Determined to avenge their 6-0 defeat to Liverpool a season ago, Newcastle delivered a much-improved performance on Saturday at St. James' Park, overcoming the tough odds of playing a man down to earn a 2-2 draw with the Reds, per Premier League on Twitter:
The Magpies took an early lead but watched helplessly as Liverpool came storming back to equalize after defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was sent off for a sloppy foul in the box. Despite the disadvantage of playing with only 10 men, Newcastle was able to grab the lead for a second time before Liverpool tied things up again.
Alan Pardew's squad got off to a fantastic start, feeding off the energized crowd inside St. James' Park. Newcastle's early pressure resulted in the match's first goal when Yohan Cabaye put the Magpies ahead 1-0 in the 23rd minute with an excellent right-footed strike from just outside the box, per Premier League on Twitter:
It appeared Newcastle was headed for a 1-0 halftime lead until defender Yanga-Mbiwa made a crucial mistake, dragging Liverpool striker Luis Suarez to the ground inside the penalty area. As a result, the defender was sent off and the Reds were awarded a penalty.
Liverpool veteran Steven Gerrard calmly powered the ball past goalkeeper Tim Krul and just like that, the Reds were level and up a man heading into the dressing room at halftime.
The score signaled the 100th Premier League goal of Gerrard's career, making him just the 13th player in EPL history to reach the century mark with one club, per Premier League on Twitter:
Despite playing a man down, Newcastle came out with energy and focus in the second half, not content to settle for a point. Following a set piece, second-half substitute Paul Dummett would break the deadlock with a strike from the right side of the six-yard box, causing the antsy crowd inside St. James' Park to erupt.
With his team trailing by a goal, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers brought on midfielder Luis Alberto in exchange for Mamadou Sakho.
But it was a different Luis who struck gold for Rodgers and the Reds as Suarez connected with Daniel Sturridge on a cross to level the match at two goals apiece. The score was Sturridge's seventh on the season, per Premier League on Twitter:
Liverpool would continue to apply pressure down the stretch, earning a free kick in a dangerous area late in injury time. But Suarez's last effort to put the Reds ahead was saved and both teams were able to pick up a point in the league table.
Key Player Grades
Luis Suarez, Liverpool: A+
Luis Suarez didn't score on Saturday, but he had his chances. His run into the box in the first half created a penalty and an easy score for Gerrard. In the second half, his cross to Sturridge allowed Liverpool to draw level again, earning them a hard-fought point.
The Man of the Match had an excellent shot to give the Reds the lead in the 75th minute but his shot rattled off the post.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Newcastle: D
The only reason Mapou Yanga-Mbiwe doesn't earn an E or an F for Saturday's dreadful performance is because he contributed to a shutout performance for the first 40 minutes. Still, Yanga-Mbiwa was without question the worst player on the pitch.
He was out of position on Newcastle's nightmare play and he not only cost his team a goal, but put them a man down the rest of the way.
Steven Gerrard, Liverpool: A+
Steven Gerrard was his usual productive self on Saturday, making tackles on defense and threatening Newcastle in the final third. He delivered in a big way on his first-half penalty score, reaching an impressive milestone in the process.
There's no doubt that Gerrard was the best all-around player on the pitch on Saturday, giving Suarez a run for his money in the Man of the Match race.
Afterward, Gerrard talked about what it was like to score his 100th Premier League goal, per Premier League on Twitter:
|Complete Player Grades|
|G Tim Krul||B+||G Simon Mignolet||C|
|D Davide Santon||A||D Kolo Toure||B|
|D Michael Williamson||B-||D Mamadou Sakho (Off 69')||B|
|D Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa||D||D Martin Skrtel||A|
|D Mathieu Debuchy||A||M Glen Johnson (Off 83')||A|
|M Yohan Cabaye (Off 78')||A||M Steven Gerrard||A+|
|M Moussa Sissoko (Off 45')||A||M Victor Moses||A|
|M Yoan Gouffran||A||M Jordan Henderson||B|
|M Loic Remy||A||M Aly Cissokho||A|
|M Ismael Cheik Tiote||A||F Luis Suarez||A+|
|F Hatem Ben Arfa (Off 78')||B-||F Daniel Sturridge||A|
|Paul Dummett (On 45')||A+||Luis Alberto (On 69')||B|
|Sammy Ameobi (On 78')||B||Raheem Sterling (On 83')||B|
|Vurnon Anita (On 78')||B|
Liverpool return to Anfield this week and prepare for a clash with West Brom next Saturday while Newcastle gear up for an away clash with Sunderland at Stadium of Light next Sunday.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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