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Five things we learned about Liverpool on Saturday

The Reds drew 2-2 with Newcastle at St James’ Park but will feel that they could have claimed all three points after their opponents were reduced to ten men.

Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League table for a couple of hours following their 2-2 draw with Newcastle on Saturday, but will feel that they could have claimed all three points on Tyneside.

The Merseyside visitors had the bulk of possession in the second half once Newcastle had been reduced to ten men. Here are five things that were evident about Brendan Rodgers’ team.

Cissokho not an improvement on Enrique

Aly Cissokho replaced the injured Jose Enrique in the clash, and although the Spaniard has been questioned over his form of late, the Valencia loanee did not do enough to suggest he will be a better option on the left flank.

Cissokho is overly reliant on his left foot and reluctant therefore to cut in-field if the opportunity arises. He looked slightly one-dimensional on the ball and clearly needs more time to settle into the English game and Rodgers’ plans for him.

Coutinho’s absence felt

Victor Moses has been in good form for Liverpool this term, but had a quiet day at St James’. The Chelsea loan attacker gives the Reds pace and power, but lacked the deft touch that Philippe Coutinho would have offered if available.

Especially when chasing a game against a team determined to sit deep, Coutinho’s creativity would have been a key asset. Once available again, the ex-Inter man’s guile in the number ten role will be a real bonus for Rodgers and his side.

Suarez’s class there for all to see

Luis Suarez was not at his mercurial best on Saturday, but still showed that he was arguably the most technically gifted player on the pitch. Although he was guilty of giving the ball away too often, his first touch and balance were a delight to behold.

With Liverpool needing a goal, a show of urgency and clever play by the Uruguayan allowed Daniel Sturridge to head home. Although his movement and cross were key in the goal, Suarez’s delicate touch round the corner to escape his marker was pure class.

Gerrard still Liverpool’s talisman

The Liverpool captain has played a lot of football for club and country of late, but still looked like the driving force for the visitors.

His will to win was evident from the first whistle, while the England man showed that his range of passing and delivery into the danger areas is as good as anyone in the division.

International break taking its toll

The importance of having strength in depth will become all the more apparent as the fixtures pile up later in the season, however, after the international break some of the Liverpool players looked slightly fatigued here.

Eight of the Reds’ starting XI had been away on international duty recently, compared to six of the Newcastle side. Liverpool’s representatives were sent all over the world, while half of Newcastle’s internationals had the short journey to France.

With Liverpool eager to compete for a top-four place, Rodgers’ squad could still do with an additional player or two of quality to allow the Reds to mix it up and not solely rely on the strength of a starting XI.

image: © ruairaigh

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