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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 19 January, 2020

Joselu earns Newcastle a share of the spoils as Benitez faces former club

A Philippe Coutinho wonder strike was cancelled out as Rafael Benitez faced Liverpool at St James’ Park.

Newcastle United v Liverpool - Premier League - St James' Park Newcastle striker Joselu celebrates Newcastle's equaliser. Source: Owen Humphreys

BOTH NEWCASTLE and Liverpool had to settle for a point apiece in the Rafael Benitez Derby on Sunday evening, as Joselu’s fortunate equaliser cancelled out a magnificent strike from Philppe Coutinho at St James’ Park.

The point leaves Newcastle in nineth, while Liverpool continue to lose pace with the chasing pack of Manchester clubs at the head of the table — Jurgen Klopp’s side now trailing both United and City by seven points after as many games.

It has been a process of re-integreation for Coutinho since his almost-summer transfer to Barcelona.

However the Brazilian showed no signs of faltering as he delivered yet another outstanding strike from distance to remind Liverpool supporters of the magnificent talent they had held onto.

Newcastle United v Liverpool - Premier League - St James' Park Source: Owen Humphreys

It was a pile driver of an effort which fans had seen time and time again from the playmaker, cutting inside on the edge of the penalty area before scooping an unstoppable effort beyond Rob Elliot after half an hour.

Following an even opening period Liverpool were now in the ascendancy and in control, however St James’ Park was bouncing just seven minutes later when another calamitous error in defence from Liverpool saw the equaliser creep in.

A gigantic gap between the centre back pairing of Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip was keenly taken advantage of by former Reds midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, with the 25-year-old playing a devastating through ball right down the middle of the park.

Newcastle United v Liverpool - Premier League - St James' Park Source: Owen Humphreys

On the receiving end was 27-year-old Spanish striker Joselu who, despite the advances of Matip with an interception, managed to bobble the ball beyond the oncoming dive of Simon Mignolet and send it trickling over the line.

Liverpool looked unsure of themselves thereafter and never posed a significant goal threat on Elliot, with chances for Daniel Sturridge, Sadio Mane and second half introduction Dominic Solanke coming and going in an even second period.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was presented with a final opportunity to take all three points as both sides went in search of a win — however his diving header following some tenacious work by Alberto Moreno along the left wing flew just over the crossbar.

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Aaron Gallagher

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