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Season 2023-24
Liverpool (a) Premier League


Monday 1st January 2024, 8pm
Live on Sky Sports


Conditions: Congested






4 - 2





(22 mins Mo Salah penalty saved)

Half time: Liverpool 0 Newcastle 0

49 mins
Trent Alexander Arnold played a forward pass from deep in his own box to Darwin Nunez on the Liverpool right, who got ahead of Sven Botman to turn the ball infield to Dominik Szoboszlai. His first touch took him clear of Anthony Gordon and tempted Dan Burn towards him as he advanced.

Playing the ball over halfway to Luis Diaz on the left, he headed infield when nearing the Newcastle area, skipping over Burn's attempted challenge and finding the unattended Nunez on the right hand side of the box. He drilled a low pass across goal for Mo Salah to tuck him from six yards out.

54 mins Burn's pass down the left touchline was picked up on halfway by Gordon, who easily eluded the half-hearted efforts of Szoboszlai and Alexander Arnold as he sped forward. Threading a precise pass into the path of Alexander Isak in the left channel, the striker took a touch and clipped his shot into the far side of the Kop End goal as Virgil van Dijk caught up with him. 1-1

74 mins A similar finish to the Liverpool opener saw Curtis Jones net after Salah raced in from the right and slipped a pass to Jota, who turned the ball across goal. 1-2

78 mins
Salah again got the better of Burn on the Liverpool right and centred for an offside-looking Cody Gakpo to almost apologetically net with a mishit shot from inside the six yard box. 1-3

81 mins Tino Livarmento's pass to Sean Longstaff on the right hand side of the Liverpool area saw him turn and try a cross that van Dijk blocked for a corner. Longstaff took that and Sven Botman soared above the grounded Diogo Jota and plant a header into the far side of the net. 2-3

86 mins
Mac Allister's ball from inside his own half bisected Jamaal Lascelles and Fabian Schar and gave Jota a free run into the box. Taking the ball round Dubravka, the substitute opted to throw himself over in an exaggerated gesture to win a penalty rather than score; VAR improbably agreeing.

This time Salah placed his spot kick to Dubravka's right as the 'keeper went left - as he had in the first half. His 151st Premier League goal was his eighth against Newcastle - and Dubravka. 2-4

Full time:
Liverpool 4 Newcastle 2

We Said


Eddie Howe said:

A lot happened. Action packed game. We're disappointed with the way we defended.

"I didn't think the second one was a penalty. And I did think Sean Longstaff's one before that was.

"It shouldn't be given. Martin
(Dubravka) has pulled his hand away. He's had two steps before going down. For me it's not a penalty. Even the first one the contact was so minimal. We feel hard done by.

"We�re disappointed with the way we defended, especially the last two goals and the build up to them, but I didn�t think the second one was a penalty and I thought Sean Longstaff�s one was, just before that incident.

"You have to have the mindset that you�ve got to create your luck yourself. Feeling hard done-by or feeling negative emotions or sorry for yourself never has any positive outcomes, so we�ll look at ourselves as well and what we can improve. 

"It wasn�t a perfect performance for us. I thought the lads gave everything. Physically we committed to the game and Liverpool played very well.

"I don't necessarily think we were open. It doesn't help when you concede two penalties, the xG of the penalties itself is huge, two penalties one that I didn't think was and the other was very soft.

"Of course there are other moments where we didn't defend well enough. They had a lot of long shots as well. It's difficult for me to comment now, I'd have to watch it back, but they are a team who examine you in every way. You know you're going to come under pressure and will concede chances, but I need to reflect on those moments.

"There's more to it because people will naturally look at the goalkeeper and the back four but it's the whole team functioning well and I don't want to sit and make excuses because you'll be tired of writing it but we do have half our team out and that's the reality That will make a difference. Today, how many attacking players could I change in running? It's a difficult situation.

"I don't think we were as good as we wanted to be with the ball. We gave the ball away under pressure too much and the times we were good enough to play around their press we did give them problems. 

"We scored two goals at one of the toughest places to play in the Premier League, we'd have taken that before the game. Our defensive performance needed to be better to win the game.

