Eddie Howe has urged Newcastle to take heart from a difficult night as they turn their attention to the Carabao Cup final.
The Magpies will attempt to end the club’s 68-year wait for a domestic trophy when they run out against Manchester United at Wembley next Sunday on the back of just their second Premier League defeat of the season, both at the hands of Liverpool.
They will do so without the services of keeper Nick Pope, whose first-half dismissal against the Reds, who were already leading 2-0 at the time, sparked a fightback which failed to yield tangible rewards, but said much about the character of head coach Howe’s team as they were twice denied by the crossbar.
Asked about the impact of a tumultuous evening on Tyneside, he said: “I don’t think it will be damaging for us because of the manner of the defeat.
“No-one wants to lose, but there are ways to lose. We lost having a real go at a top team with 10 men for a huge part of the game.
“We passed the ball, we still tried to press them and not be too passive, we counter-attacked really well, so there were a lot of aspects of our play that were very, very good.
“If anything from the players’ perspective, it should whet the appetite for what we can be. If we can play that way with a man down, what can we do with even numbers?”
Newcastle had conceded only 13 league goals in 22 games before Liverpool – the only team to have taken three points against them this season before kick-off – arrived at St James’ Park.
But within 22 minutes, they had been fatally undone, Darwin Nunez and then Cody Gakpo taking advantage of balls over the top of a previously miserly defence to score before Pope handled outside his box in his efforts to deal with a third before Mohamed Salah could pounce.
The former Burnley keeper, one of the Magpies stand-out performers since his £10million summer arrival, knew instantly the implication of his error, and with Martin Dubravka cup-tied and Karl Darlow on loan at Hull, Loris Karius, yet to appear for his new club, looks certain to be handed the chance to erase the memory of his 2018 Champions League final disaster in what proved to be his final game for Liverpool.
Howe, who will have key midfielder Bruno Guimaraes back from his three-match suspension at Wembley and hopes Joe Willock will be fit after a hamstring injury, now faces the task of circling the wagons with the club’s hopes of a top-four finish having been dealt a further blow after a run of five draws in six outings.
Asked if a testing night could prove good preparation for Sunday’s game, he replied: “Yes, you can look at it that way. I think you have to look at it positively. Probably it was ideal opposition for next week.
“But we weren’t looking at it that way. We were looking to try to win this Premier League game in isolation and we’re disappointed we haven’t done that.”