|Suarez 67||Cabaye 43|
At least I don't have a toilet to unclog after this one.
This was disappointing because it was far too patchy a performance to earn the three points. After a bright opening 10 minutes in which Raheem Sterling was at the heart of everything it all went very flat. The intensity which Rodgers often speaks of simply fizzled out.
Maybe we needed to see a goal in that opening spell to set us on course for victory but Krul wasn't tested. A distinctly average looking Newcastle side then started to come into things as the half settled into a bog-standard Premier league match.
Luis Suarez sent a free kick narrowly wide on 20 minutes and Tim Krul was finally called into action a minute later when he comfortably saved the Uruguayan's effort from 12 yards. An injury to James Perch then further disrupted what was an already disjointed 45 minutes.
Just before half-time Newcastle took the lead with their first real attempt on goal. Jose Enrqiue's pirouetting audition for Strictly Come Dancing allowed Ben Arfa to cross from the right, with the ball finding Yohan Cabaye at the back post. He took one touch before striking sweetly past Brad Jones. As good a goal as it was the ball went directly over Jones into the centre of the net and there's no question that a half-decent keeper would have done better. Not a good time to concede, as they say.
The Reds started the second half showing only marginal improvement. Contrary to what Rodgers believed I thought Joe Allen had a poor game on Wednesday night against Swansea, and today he also looked short of his usual high standards.
Nuri Sahin seemed to be playing a more advanced role than usual, often just behind Suarez and his performace in general was very good. In the 60th minute he combined with Suarez in the box but his scuffed strike went harmlessly wide.
So it came down to the cheeky scamp from Salto to get the Reds back on terms in the 67th minute. A hopeful punt from Enrique (which I'm sure would have had Rodgers cringing) somehow managed to find Suarez in the box who first showed majestic chest control to fend off Coloccini, while his second touch took him around Krul and into an empty net. It was the kind of goal only he could score.
This goal naturally awoke the Anfield faithful from their slumber but by this point my pre-match optimism had evaporated and I never really believed a winner was on the cards. Sterling and sub Shelvey all had reasonable chances with the clearest falling to the latter in the 90th minute. A surprisingly good cross from fellow sub Downing found the young slaphead unmarked 7 yards out but his tame header was straight at Krul.
Newcastle had a couple of half chances of their own with Ben Arfa a constant threat on the counter. But with Coloccini being rightly red carded in the 83rd minute for an outrageous lunge on Suarez they will probably have been happy to leave with a point.
So all in all there's nothing to come out of this game that we didn't already know. We're desperately short of options up front and as good as Jonjo Shelvey is, he can't be relied upon to be our game changer from the bench.
Despite this I think the Reds could've been much better than they were today. While the endeavour was there the passing was sloppy at times and the intensity of the first 10 minutes only returned in the final quarter.
I'm also still struggling to figure out what Steven Gerrard's role is in this team. While he was slightly better today than he has been in recent weeks he is still not contributing as much as he should be. With Lucas still injured I would rather see a midfield trio of Shelvey, Allen and Sahin but we all know that's not going to happen. Not with Stevie Me.
So it's onwards and sideways for the moment, as we look to limp through to the January transfer window. The great thing about the Premier League is that the standard is so poor you're never more than 5 or 6 points away from 5th or 6th no matter how awful you are. For example, despite our struggles so far this season we're still only 4 points behind Arsenal who are supposed to be doing ok!
It's away to Chelsea in the league next, although before that Rodgers will have a difficult decision to make regarding his squad as the Reds travel to Moscow on Thursday. Does he risk the likes of Yesil in such a difficult game or go with a more experienced eleven? Rather him than me.
Subs: Shelvey for Sahin (66), Downing for Suso (74)
Unused Subs: Gulacsi, Carragher, Coates, Henderson, Assaidi.