FAC)
2002/03: Drew 2-2 Speed, Shearer
2001/02: Lost 0-3
2000/01: Lost 0-3
1999/00: Lost 1-2 Shearer
1998/99: Lost 2-4 Solano, Andersson
1997/98: Lost 0-1
1996/97: Lost 3-4 Gillespie, Asprilla, Barton
1995/96: Lost 3-4 Ferdinand, Ginola, Asprilla
1995/96: Won 1-0 Watson (LC)
1994/95: Lost 0-2
1993/94: Won 2-0 Lee, Cole

This was our heaviest defeat at Anfield since a 0-4 First Division reverse in December 1987
The last time we conceded four goals to the Reds was their 6-0 romp at SJP in April 2013.

NUFC Boxing Day Record - last 20:

2018/19: Liverpool (a) lost 0-4
2016/17: Sheffield Wednesday (h) lost 0-1
2015/16: Everton (h) lost 0-1
2014/15: Manchester United (a) lost 1-3
2013/14: Stoke City (h) won 5-1
2012/13: Manchester United (a) lost 3-4
2011/12: Bolton Wanderers (a) won 2-0
2010/11: Manchester City (h) lost 1-3
2009/10: Sheffield Wednesday (a) drew 2-2
2008/09: Wigan Athletic (a) lost 1-2
2007/08: Wigan Athletic (a) lost 0-1
2006/07: Bolton Wanderers (a) lost 1-2
2005/06: Liverpool (a) lost 0-2
2004/05: Blackburn Rovers (a) drew 2-2
2003/04: Leicester City (a) drew 1-1
2002/03: Bolton Wanderers (a) lost 3-4
2001/02: smoggies (h) won 3-0
2000/01: Leeds United (h) won 2-1
1999/00: Liverpool (h) drew 2-2
1998/99: Leeds United (h) lost 0-3

Today was Newcastle's heaviest Boxing Day defeat since a 0-4 reverse at SJP against Everton on December 26th 1986. That was also 1-0 to the opposition at half time.





With predecessors Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Alan Shearer in attendance, Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez saw his side eclipsed by the league leaders at Anfield in the sunshine on Boxing Day.

Despite being unbeaten in their last four away games, neither the margin nor the manner of our latest defeat here were unexpected - a less-than-full-strength Liverpool side expending minimum effort in making it 30 PL home games uneaten and inflicting the heaviest defeat of Rafa's reign.

With Ki Sungyeung off with South Korea ahead of next month's Asian Cup, Isaac Hayden made only a second start of the season, while Yoshino Muto was preferred to Ayoze Perez in the starting lineup before he links up with Japan next week for the same international tournament.

Out went Javier Manquillo, Fabian Schaar and Christian Atsu in favour of DeAndre Yedlin, Federico Fernandez and Kenedy, while Ciaran Clark and Jonjo Shelvey weren't fit enough to travel.

Benitez also chose to leave Salomon Rondon on the bench and start with Joselu, who really should have done much better than head into the turf and wide when Matt Ritchie supplied a peach of a cross from the left flank on eight minutes.

That miss almost instantly proved costly, the hosts taking the lead just three minutes later.

An aimless headed clearance from Jamaal Lascelles was dispatched without ceremony by Dejan Lovren into the top left corner of the goal, the rising shot giving Martin Dubravka no chance.

The black and whites battled gamely for the rest of the first half but other than a 23rd minute Ritchie shot that flew narrowly wide, an equaliser never looked likely.

Dubrakva did well to tip over a free kick from Xherdan Shaqiri just before the interval, but within two minutes of the restart our exercise in damage limitation was over thanks to a soft referee and the Egyptian equivalent of Steven Taylor.

Mo Salah tumbled over under the slightest contact from Paul Dummett in the box and was indulged with the award of a penalty by whistler Graham Scott. TV replays showed that the defender placed a hand on the arm of the attacker, who theatrically went over and got up to score from the spot.

While the play-acting was annoying and the goal that followed ended the game as a competitive fixture, the most regrettable aspect of the incident was the meek acceptance of the decision by every visiting player. (Dummett did speak to Salah after the final whistle, but looked to have swapped shirts with him rather than questioned his parentage or offered him out.....) 

From then on, it was just a case of how many the Reds would score to dent our goal difference and improve their own position at the other end of the table. 

There was another off-target Joselu header but it was almost all one-way traffic, the hosts netting another twice and coming mightily close to at least one more. Our only response was a shot from debutant Sean Longstaff after he patiently waited for a chance to arise.  

Xherdan Shaqiri made it 0-3 with an easy tap-in following Trent Alexander-Arnold's cross before Fabinho headed in a Salah corner to complete the misery five minutes from the final whistle.

That fourth goal came 90 seconds after the loudest cheers of the afternoon and the only time that home fans became animated - as news spread of title rivals Manchester City losing at Leicester.

Longstaff had come off the bench; the Tynesider receiving a good welcome and backing from the away contingent (including proud dad David). However Lobby's arrival could be interpreted as an attempt by his exasperated boss to once again highlight the shortcomings of his squad.

Mike Ashley may hide behind a takeover bid to deprive Rafa of any transfer funds in January but the price any new owners are willing to pay will plummet if the required action doesn't follow next month - a false economy and another unnecessary gamble for the man current on vacation in the USA.

Elsewhere on Boxing Day, Cardiff City and Fulham both drew but Huddersfield Town and Burnley lost heavily, leaving United in 15th position and five points clear of the bottom three.

Asked after the game about squad strengthening, Rafa's answers were both brief and worrying: "no" when asked if any transfers were imminent and "yes" when asked if that situation concerned him.

He's not the only one. 



This report is dedicated to lifelong fan Brian Paull, 
who unexpectedly passed away on Christmas Eve.
A Magpie for 66 years, he's pictured with son David.


Page last updated 27 December, 2018