The telling Mike Dean chant, individual errors & huge injury blow - Inside Newcastle United’s defeat at Liverpool

Newcastle United surround referee Mike Dean after protests over Liverpool’s equaliser. Newcastle United surround referee Mike Dean after protests over Liverpool’s equaliser.
Newcastle United surround referee Mike Dean after protests over Liverpool’s equaliser. | AFP via Getty Images
Newcastle United lost 3-1 against Liverpool, however Eddie Howe’s side departed Anfield feeling aggrieved. Here, our writer Jordan Cronin takes a look at the main talking points from the game ahead of facing Manchester City on Sunday:

‘Mike Dean, it’s all about you’

As the full-time whistle blew at Anfield, it was clear where Newcastle vented their frustration.

Usually a defeat against Liverpool is down to their sheer class and talent, and while that remained true last night, referee Mike Dean entered the equation for the wrong reason.

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The Magpies were in dreamland following Jonjo Shelvey’s 25-yard opener but their lead lasted just 14 minutes, no thanks to Dean’s mistake.

Following an out-swinging corner by Andrew Robertson, Isaac Hayden and Fabian Schar collided, with the former down holding his head.

Dean clearly spotted the incident with Hayden in his eyeline as Liverpool worked the ball out to Sadio Mane on the right, who found goalscorer Diogo Jota at the backpost.

Hayden, clutching his header, was apparently holding his back instead, according to Dean.

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Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall had their arms up in the air on the touchline in disbelief, while a number of United players surrounded the Merseyside-born official.

Howe labelled it a key turning point in the match and it’s hard to disagree, even it would have been a huge ask to leave Anfield with a point or three.

The 3,000-travelling Geordies perhaps shared a similar view with chants of “Mike Dean, it’s all about you” and sarcastically cheering when a decision went Newcastle’s way.

There is also an argument to say Ryan Fraser was denied a second-half penalty under a sliding challenge from Trent Alexander-Arnold, but that wasn’t as clearcut as a player with an obvious head injury.

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Decisions continue to go against Newcastle

In a season where Newcastle have forever been the making of their own downfall, they haven’t half had their fair share of decisions go against them too.

You only have to go back five days to the King Power Stadium when James Maddison dived, or at least made the most of Jamaal Lascelles’ challenge.

There was less sympathy for Lascelles after he single-handedly played his way into trouble but at places like Leicester and Liverpool in particular, you need decisions to go your way.

That said, it’s not just refereeing decisions that have proved detrimental. Howe & Co are relying on fine margins, which are working against them.

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Individual errors persist

Fine margins and individual errors are most apparent in Newcastle’s season so far.

Fine margins: What if Lascelles didn’t give away a penalty against Southampton in the last minute to equalise? What if Jacob Murphy scored when through on goal against Watford in the dying seconds? They are just two examples.

Individual errors: A constant theme of Newcastle’s season. There were four at Leicester (Lascelles, Javier Manquillo x2, Joelinton) and Jonjo Shelvey joined the club last night - gifting the ball to Sadio Mane in the build-up to Liverpool’s second goal.

That, and an overall poor defensive record of 37 goals conceded in 17 games, will ultimately put Newcastle in the Championship, if not fixed.

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An injury blow

Many might not agree with this but Jamal Lewis is a big loss for Newcastle. And it comes at a time where he was building up ahead of steam.

Restored to side against former club Norwich City after last starting a Premier League game in February, the Northern Ireland international had improved game-by-game. For 12 minutes at Anfield, he acquitted himself well in the early exchanges.

However, a hamstring injury after 12 minutes which Howe admitted looked “bad one” brought the 23-year-old’s evening to a premature end - another bump in his Magpies career since his £15million switch last year.

United’s only senior option at left-back now is Matt Ritchie, the man who replaced Lewis at Liverpool. While Ritchie is trusted immensely by Howe, his credentials are a left-back are well up for debate.

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In Lewis, Newcastle will miss his athleticism and pace - two traits United’s backline severely lacks.

A quick turnaround

Whatever happened at Anfield - bad refereeing, another defeat and injury concerns, Howe & Co have no time to dwell with Manchester City next up in two days’ time. And what better time to face a Pep Guardiola team on the back of a 7-0 victory over Leeds United...

Covid-19 cancellations will only heap further prays of Newcastle claiming a shock win, or even a point, with the teams in-and-around the club guaranteed to hold one, two or maybe even three games in-hand.

It’d be torture for Newcastle not to have points on the board - instead anxiously hoping and praying their relegation rivals lose as the battle to survive hots up in the latter stages of the campaign.

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If not Man City, then Manchester United. Points are needed, no matter the opposition because of the club’s precarious position.

To stay up, Howe side’s must pull a few shocks out - or perhaps even miracles - out of the bag.

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