Newcastle United vs Liverpool Illustrated Rafa Benitez’s Impact Perfectly And Here’s The Proof
If Newcastle United were to face Liverpool a few seasons back, the result would be more or less pre-determined. The Magpies were always known to cause trouble during the match, but not any major upsets. One cannot say that they caused a major upset against Liverpool this time, but they certainly came close to it. And there is only one man to thank for that – Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez faced up to his former club Liverpool with yet another master class, also adding a point to the team’s tally in process. The Reds might have been struggling to notch up a win of late but the strength in their attack is simply undeniable – even more so after Sadio Mane’s return from a 3-game suspension.
Considering Mane’s influence in the team’s attack force, Liverpool were supposed to get away with an easy victory but much to everyone’s surprise, it was Newcastle who dominated the game.
Newcastle were neither afraid to surge forward and trouble Liverpool’s frail defence, nor did they shy away from restricting the famed opposition’s attack. In fact, Benitez’s squad tested Liverpool’s far superior team thoroughly, which only goes on to show how much they have improved under the Spaniard’s watchful eye.
The same fixture would have probably resulted in a 4-0 or 5-0 loss under Steve McClaren or Pardew, but under Benitez, the outcome was a lot closer than one might have imagined.
Liverpool stretched Newcastle’s defence using Mane and Salah, but Rafa deployed Newcastle’s defenders a bit deeper to cope with that. It did work since the Magpies were rarely ever caught out of shape.
It was an encouraging team performance too since most of the players made significant contributions with regards to the defence. Even Joselu did not ignore or get distracted from his defensive duties up front. Their performance shows that team was extremely well-organised and that Benitez had clearly done his homework before the game.
However, Liverpool still took the lead, and did so in style. It was a strike from Philippe Coutinho that took them ahead, but Newcastle fought harder and did not collapse, as they would have done earlier under any other manager. Soon enough, Shelvey delivered a sublime chance that Joselu should have slotted through, but he took quite some time and Matip was back to tackle him. However, the ball bobbled off Matip, into Joselu, and went over the line.
Newcastle had equalised against Liverpool, much to the ire and frustration of the away fans. They are currently in 9th place in the league table, and face Swansea City in their next match. After having almost defeated Liverpool, the club will play their next match with a massive boost in confidence.
Seeing how Benitez has impacted the squad, there’s no limiting as to what they can achieve over the next few seasons.