Newcastle failed to move out of the relegation zone as they were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool away from home in the Premier League on Thursday night.
Eddie Howe’s side did take the lead in the game early on as Jonjo Shelvey rifled in an effort from distance after a poor clearance on the edge of the box.
The Liverpool equaliser then came with a degree of controversy as Mike Dean allowed play to go on despite Fabian Schar and Isaac Hayden clashing in the box, with Diogo Jota eventually converting from close range with the latter sprawled out on the floor next to him.
Mo Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold then scored goals either side of half-time to win the match for the home side, with the full-back’s strike almost taking the net off from long range.
Whilst Shelvey scored Newcastle’s only goal in the game, the player who was the real shining light for the Magpies on the night was central defender Jamaal Lascelles. The ex-Nottingham Forest man worked his socks off to keep the score down and made a number of interventions to prevent the Reds from adding to their tally.
Liverpool enjoyed 74% possession of the ball and this meant that the defence had to constantly be on their toes and anticipating danger, with little time to rest in possession as the Toon Army struggled to hold onto the ball. Fabian Schar failed to show his best in this situation, winning one of his six duels and completing 59% of his passes, whilst also being dribbled past twice.
This meant that Lascelles, alongside him, had to step up to almost make up for two centre-backs as his teammate was off-colour. As per SofaScore, the giant won 100% of his ground and aerial duels in the match, whilst making six clearances, two blocks, three interceptions and one tackle. He also completed 75% of his attempted passes and was not dribbled past a single time.
Shelvey, meanwhile, completed 71% of his attempted passes and failed to make more than one interception or one tackle. He also made an error directly leading to a goal as his wayward backpass allowed Sadio Mane through on goal, with Salah scoring from the follow-up to the Senegal international’s shot.
Therefore, Lascelles was undoubtedly the standout performer Newcastle in this defeat as he was able to put in a fine display in spite of Liverpool’s dominance and eventual 3-1 win. He was strong in his defending and did not make any glaring errors, which will surely delight Howe heading into the remainder of the festive schedule – having the skipper back in top form could be the difference between relegation and survival come the end of the campaign.