Mamadou Sakho’s removal from the Reds squad was the biggest news of the day, announced shortly before the game.
The French defender was found to have a banned substance in his doping test for the Europa League game against Manchester United. As a result Uefa announced they will investigate and Sakho is expected to ask for a second sample to prove it.
In the meantime Liverpool announced they won’t select Sakho until the case is resolved. This had shaken the team selection with Kolo Toure coming in and the Reds lost their way in the second half. After an excellent first half, minds also switched to the midweek Europa League semi-final against Villarreal, and LFC seemed to have stepped off the pace.
On the field, from the start Daniel Sturridge gave the hosts a flying start in the first minute by controlling a cross well before firing it through the legs of two defenders and beating the keeper. It wasn’t the start that returning manager Rafa Benitez would’ve wanted for his relegation threatened team.
Not long later Adam Lallana also picked up a ball from Alberto Moreno and fired it from distance to make it 2-0. It was all Liverpool, but eventually proved to be another game this season where they dropped points despite taking the lead.
If Liverpool could not have wished for a better start to the first half, then their opening to the second was precisely what they didn’t want as their advantage was immediately reduced.
Vurnon Anita scampered into space on the right and swung a centre towards the back post, which Simon Mignolet was unable to cut out, leaving Cisse to nod into the net.
The Newcastle No.9 threatened again moments later as a counter-attack saw half-time substitute Georginio Wijaldum release him into space inside the area; however, Mignolet and Toure were able to hold him up before Andros Townsend curled his lay-off over the bar.
Liverpool’s riposte saw Allen’s header from Milner’s cross brilliantly clawed away by Darlow. Firmino did hook the rebound home, but was flagged offside.
Then, on 66 minutes, Newcastle restored parity. A counter resulted in the ball being worked to Townsend on the right, who charged into the area and delivered into the centre. The ball was laid-off into the path of Colback, whose first-time strike took a deflection off Dejan Lovren to beat Mignolet.
Klopp introduced Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Leiva into the action shortly after, with Randall and Allen making way.
And Liverpool pressed in an attempt to restore their lead and Sturridge had a glancing header saved by Darlow and Coutinho watched as a goal-bound drive was deflected away by Anita.
However, they were unable to muster a third goal, ensuring Newcastle returned to the north east with a point.