Three things we learned from Liverpool vs Newcastle

Traditionally, Liverpool vs Newcastle has always been one of the more exciting fixtures in Premier League history and tonight’s episode wasn’t a classic, it certainly had it’s moments.

The Magpies were woeful for large patches but the match included a bit of everything; two goals – one from the unlikely source of Joe Allen – a penalty that never was, and a sending off.

But it would’t mean anything if we didn’t learn from it – so here’s the three things we took from Liverpool’s 2-0 win.

Raheem Sterling’s not ready for the next level just yet.

Raheem Sterling can’t escape the media limelight at the minute, after infamously turning down a £100k per-week deal to extend his Anfield contract past 2017 – followed by that absolute PR disaster of an extended interview with the BBC.

So opening the scoring for Liverpool tonight will have certainly eased the pressure on the 20 year-old and indeed, he had an instrumental effect on the Reds’ attacking play, finishing the match with four attempts at goal, four successful dribbles and one created chance.

But it was by no means a perfect performance from the England international. In truth, he should have gone home with the match ball, missing two relatively simple chances from close range. The latter in particular seemed destined for the net; a hashed clearance from Ryan Taylor fell to Sterling just eight yards from goal in oceans of space, but he somehow dragged the effort wide.

So although there’s plenty of positives Sterling can take from tonight’s display, it also came with the warning that he’s not yet consistent enough in front of goal. For now, his development is better served at Anfield.

JORDAN HENDERSON TAKING STEVEN GERRARD’S MANTLE

We all know Jordan Henderson shares many traits with Steven Gerrard – particularly the swash-bucking Steven Gerrard of the mid-2000s – which is why he’s almost certain to take the captain’s armband permanently when the veteran midfielder departs for the MLS this summer.

But tonight, we saw a somewhat more cultured side to the England international’s game – emulating the playmaking, more reserved Steven Gerrard of the last few seasons. As detailed below, he misplaced just one pass in the entire first half:

He also set up Raheem Sterling’s goal, with a pin-point crossfield ball to the Liverpool forward from left to right, encouraging him to cut inside and shoot. The 24 year-old went to finish the match with four created chances – detailed below as key passes – all of which were from deep positions, and the second-best pass completion rate of any Liverpool player after Alberto Moreno:

Henderson vs Newcastle

NEWCASTLE NEED AN OVERHAUL THIS SUMMER

Newcastle fans will be immensely disappointed with their team tonight and as a consequence, the finger will be pointed at manager John Carver.

He didn’t set the Magpies up particularly positively but in all honesty, he could only work with the tools that he’d been given. And as you can see from the line-up below, those tools were rather dreadful:

That’s right – a back four consisting of the ever-crocked Ryan Taylor, right-back Daryl Janmaat in the middle, the woeful Mike Williamson and jack-of-no-trades-master-of-nothing Vernun Anita.

Injury problems have been an issue of late, but from this line-up alone it’s patently obvious Mike Ashley must invest in Newcastle’s squad this summer. Newcastle fans on Twitter appeared to agree: