North-east debacle sums up Liverpool

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In normal circumstances, you'd find it difficult not to feel sorry for Liverpool after a series of inaccurate refereeing decisions cost them dear against Newcastle United.

Danny Simpson's handball, the offside position taken up by Papiss Demba Cisse in the lead up to his second goal and the dismissal of Pepe Reina all contributed to the Reds' decline at the Sports Direct Arena.

However, despite such a bad turn of luck, the rest of their performance gave you a feeling they'd done little to deserve a change in fortunes.

Not that any side deserves to have decisions go against them, you could make a firm argument why each incident justifiably went in favour of the angels of the piece, Newcastle.

First came Andy Carroll's dive when faced with the whites of the eyes of Tim Krul. The Dutchman withdrew from the challenge, and Carroll, in what had to be considered a pre-meditated move, crashed to the floor. Thank goodness, Martin Atkinson saw through Carroll's blunt act of cheating, with a miserly yellow card being branded.

The incident marred what had gone before, a pure microcosm of Carroll's brilliance and undoubted talent. His physic held off the otherwise brilliant Mike Williamson, his pace seeing him slalom past James Perch, only for what must be labelled as a lack of confidence saw him take the cowards way out. He wouldn't have even had to take the penalty.

The second came via the naive defending from the usually reliable Martin Skrtel. The Slovakian has brushed aside some of the Premier League's most feared forwards amidst his own side's struggles, but clearly forgot to do his homework when challenged with Hatem Ben Arfa.

Without wanting to downplay the talents of the fleet-footed Frenchman, limited use of his right foot makes him a one dimensional player to defend against, or so it seems.

Where John Arne Rise, Keiran Gibbs and Jonas Olsson have previously, Skrtel joined the list, allowing Ben Arfa plenty of time to dazzle with his trusty left-foot, as his delicious cross allowed Cisse to open the scoring.

For players who consider themselves to be Premier League footballers, this regular inability to conduct basic research prior to games to halt the threat of Ben Arfa makes a mockery of their job description. While Skrtel failed miserably, full-back Jose Enrique, probably Liverpool's best player, dealt adequately with the efficient winger.

To cap the Anfield side's miserable afternoon, Reina found himself sent off for clashing with Perch, who had fouled the Spanish stopper moments before.

In direct parallel with Skrtel's naivety in defence, Reina showed a lack of common sense in confronting Perch, and subsequently ducked his head towards the defender.

Atkinson could only give what he saw, and Reina handed him little option than to dismiss the stopper.

Reina has enough experience of the modern-day footballer, who is intent of emphasising any slip up from his opponent; he lost his cool, his red was coming.

These three flash-points, along with a toothless display throughout gives you little reason to feel sorry for Liverpool's bad luck. Only when they start creating their own will their fortunes change.

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