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Liverpool Careless do not deserve topfour finish Jürgen Klopp admits


Liverpool Liverpool deserve Klopp finish, Careless top-four not do admits Jürgen

Sat, 24 Apr 2021 13:00:00 +0100

Jürgen Klopp said wasteful finishing is likely to cost his Liverpool side Champions League qualification, while Steve Bruce lambasted as 'crazy' a VAR ruling out 

Last modified on Sat 24 Apr 2021 13.18 EDT

Jürgen Klopp said Liverpool did not deserve to qualify for the Champions League on the evidence of a careless display against Newcastle that led Steve Bruce to accuse “laughable” VAR of damaging the Premier League as a spectacle.

Liverpool benefited from a draconian VAR decision to disallow Callum Wilson’s 92nd-minute goal for handball only to concede again in the 95th minute when Joe Willock, another Newcastle substitute, scored via a deflection off Fabinho. The Premier League champions also squandered a host of chances to add to Mohamed Salah’s 20th league goal of the season and, having dropped two points to a late equaliser at Leeds on Monday, Klopp admitted his team had only themselves to blame for missing a chance to return to the top four.

“It is very tough to take but nobody knows that better than ourselves,” the Liverpool manager said. “We kept the game open for them. You better use your chances when you have them or they will come back again. That’s what happened and why Newcastle deserve a point.

“They scored a goal that was disallowed – it is the first present I can remember from VAR – but then we gave them another one.

“Why it happened, I don’t know. We had to keep the ball. In a specific way we don’t fight enough. Keep ourselves in a position where we dominate the game. We had 70% of the ball, we should have 80%. We created a lot of chances, didn’t score with them, so we have to create more. That is how it is. We don’t do that well at the moment. It feels like a defeat. If you deserve, you deserve it. I didn’t see us deserve it today, playing Champions League next year.”

Bruce was understandably delighted with his team’s reaction to the VAR decision and with a point that edges Newcastle closer to safety. But the application of VAR is, he believes, making a mockery of the game and damaging it as a spectacle.

“We have to do something about VAR, this rule. It ruins the spectacle,” the Newcastle manager said.

“What an absolutely ridiculous decision not to allow the goal. We are going to have to look at this crazy rule because VAR is becoming laughable with this letter-of-the-law interpretation. It doesn’t make sense. We have just closed down a Super League with the opinions of lots of people. Can we not do the same in the Premier League? VAR was brought in for clear and obvious errors but it has become a nonsense and not a great spectacle.”

Liverpool

Sat, 24 Apr 2021 13:00:00 +0100

Newcastle substitute Joe Willock scores a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser to damage Liverpool's hopes of Champions League football

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Newcastle substitute Joe Willock scored a dramatic but deserved 95th-minute equaliser to deny Liverpool a much-needed win in their pursuit of Champions League football.

Mohamed Salah's early goal appeared to have put the champions on track for a vital three points as they chase a top-four finish at the end of a disappointing season.

But despite dominating early on, Jurgen Klopp's side were unable to finish the game off and were given a lifeline they failed to take when Callum Wilson's last-minute equaliser was ruled out for handball.

Steve Bruce's much-improved visitors kept up the late pressure and were rewarded when Willock fired in for the third match in a row with the last kick of the game to strengthen their own position at the bottom of the table.

Reds fans must now look on as West Ham and Chelsea – both a point ahead of their sixth-placed side – meet later on Saturday.

It was already a season to forget for Liverpool with a meek title defence and trophyless campaign, even before the off-field distraction of this week's aborted interest in the European Super League.

There were muted protests against the club's owners as the team coach arrived at Anfield but the players themselves were loudly cheered and the disruption was nothing like that seen at Arsenal on Friday night.

Salah's superb early goal, spinning to control a clearance and smash in what is – remarkably – Liverpool's first first-half goal at home in 2021, seemed to set them on track for a win that would calm matters on and off the pitch.

Jurgen Klopp lined up Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota alongside Salah in an attacking line-up and they all had chances, with Magpies keeper Martin Dubravka making eight saves in a solid if unspectacular showing.

But as the game wore on Liverpool's intensity and drive faded, an all-too-familiar sight in recent months.

Newcastle's late rally meant two more dropped points for the home side and a disappointing season that may yet end without even a Champions League place next term.

Newcastle came into the game on the back of a run of one defeat in seven games that had steered them away from danger, and their last-ditch Anfield exploits have now pushed them nine points ahead of Fulham in 18th place. Surely they are safe?

Bruce has been heavily criticised for his approach throughout his time in charge and Newcastle's defensive, containing 5-4-1 shape had no immediate effect as Salah crashed in following Ciaran Clark's poor clearing header.

But in Allan Saint-Maximin the visitors had the game's most lively attacker and he carried a threat single-handedly for most of the match.

Joelinton then could, maybe should have equalised but Alisson kept out his effort before Wilson scrambled in at the second attempt. But the ball did hit his arm and VAR ruled it out.

Many teams would have crumbled at such late disappointment so all credit to Newcastle for going again, and Willock was sure in his finish as he drilled in via a deflection from 10 yards out.

Liverpool have the small matter of a trip to Old Trafford next Sunday to take on Manchester United, while Newcastle welcome Arsenal on the same day.

Player of the match

WillockJoseph Willock

4.96

4.92

4.90

4.73

4.68

4.67

4.61

4.53

4.39

4.32

4.28

4.00

3.53

8.47

7.72

7.65

7.45

6.69

6.68

6.61

6.56

6.50

6.41

6.32

6.30

6.28

5.99

Formation 4-4-2

Formation 5-3-2

Match ends, Liverpool 1, Newcastle United 1.

– April 24, 2021
Liverpool Careless do not deserve topfour finish Jürgen Klopp admits