Rafa Benitez reveals why Newcastle just couldn’t get close to Liverpool

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

Not many teams limit Liverpool to so few opportunities.

Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka faced just three shots in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Rafa Benitez’s side managed two shots on target themselves – Mohamed Diame forced a fine save from Loris Karius late in the first half – but Liverpool’s ability, physicality and intelligence told over the 90 minutes.

And the difference between the two teams was far greater than the scoreline suggested.

“Three on target, I was surprised,” said Benitez. “We wanted to be strong in defence and create more in counter-attack.

“We couldn’t do it, why? Because we have a very good team in front of us. We got into some good positions, and we were running full pace, but still we couldn’t beat them.

“When you pay money, you pay money not just because of their technical ability. It’s the quality, the decisions and the physicality.

“Everything that is the difference between teams.”

Newcastle take on Southampton at St James’s Park on Saturday. The game is followed by a 21-day break between fixtures.

“Every game is important, so if you win now everyone says ‘fantastic’, and we have more confidence,” said Benitez. “Maybe you can approach the next games with more confidence and you win more.

“But if you can’t win, you can still win at the end. You can win the last game and be safe. Every game is an opportunity and nothing else.

“We have the Tottenham game postponed, so it’s one less game. We have to go against Southampton, take three points, and if not, stay calm and carry on until the end.”