Newcastle United aim their frustrations at referee Mike Dean after controversial Liverpool defeat

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. | Getty Images
Newcastle United were on the wrong side of a refereeing controversy during in 3-1 defeat at Liverpool.

Defeat for Newcastle United at Liverpool was expected - but not like that.

The refereeing performance of Mike Dean was the centre of Eddie Howe’s side’s frustrations as the Reds controversially levelled not long after Jonjo Shelvey’s stunning opener. Isaac Hayden, down with a head injury, was left on the floor as Diogo Jota found the net at the backpost.

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Shelvey was at fault for the home side’s second, scored by Mohammed Salah, four minutes later.

Plenty of heart and desire but no points for Newcastle, something that Howe will rightly feel aggrieved about.

Jonjo Shelvey goal - that wasn’t in the script

A Covid-struck Liverpool lost star defender Virgil Van Dijk through a positive test along with Fabinho and Curtis Jones.

Ibrahima Konate was the Dutchman’s replacement, with Allan Saint-Maximin doing a lot of early running at the £36million summer signing from RB Leipzig.

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Saint-Maximin’s most influential displays for United, certainly in the latter stages of last season and the early stages of this, came when deployed down the middle.

At Anfield, it was no different - playing his part as Newcastle snatched a shock lead on seven minutes.

Ryan Fraser, in for his first start since being withdrawn against Norwich City early on, crossed from the left.

Thiago cleared only as far as Shelvey, who unleashed a fine right-footed strike from 25 yards as Alisson Becker was left rooted to the spot.

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A dream start for Howe’s side. Not one supporter inside Anfield was expecting as the 3,000 travelling Geordies were sent into raptures.

Mike Dean takes centre stage

But delight soon changed to huge aggrievement. For the second time in five days, a major referee decision went against Howe’s side.

As Trent Alexander-Arnold whipped in a corner from the right, Fabian Schar and Hayden collided.

Schar got up, Hayden remained down with a head injury as a consequence played Jota onside for his 21st-minute equaliser.

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How and why did referee Dean not stop play? Newcastle would need to ride their luck at Anfield but that is irrelevant in that incident. Poor refereeing.

For all the anger from the United dugout, Newcastle did almost re-take the lead. That man Saint-Maximin powered down the centre before Alisson came to the hosts’ rescue.

But the common trend in United’s 2021/22 season is individual errors. There were four at Leicester City on Sunday. Now... step forward Shelvey.

From hero to zero, the Magpies midfielder gifted the ball to Sadio Mane.

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The loose ball from Schar’s challenge saw the ball roll to Salah, who fired home for Liverpool, four minutes after levelling.

On any other day, Shelvey’s error would be the main talking point but as the half-time whistle blew, it was clear who Newcastle were blaming.

“Mike Dean, it’s all about you” sang the away end as assistant Jason Tindall and Lascelles surrounded the match referee.

Midway through the second-half, Dean became the centre of attention once more, prompting further chants from the away, though this time a little more unsavoury.

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Newcastle appealed for a penalty after Alexander-Arnold went through Fraser to clear Jacob Murphy’s low cross.

Dean said the Liverpool right-back had played the ball, which was not reviewed by VAR.

It was an evening where it felt everything was going against Howe’s men but to their credit, stayed in the game.

Murphy hit a left-footed shot narrowly wide, while Shelvey attempted to atone for his earlier error with a free-kick that had Alisson worried.

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The equaliser wasn’t to arrive however, as Alexander-Arnold wrapped up the Reds three points with a rasping effort into the top corner.

What’s next for Newcastle?

Pre-match, many had predicted a hammering. As Howe & Co left the field at Anfield, they could simply not be faulted. They avoided a heavy scoreline and were in the game throughout.

Admittedly, for many Newcastle fans, that means nothing. It’s a ninth defeat of the season and the club remains three points adrift in their battle for Premier League safety.

What’s next? Manchester City and Manchester United but based on rising Covid-19 infections, it remains to be seen if they will go ahead.

With those tough fixtures to come, perhaps Newcastle will benefit from an enforced break.

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