Match Report: Silky Luis Suarez saves the day against Newcastle but Liverpool still look a one-man team

Liverpool 1 Newcastle 1

Anfield

When, before the game, he was asked for the easy quote, the one that would condemn Luis Suarez as a cheat, Alan Pardew hesitated. No, said the Newcastle manager, Suarez was a fabulous player “worth a highlights package on his own”. Here yesterday the Uruguayan delivered not just a package but a whole programme.

This was not Luis Suarez versus Newcastle but sometimes it felt like it. Liverpool supporters used to talk of “having a team of Carraghers” as the ultimate in commitment. A team of Suarezes would be a considerable improvement on the one Brendan Rodgers currently manages, although it might not finish every game with 11 men.

The irony was that yesterday Suarez was the victim. Six minutes from the end, Fabricio Coloccini raked his studs down the back of the striker’s legs in a tackle fuelled by frustration and spite. From the television studio, the Wales manager, Chris Coleman, called it “a coward’s challenge”. It was not dissimilar to the foul inflicted by Suarez on Sylvain Distin in the Merseyside derby which was not answered by a red card.

 Having already lost Cheick Tioté to suspension and seeing Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and James Perch withdrawn here through injury, Newcastle, who have not won away since beating Chelsea in May, can ill afford to lose their captain for three fixtures.

The struggle between the Argentine and the Uruguayan had the taste of the River Plate about it and it had been comprehensively won by Suarez, not least when a 70-yard ball from Luis Enrique struck him on the crest of his shirt.

Coloccini was in pursuit but Suarez controlled the ball beautifully, made to go one way and, in an instant, rounded Tim Krul and passed into an empty net. It is a goal Diego Maradona would have recognised.

And yet Liverpool should not be a team that revolves around a single player. In the spring of 1981, before his home island of Antigua staged its first Test match, Viv Richards went over to Geoff Boycott and said he fancied himself to score a century. When Boycott asked why, Richards replied “because you have only one fast bowler” and sauntered off. Replace “fast bowler” with “striker” and you understand why some teams might be confident of facing Liverpool if they continue to over-rely on Suarez.

Rodgers described the performance as “outstanding” and “superb” – which in many ways it was. Sky calculated that Liverpool put together 523 passes and had 64 per cent of possession.

However, you can play it like Stoke or you can play it like Barcelona, but football is about scoring goals – everything else is propaganda. In every aspect bar one, Liverpool were a better side than Newcastle. In terms of corner kicks it was 14-3, but in terms of goals, the only currency that matters, it was 1-1. There are no marks for artistic merit.

Newcastle also possessed a cutting edge that Liverpool simply lacked. Pardew had suggested that Hatem Ben Arfa had something of Suarez’s instinctive brilliance about him. Certainly, he had scored fabulously at Everton a couple of years ago but, bar one move, his touch here seemed too heavy and his control too loose.

However, he produced what Pardew thought was the goal that should have seen him become the first Newcastle manager since Kevin Keegan in 1994 to celebrate a league win at Anfield.

It was every bit as good as Suarez’s. The boy from Marseilles was so tight to the byline that he would almost have felt the breath of the Kop as he crossed deep to the back of the area. Cabaye controlled it with his knee, took it down and drove it almost through Brad Jones’ gloves and into the net. The Newcastle fans in the Anfield Road end seethed with passion and disbelief. They had not seen a goal here from a Newcastle player since Patrick Kluivert’s eight years ago.

Liverpool simply seethed, especially since Andre Wisdom, whose foul throw had begun the move, ducked slightly as Cabaye’s shot sped towards him, giving his goalkeeper a very late sight of the ball.

During the interval, one of the mains that supplies Anfield’s sprinklers burst, sending water pouring into the directors’ box. Sadly for the comic possibilities of the situation, John W Henry, the man who has seen more than £100m poured away, mostly on players for whom Liverpool have no further use, was not present to receive a more literal kind of soaking.

Suarez, the man he did sanction a £20m bid for and whom he resisted the temptation to sell in the wake of the racism scandal, did turn the tide and not just with the equaliser. A free-kick delivered in stoppage time struck Papiss Cissé and looped on to the top of the crossbar. Earlier, he had broken away and sent through Raheem Sterling, who was denied by a brilliant sliding block from Steven Taylor. Ultimately it was not enough, though: one-man shows seldom are.

Steven Gerrard, who celebrated his 600th appearance for Liverpool with a statuette of a liver bird and a strangely below-par performance, would know that. Time and again Gerrard has rescued his boyhood club to win them European trophies and FA Cups as well as Anfield’s undying loyalty. Suarez already has Liverpool’s love, although whether he wins them any silverware is more open to question.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
Extras
indybest
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style