Newcastle 2 Liverpool 0: Three talking points

Three talking points as Liverpool suffer a 2-0 defeat by Newcastle United in the Premier League

Wijnaldum calms Liverpool’s title talk

What do Steven Gerrard, Mark Lawrenson, John Arne Riise and Dietmar Hamann all have in common? They’re all Liverpool legends and they’re all guilty of talking up the Reds’s title prospects over the past week. Liverpool had won eight of their last nine games under Jurgen Klopp, including victories over Chelsea and Manchester City. With Arsenal, City and Manchester United all dropping points in recent weeks, Liverpool have narrowed the gap on their rivals, and the manner of their performances appeared to suggest Klopp’s men were one of the league’s form sides. But sticking to the Premier League trend this season, a supposed title contender suffered a surprise defeat by one of the division’s strugglers. Throwing on Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge was a sign of Klopp’s intent with the game goalless, but it was Georginio Wijnaldum who made the breakthrough for Newcastle United – and deservedly so. His deflected strike beat Simon Mignolet before the Newcastle midfielder lifted a finish over the Liverpool goalkeeper in added time.

Ibe can’t find end product

Jordon Ibe will turn 20 on Monday just two days after Manchester United signing Anthony Martial hit the same milestone. The promising youngsters are the future of the Premier League alongside the likes of Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli and Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling. While Martial has scored three times in 11 Premier League games this season, Ibe is still waiting to score his first top-flight goal for the Reds. The England Under-21 international is blessed with searing pace and ability to jink past full-backs at ease. Newcastle United defender Paul Dunmett and Daryl Janmaat were his victims at St James’s Park, and neither full-back could keep a lid on Ibe’s adventurous runs. However, as is the case with developing talents, Ibe does have his flaws. His weaknesses include a disappointing end product and poor decision-making. When the Liverpool starlet manufactured a promising opportunity, he over hit a pass, or choose to take on an ambitious shot, or picked out the wrong team-mate. Ibe could have been Liverpool’s match-winner on Sunday with a little more composure in dangerous positions. While Martial is a more-polished attacker, if Ibe can improve in these areas, it could be an intriguing rivalry over the coming three or five years.

Average Allen

Joe Allen was handed his first Premier League start of the season at Newcastle as Jordan Henderson warmed the bench. The 25-year-old has never really been able to live up to Brendan Rodgers’s ‘Welsh Xavi’ nickname since his £15m move to Liverpool. Allen has been on the fringes of the squad over the past three years and Aston Villa are reportedly interested in the midfielder ahead of the January transfer window. But Klopp likes to revive under-performing and underrated players, which means Allen has a Liverpool lifeline ahead of next month’s transfer window. The Wales international spent most of the first half running as he closed down Newcastle players or space as part of Klopp’s pressing game plan. But apart from his energy and work-rate, Allen offered little else and Liverpool lacked creativity in the final third. It would be no surprise to see the Liverpool captain take back his starting spot from Allen next week against West Brom.

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