"We have to do everything we can to protect that confidence so that is why I think we need not to over dramatise things. It was a really good performance from Liverpool, they made it very difficult for us - we did well to come in 0-0. 

"I can always see the light at the end of the tunnel as long as the players give me everything they�ve got because I know we�ve got the quality. But we had a lot of quality that was not here today.�

On absent duo Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier:

"In the last game
(versus Nottingham Forest) they both picked up injuries. I don't think they're too serious. Our schedule was that we were playing every three days; it was a really difficult month and we've had to protect the players that we've got.

They Said



"It was a sensational game from my team. We started extremely lively. Everyone saw Dubravka or we ourselves made sure the score didn't get too clear.

"I loved so many aspects bar the goals we conceded. Unbelievable game. Unbelievable atmosphere. Counter-pressing-wise it was for football schools. They have to watch that, take it and keep it. It was everything good.

(Salah) is a goalscoring machine. It would have helped if he�d scored the first pen but he will never stop doing these things. He is extremely special. Darwin had a couple of chances too. A long wait for VAR, all tight decisions. But a special game, a special night.

"The show must go on. We now have five or six days so three training days. It will change the world from a freshness point of view. Dominik Szoboszlai with a hamstring, we hope not too serious. Other players felt it as well. It�s super intense. But there�s no alternative if you want to win football games.

"Darwin (Nunez)? I don�t really know what you are talking about. Of course he is not happy that he is not scoring. He was on the bench, involved. Nail-biting. The boys have to do a lot of stuff. 

"It was the right decision to bring Darwin today because he kept
(Sven) Botman and (Fabian) Schar together, allowed us to do things elsewhere. If we hadn�t used him they might have got forward. We needed him. Darwin will score. 

"The only problem: if the public wouldn�t watch us it would be all fine. He is all good. Social media, questions, that disturbs slightly. But we get that, nobody has to worry about Darwin. He decided the game with an incredible unselfish pass to Mo.�


Newcastle made their 28th fruitless attempt to win at Anfield since a 1-0 League Cup success in November 1995. Those 28 games consist of 22 PL losses, five PL draws and one FA Cup defeat.

Seven of our starting XI tonight weren't born on the night Steve Watson scored that goal. 

Liverpool are now unbeaten in their last 15 PL home and away games against United (11 defeats and four draws) and this victory completed a third successive PL win double for the Reds. Their most recent defeat was at SJP in December 2015, a 2-0 victory for the Magpies. Paul Dummett started that game and was on the bench tonight.

Newcastle lost their fifth successive PL away game (Bournemouth, Everton, Spurs, Luton, Liverpool) - their worst run since five in a row in 2020/2021. Defeat at Villa Park later this month would make it six successive defeats on the road, our worst return since a run of nine losses in 2015/16.

Travel sickness - worst ten PL away runs within a season:

9 Dec 2015 to Apr 2016 (McClaren/Benitez)
6 Aug 1999 to Oct 1999 (Gullit/Clarke/Robson)
6 Dec 2007 to Mar 2008 (Allardyce/Pearson/Keegan)
6 Feb 2015 to May 2015 (Carver)
5 Nov 2012 to Dec 2012 (Pardew)
5 Mar 2014 to May 2014 (Pardew)
5 Dec 2020 to Jan 2021 (Bruce)
5 Dec 2023 to Jan 2024 (Howe) 
4 Dec 2005 to Feb 2006 (Souness)
4 Feb 2013 to Mar 2013 (Pardew)

The Magpies lost five PL games in the whole of last season. They've lost five in the last 26 days.

United conceded 11 goals in their opening 20 PL games last season. This season it's 25 in 20.

2022/23 brought one defeat in 20 PL games for Newcastle; that loss total in 2023/24 is nine.

Magpies @ Anfield: PL era:

2023/24 Lost 2-4 Isak, Botman
2022/23 Lost 1-2 Isak
2021/22 Lost 1-3 Shelvey
2020/21 Drew 1-1 Willock
2019/20 Lost 1-3 Willems
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

Newcastle scored more than once at Anfield for the first time in seven visits. The previous instance was a 2-2 draw in May 2016. As was the case tonight, both our goals came at the Kop End. 

