Let's just get one thing out of the way, it could not be more evident that the entire team was suffering from an International break hangover. From the start everyone was sluggish, out of synch and off the pace. Credit to Newcastle because they fully took advantage of this. It took the Reds 70 minutes to shake off the rust and start playing football.
Liverpool started slow, and payed the price. While normally letting players take 40 yard shots from bad angles is fine by me, this was the one in a thousand that actually went in. Cabaye unleashed a screming, dipping shot using Cissokho as a screen. Mignolet saw it late and before we knew it, Liverpool were down.
Liverpool still never got out of first gear, but were awarded a penalty after Yanga-Mbiwa foolishly grabbed Suarez's shoulder after the Uruguayan was played through. Being the last defender, he was rightfully sent off per the letter of the law. Stevie stepped up and converted for his 100th Premier League goal.
As the second half started, you would have never known Liverpool were up a man. They failed to exert any sort of dominance one would expect from a team who enjoys having space on the pitch to pass. SAS were not on the same page and many of the dummies and moves that usually come off just turned into turnovers on the edge of the box.
Liverpool were punished for their failures as Dummett broke the deadlock scoring off a free kick where the defense just fell asleep at the back post. This woke Liverpool up a bit, but they didn't really come alive until about the 70' minute when SAS finally clicked again. Suarez worked his way into the box and put in a beautiful cross for Sturridge's diving header.
Liverpool swung and swung, but just couldn't find the knockout punch. Suarez's last minute free kick was well saved by Krul and the two extra points were gone.
-A top four side cannot be gifting points when up a man for over half a game. It is inexcusable.
-The international break took a toll on the players. Yes, it is an excuse and one that should not be tolerated, but it was very evident.
-I still believe the rules should be amended. The red card is harsh in that situation given that a penalty is already being awarded to make up for the denying of the goal scoring opportunity. It is almost like double jeopardy. A yellow with the penalty should suffice in those situations.
-It is easy to blame Mignolet saying he should have gotten over etc etc, but the truth is it was just a fantastic shot. Had Mignolet seen it the whole way, then he probably saves it.
-That said, I'm still okay with the defenders not being too tight to the players in this area of the pitch. We can bitch all we want about not closing down, but we'd be bitching more if Cabaye had gone past him because he was playing too tight in this area.
-SAS was a bit off, but given a week of training together I'm sure they'll be back in full form soon.
-Luckily Moyes is continuing his summer of comedy (tragedy if you're a United fan) and they too dropped points to Southampton
-It is a marathon, not a sprint. Hiccups will happen, but few more of this nature can be afforded if Liverpool want to stay near the top. Under normal conditions, I probably would have taken a point from this game happily, but not given these circumstances.