London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was left feeling “disappointed and frustrated” after a Newcastle side under the guidance of former Reds boss Rafael Benitez held his side to a 1-1 draw at St James’ Park on Sunday.
Victory would have seen Liverpool leapfrog champions Chelsea into fourth place.
But instead Klopp’s men go into the international break in seventh spot, behind unheralded northwest rivals Burnley on goal difference.
Liverpool took the lead through Philippe Coutinho’s stunning 30-yard effort just before the half-hour mark only for Joselu to equalise for Newcastle minutes later with the Magpies only clear attempt on goal all game.
Klopp then saw Liverpool, repeatedly criticised for their defensive frailty this season, squander several chances to take all three points.
“I am disappointed, frustrated, whatever you want,” Klopp told the BBC. “They (Newcastle) got one chance and scored. That doesn’t feel too fair…If you don’t help yourself no one else help you. It will be like this until we score.”
This result left promoted Newcastle in an encouraging ninth place and Spanish manager Benitez said: “If you see the points and see we are a promoted team then we are pleased but against Huddersfield and Brighton we could have done something more. We have what we have. We are happy with that.”
Before kick-off, Newcastle fans unveiled a huge banner with a message in Spanish in support of Benitez that translated as: “We will follow you everywhere, we’ll always support you. In spite of the lies they tell us, we’ll never doubt you. We are with you.”
The message was similar to a chant fans of Valencia, one of Benitez’s former clubs, used to sing in support of the manager.
The Newcastle boss, who remains a popular figure with many Liverpool followers too, said: “My relationship with Liverpool fans comes from years, here it is a fantastic relationship too and I am enjoying every minute.”
Sunday’s other Premier League matches saw Burnley pile the pressure on Everton manager Ronald Koeman with a 1-0 win at Goodison Park while Arsenal marked the 21st anniversary of Arsene Wenger’s appointment as their manager with a 2-0 success at home to Brighton.
Burnley’s Jeff Hendrick crowned an excellent team move in the 21st minute to score the only goal of the game as the Clarets left the big-spending Toffees, who have won just twice in seven league matches so far this season, a mere two points above the relegation zone.
– ‘Flexibility’ –
Nevertheless Dutch great Koeman told Sky Sports afterwards: “I’m not unhappy what I saw from the team, they showed today how we had to play.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche added: “I’ve spoken about the flexibility of the side. We can play when we need to, and be longer and stronger when we have to — but we can defend too.”
Meanwhile Wenger said “humility” was the biggest lesson he had learnt as Arsenal marked the 21st anniversary of his appointment with a 2-0 win at home to Brighton.
Nacho Monreal’s 16th-minute goal gave Arsenal the lead at the Emirates before Alex Iwobi’s second-half strike secured all three points for the Gunners.
Victory gave Arsenal their third win in six days, following Monday’s success against West Bromwich Albion and a Europa League victory away to BATE Borisov on Thursday.
“For us it was a very testing week, we had two home games, one long away trip in the Europa League.” Wenger told BT Sport. “We won the three games and that’s very positive.”
Asked what the one thing above all other that he had learnt from his time in north London, Wenger answered: “I would say humility.”