Ian Doyle's verdict from St James' Park
Liverpool failed to make numerical advantage count when they were held to a 2-2 draw at 10-man Newcastle United.
Daniel Sturridge struck a 72nd-minute equaliser to earn Brendan Rodgers’ side a point despite playing more than an entire half with an extra man.
Yohan Cabaye had given the Newcastle a deserved lead midway through the first half with a fantastic, swerving 25-yard effort.
But the game was transformed three minutes before half-time when Newcastle centre-back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was red-carded for hauling back Luis Suarez inside the penalty area.
Steven Gerrard converted the spot-kick to register the 100th Premier League goal of his career, only for Magpies substitute Paul Dummett to restore the home lead after the interval.
Although Liverpool finished the stronger after Sturridge's leveller, the draw was a fair result with the Anfield outfit having underwhelmed for large periods of an entertaining match.
This was a missed opportunity for Rodgers’ men, who temporarily moved a point clear at the top of the Premier League table.
In pictures: Reds draw at St James' Park
With Glen Johnson among those back available, Rodgers had stated in the week he was going into the game with his strongest squad of the season.
However, with Jose Enrique injured and Lucas Leiva attending the birth of his daughter, the Liverpool manager’s hand was forced somewhat with Aly Cissokho coming in for his first Premier League start down the left flank.
From the early stages, it was clear there would be no repeat of Liverpool’s thumping 6-0 victory here back in April.
Newcastle were far brighter and showed greater desire, the reshuffled visitors well off the pace and continually coughing up possession cheaply.
And the Magpies moved into a merited lead on 23 minutes with a wonderful strike.
Nevertheless, questions will be asked of Cissokho’s failure to press Cabaye, allowing the Newcastle midfielder to progress to 25 yards from goal where he unleashed a swerving drive that left Simon Mignolet little chance.
Liverpool responded immediately when Suarez plucked a Gerrard corner out of the sky and crossed for Mamadou Sakho, whose diving header flew over the crossbar.
After Moussa Sissoko warmed the palms of Mignolet with a shot from range, Sturridge released Suarez but Krul was equal to the Uruguayan’s first-time effort.
And Rodgers’s side were level three minutes before the interval. Yanga-Mbiwa allowed Suarez to get goalside to a Victor Moses throughball, and dragged down the Liverpool man inside the area for a clear penalty and, as last man, an automatic red card.
Despite Newcastle protestations, Suarez had been played onside by Cheick Tiote, racing back into play having been down injured. Krul guessed the right way but Gerrard’s penalty was too strong.
Playing against 10 men should have been the sign for Liverpool to kick on, and Johnson forced Krul into a save shortly after the interval.
But they remained lacklustre, Martin Skrtel required to execute a fine tackle to nick the ball off the toes of Loic Remy from a Cabaye pass.
And Liverpool fell behind again on 57 minutes. Kolo Toure could only glance on a deep Cabaye free-kick delivery, and with Cissokho ball-watching, substitute Paul Dummett was able to steal in at the far post to score.
It was only in the final quarter Liverpool began to move the ball around with purpose to take advantage of their numerical advantage, Suarez soliciting another save from Krul.
And on 72 minutes they drew level for a second time. Fine play from Moses released Suarez down the inside left channel, and the Uruguayan clipped the ball over Krul across goal for Sturridge to direct home with a flying header.
Further good combination down the left by Gerrard and Cissokho set up a shooting chance from 15 yards that Suarez smashed against the crossbar.
misdirected a volley when found inside the six-yard box by Gerrard’s raking pass and Krul saved a free-kick from Suarez with the last kick of
the match, but the draw was the right result.
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-1-4-1): Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Tiote; Gouffran, Cabaye (Anita 78), Sissoko (Dummett 45), Remy; Ben Arfa (Sammy Ameobi 78). Subs: Elliot, Cisse, Shola Ameobi, Obertan.
BOOKINGS: Gouffran and Debuchy (foul).
SENDING-OFF: Yanga-Mbiwa (professional foul).
LIVERPOOL (4-2-3-1): Mignolet; Toure, Skrtel, Sakho (Alberto 63); Johnson (Sterling 83), Henderson, Gerrard, Cissokho; Moses; Sturridge, Suarez. Subs: Jones, Agger, Allen, Kelly, Flanagan. BOOKINGS: Gerrard, Toure and Sturridge (all fouls).
REFEREE: Andre Marriner.