Football

Four things we learned from Liverpool's 2-0 win over Newcastle

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Raheem Sterling's seventh Premier League goal of the season seen Liverpool move up to fifth in the top-flight with a win against Newcastle United.

Sterling had been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the lead up to the game after being pictured taking 'laughing gas.'

However, the 20-year-old soon showed his talent when scoring a superb solo goal fro 15 yards out after nine minutes.

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Newcastle could have easily had a penalty on the stroke of half-time when Dejan Lovren hacked down Ayoze Perez inside the box however Lee Mason turned down the appeal.

With 20 minutes to play, the ball kindly dropped to Joe Allen inside the box following a poor clearance and the Welshman slotted his effort past Tim Krul to wrap the three points up for the Reds.

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Liverpool moved above Southampton into fifth with the victory and trail four-place Manchester City by just four points.

Sterling in headlines for right reasons

It has been frustrating as a Kopite watching the off-field antics of Sterling in recent weeks.

His contract negotiations of him apparently demanding £180,000 a week to remain at Anfield have constantly been criticised by Liverpool fans who believe he is demanding too much after achieving little at the Merseyside outfit.

Add that to the England international being snapped taking 'laughing gas' and smoking a shisha pipe, which makes many question whether he is worth the possible trouble he could cause at the club.

However, his superb solo goal showed fans what a delight he is to watch when at the top of his game.

The former QPR man's first touch to control Jordan Henderson's long-ball was top-class and the way he skipped past Ryan Taylor and Gabriel Obertan was effortless, before calmly slotting his effort past a helpless Krul.

The crowd was delighted - however most were still reserved about celebrating just too much.

Sterling seemingly grabbed the Liverpool crest for a brief second when celebrating, which brings hope that an agreement will be made for him to extend his time at the five-time European Cup winners.

But he's not the finished article

Sterling's goal was a superb finish that any player in the world would be proud of.

Nonetheless, he still has a lot to learn about the game and is nowhere near the player many have made him out to be and must improve.

His strike was his seventh league goal of the season, however, that tally could and should be in double figures.

Sterling missed an absolute sitter in the second-half when Taylor failed to clear the ball, with the Jamaica-native pushing the ball wide from four yards out.

What's considerably noticeable about Sterling's game is that he is all right-foot.

This is a trait that will severely halt a young players progress and it will get him into bad habits in the future. To miss a chance like he did could be crucial in the future and he must work on strengthening his weaker boot.

His first-touch was glorious to take Henderson's ball down for his goal, but he too must improve that.

Too often, Sterling found the ball racing away from him in good positions.

Lovren hit and miss

Dejan Lovren has had a tough time since his £20 million move from Southampton last summer and been given little opportunity in Rodgers' side in the past six months.

He was drafted into the side as a replacement last week in the FA Cup against Blackburn due to the suspensions of Emre Can and Martin Skrtel and the injury to Mamadou Sakho seen the Croat keep his place in Brendan Rodgers' side.

In the early stages of the game, it looked as if the penny had finally dropped for Lovren. He was defending with confidence and clarity, winning headers and using the ball wisely to start attacks for his side.

However, all soon went down hill when he chopped down Perez prior to the break. It was a rash, stupid challenge that the 25-year-old should never have committed to.

After the break, he almost gifted a chance to the Magpies when he failed to look around him.

There were positives and negatives from Lovren's performance, however it is the poor actions that most, including Rodgers, will remember.

Momentum To Wembley

Liverpool's performance wasn't the greatest against Newcastle, however, it was much improved following their back-to-back losses to Manchester United and Arsenal.

They now travel to Wembley on Sunday where they meet Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final.

The Birmingham side romped to a 1-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane last weekend and Tim Sherwood has provided plenty of confidence within the side.

The losses to United and Arsenal gave the Reds camp a real knock in confidence as they seen their chances of a top-four finish took a serious blow.

However, a decent display against the north-east outfit will bring plenty of momentum to the Liverpool squad.

Rodgers' men will be boosted by the return of Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel, who have both missed the last three matches due to suspension, and Adam Lallana could to return from injury.

Jordan Ibe performed impressively against Newcastle for 60 minutes after returning from injury and he will appreciate the minutes and should come on leaps and bounds once again.

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Topics:
Raheem Sterling
Football
Premier League
Liverpool
Newcastle United

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