That's now 201 league goals conceded at Anfield - more than any other team on their own ground. Tonight was our 59th away league defeat there, beginning with a 1-5 reverse in November 1893.

Aleksandar Isak struck his ninth PL goal of the season and eleventh in all competitions. He now has 19 PL goals to his name from 37 games (29 starts). The Swede is the first United player to find the net in successive visits here since Tino Asprilla.

Sven Botman
netted his second PL goal for the club, like his first at Sheffield United earlier this season it was a header.

First footing: NUFC last 20 games on 01.01:

Arsenal (a) won 1-0
1980 mackems (h) won 3-1
1983 Carlisle United (h) drew 2-2
1985 mackems (h) won 3-1
1986 Everton (h) drew 2-2
1987 Manchester United (a) lost 1-4
1988 Nottingham Forest (a) won 2-0
1990 Wolves (h) lost 1-4
1991 Oldham Athletic (a) drew 1-1
1992 Southend United (a) lost 0-4
1994 Manchester City (h) won 2-0
1997 Leeds United (h) won 3-0
2003 Liverpool (h) won 1-0
2005 Birmingham City (h) won 2-1
2007 Manchester United (h) drew 2-2
2014 West Bromwich Albion (a) lost 0-1
2015 Burnley (h) drew 3-3
2018 Stoke City (a) won 1-0
2020 Leicester City (h) lost 0-3
Liverpool (a) lost 2-4

Full record against the Reds:
  P W D L F A
SJP 87 33 26 28 123 111
Anfield 87 11 17 59 87 201
League 174 44 43 87 210 312
SJP(FA) 4 4 0 0 6 1
Anf/W 5 0 1 4 3 13
SJP(LC) 1 0 0 1 0 2
Anf 1 1 0 0 1 0
Cup 11 5 1 5 10 16
Tot 185 49 44 92 220 328




"We feel hard done by".

Eddie Howe's comment may have been prompted by the antics of the match officials at Anfield, but his downbeat assessment caught the collective mood as United's downturn extended into 2024.

Adding dubious VAR calls to the list of grievances gave away fans a new strand of existential angst as they trudged back across a sodden Stanley Park for the second in less than a month. Even the bloody weather now seems to be ganging up against us.

A list of misfortunes ranging from Sandro Tonali's ban to the staggering injury list sit alongside onfield blows extending from Liverpool's late turnaround on Tyneside to the heartache of AC Milan at home via the dubious conclusion to the tie in Paris.

Add in a side order of FFP and associated transfer angst featuring Dan Ashworth plus a revival of that timeless classic, a penalty shootout capitulation. And we've not even started on the ticket situation - another bone of contention and source of further division amongst fans. 

Tonight's bout of soul-searching began with news that United's England duo Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier were elsewhere and that Sven Botman played on for two games earlier in the season before his injury was diagnosed (the appearance of that story in the wake of an oddly-worded club news piece confirming a change to the medical department causing tongues to wag).

That preamble then proceeded through a series of dubious on-field decisions poorly communicated to those in the stadium - a random number of which were flagged as being scrutinised externally by a grossly misleading "VAR complete" message on the stadium scoreboard. It wasn't.

That latter pantomime included five of the six goals scored, two more disallowed (one each side) and two penalty awards to the home side that didn't bear closer scrutiny but were upheld regardless. A third spot kick shout involving Sean Longstaff just looked to be completely ignored.

The net effect was to leave Newcastle questioning the manner of their latest Anfield defeat, if not the perennially pointless outcome for the club here. Successive managers, squads and even owners don't seem to be able to shake off the feeling that we're beaten before kick-off.  

That conviction was hardly challenged by the most one-sided of opening spells that saw the hosts starve Newcastle of possession. An 18th minute Luis Diaz shot was rightly ruled out for offside before Sven Botman was penalised for catching the same player. VAR confirmed minimal contact in the latter scenario (although no VAR check was advised), but the player's delayed dive deemed irrelevant.

Despite Salah's documented inconsistency from 12 yards, Martin Dubravka's display in the Chelsea Carabao Cup defeat gave little cause for optimism. However the goalkeeper made a decent block -  - proof perhaps of sharper reactions after eight successive starts plus a boost in confidence further evidenced by a series of stops to prevent what could have been a landslide.

