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Ten-man Magpies perform superbly to claim a point
NEWCASTLE overcame the first-half dismissal of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to claim a spirited 2-2 draw with Liverpool.
Despite playing for more than 45 minutes with ten men, the Magpies claimed a point against a visiting side who have nevertheless moved to the top of the Premier League table for at least a couple of hours.
Yohan Cabaye's fantastic long-range strike fired Newcastle into a 23rd-minute lead, but Yanga-Mbiwa was dismissed on the stroke of half-time for tugging back Luis Suarez in the box.
Steven Gerrard converted the penalty, only for the Magpies to claim the lead for a second time shortly before the hour mark when substitute Paul Dummett turned in Cabaye's free-kick.
Liverpool levelled again when Daniel Sturridge headed home Suarez's cross, but Newcastle held out despite their man disadvantage and deserve considerable credit for digging deep to produce an extremely committed display.
With Mike Williamson, Mathieu Debuchy and Cheik Tiote all excellent in a defensive capacity, this is a result that should bolster morale ahead of next weekend's Wear-Tyne derby, even if Yanga-Mbiwa's suspension means the return of Steven Taylor could be crucial.
Alan Pardew made two changes to the side that won at Cardiff, with Hatem Ben Arfa replacing Papiss Cisse and Yanga-Mbiwa coming in for the injured Fabricio Coloccini.
Ben Arfa started as the central attacker, with Loic Remy remaining on the left, and Newcastle's system worked effectively for the opening half hour.
Debuchy saw an early long-range shot easily gathered by Simon Mignolet, and while Davide Santon was forced to nod Suarez's header off the line after the striker met Gerrard's corner, there was nothing to choose between the sides in the early exchanges.
If anything, Newcastle carried more early threat despite the dangerous movement of Suarez and Sturridge, and they claimed the lead through a fantastic goal from Cabaye in the 23rd minute.
The Frenchman picked the ball up close to the halfway line, dribbled down the right-hand channel, and unleashed a venomous bouncing 30-yard effort that curled away from Mignolet and into the left-hand corner of the net.
It was a brilliant goal that helped complete Cabaye's St James' Park rehabilitation following his refusal to play as he attempted to force through a move to Arsenal in the early weeks of the season.
Cabaye went close again shortly after the half-hour mark, and when Mignolet was forced to produce an excellent save to parry a fierce 25-yard strike from Moussa Sissoko shortly after, Newcastle were comfortably in the ascendancy.
However, the game changed in an instant when Yanga-Mbiwa was dismissed for a tug on Suarez five minutes before the break.
The French centre-half was caught on the wrong side of Suarez when the Uruguayan raced on to a long ball from Sturridge, and while Newcastle were appealing for offside, Tiote's failure to clear his lines quickly enough after he had suffered a knock meant Suarez was at least half-a-yard onside.
Referee Andre Marriner brandished a straight red card after consulting with his assistant, and Gerrard stepped up to roll home his 100th league goal from the penalty spot.
Without a centre-half on the bench, Newcastle's defensive options were limited, and Pardew was forced to introduce Dummett for Sissoko, with the inexperienced youngster slotting in alongside Williamson at the heart of defence.
Liverpool started the second half brightly, and Tim Krul had to be at his most alert to turn Glen Johnson's shot around the post after the England full-back cut in from the flank.
The visitors must have fancied their chances against Newcastle's ten men, but if they thought the second half was going to be a cake-walk, they were reckoning without Dummett.
The youngster stole to the back post as Cabaye floated in a free-kick from the left-hand side, and after Martin Skrtel failed to clear, he found himself ideally positioned to turn the ball home from close range. It was the 22-year-old's first goal on his fifth senior appearance.
It took Liverpool a while to regain their composure after falling behind for a second time, but with their man advantage, the visitors finally began to exert increased pressure.
Krul did well to save from Suarez, but the Dutch goalkeeper was powerless to prevent Liverpool equalising for a second time with 18 minutes left.
Victor Moses released Suarez down the left-hand side, the Uruguayan stood up an inviting cross, and Sturridge powered ahead of his marker to head home from close range.
Minutes later, with the visitors continuing to pile on the pressure, Suarez clipped the top of the crossbar with a first-time shot after Moses rolled the ball back to him.
To their credit, Newcastle held out with Williamson and Debuchy especially effective in defence, but they were indebted to Krul for a fine stop late in stoppage time.
With Marriner inexplicably playing an extra seven minutes, Krul hurled himself to his left to keep out Suarez's free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.
NEWCASTLE (4-2-3-1): Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Tiote, Cabaye (Anita 78); Ben Gouffran, Sissoko (Dummett 45), Remy; Ben Arfa (Sammy Ameobi 78).
Subs (not used): Elliot (gk), Obertan, Shola Ameobi, Cisse.
LIVERPOOL (3-4-1-2): Mignolet; Toure, Skrtel, Sakho (Alberto 63); Johnson (Sterling 83), Henderson, Gerrard, Cissokho; Moses; Sturridge, Suarez.
Subs (not used): Jones (gk), Agger, Kelly, Flanagan, Allen.
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