United made it to the break goalless after surviving some concerted pressure; Trent Alexander-Arnold slicing the penalty rebound over the bar and then hitting the goal frame with a swerving cross from the byline soon after. At the other end, Alexander Isak was judged to have been offside during the move that led to Lewis Miley crossing from the right for Dan Burn to head in after a rare attack.

The first of six second half goals came in the 49th minute and Liverpool cut through our defence with alarming ease, Diaz playing in Darwin Nunez who crossed for Salah to tap home.

But just five minutes later United equalised when Isak raced onto Anthony Gordon's pass and finished superbly in front of the Kop in a manner reminiscent of the goal he was denied here last season by a hand-drawn sharpie line on a screen. 

For the next 20 minutes the game was in the balance as Dubravka kept the Reds at bay and Klopp was forced into a treble change amid some audible discontent from home supporters. 

One of those replacements - Diogo Jota - teed up Curtis Jones to tuck the ball home and restore Liverpool's lead, but the string-pulling was clearly coming from Salah in what was his final game before heading off to the African Nations Cup.

Four minutes later the Egyptian crossed for another substitute, Cody Gakpo to bundle the ball in - VAR decided that there was no offside without the use of lines and an inconclusive camera angle.

The black and whites weren't finished though and raised hopes of a dramatic late comeback after Botman connected with a Sean Longstaff corner. Another 4-3 defeat had been mentioned and may have been slightly less fanciful had Miggy Almiron pulled the ball across the box at 1-2 rather than trying to decapitate a steward on the back of the Kop.

That hope was extinguished finally though when Salah hit his second of the night to open up a two goal advantage. That followed Jota rounding Dubravka but throwing himself to the ground to gain a penalty that even seasoned Anfield apologists disagreed with.

VAR Stuart Attwell ignored all the evidence presented and confirmed the award, with the slightest of contact - initiated by the Liverpool player - the deciding factor. Dubravka had clearly pulled his arms away and Jota had made his mind up to go over and made sure his foot was touched.

If penalties were being awarded for minimal contact in the box followed by a player making sure they tumbled then why wasn't Longstaff given one at the other end when the score was still 1-1?

Again the Liverpool boss made himself the centre of attention, turning his back on the penalty despite his team being a goal up: presumably for the benefit of his new sponsor, Adidas. For once though the two benches didn't come to blows (our lot are probably too knackered) despite it becoming obvious how evident the Jota penalty award when visiting staff saw the reruns.

A two goal advantage made it eight wins and two draws from ten PL home games this season for Liverpool, who remain unbeaten at Anfield in 22 league outings since October 2022.

Although expected, a fifth defeat in six league games did nothing to dispel the current gloom around Newcastle, providing further fuel for the media-led view that their manager's position is in peril. That latter situation will doubtless be cranked up ahead of Saturday's FA Cup derby game, but at least until the final whistle, it's noise.

For our own part we'll be checking the weather forecast and trusting that the homegrown quota in the Newcastle dressing room don't overdo the Geordie symbolism of the game - Bruno Guimaraes in particular needs no egging on at present; emotion replacing calmness to a worrying degree lately.

To strike a positive note, despite another nil return our post-match outlook here was brighter than beforehand. Had we shown a similar attitude at Luton, we could have taken something from what was a league game with cup tie trappings. 

Howe may not have been known of our poor derby record until enlightened post-draw, but is only too aware that his first two FA Cup campaigns here ended at the hands of EFL sides. The dilemma is what follows the derby - namely league games against Manchester City and Aston Villa - both cause for greater concern to us than the red and whites. 

A lack of meaningful squad choices may actually strengthen our hand against the mackems though; that perceived pressure on Howe meaning that the hybrid line-up of last season against Sheffield Wednesday isn't repeated. At least Isak can get above a mild trot this time....  

Defeat on Saturday (or God forbid, in a replay) would be hurtful, but wouldn't alter our positive view of the manager. How well it would be received in other quarters though is less certain. 


Page last updated 10 March, 2024