LONDON (Reuters) - Liverpool failed to mark captain Steven Gerrard’s 600th appearance for the club with a win when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle United in the Premier League at Anfield on Sunday which leaves them mired in mid-table.
Liverpool needed a well-taken 67th minute equaliser from Uruguay forward Luis Suarez to save a point after Newcastle took a first-half lead through Yohan Cabaye’s stunning strike.
Earlier, Queens Park Rangers and Reading drew 1-1 at Loftus Road, leaving the two sides still looking for their first League wins of the season and both in the relegation zone.
Gerrard was presented with a statue of Liverpool’s city emblem, the liver bird, by former skipper Gary McAllister before the match when manager Brendan Rodgers compared him to Superman although not even his astonishing powers could bring victory.
Hatem Ben Arfa created Newcastle’s opener with a superb run down the right before crossing for Cabaye who lashed the ball into the far corner of the net after 43 minutes.
Suarez levelled with an excellent goal when he controlled a long ball from Jose Enrique and rounded keeper Tim Krul to score.
Newcastle were then reduced to 10 men when captain Fabricio Coloccini was sent off for a careless lunge at Suarez in the closing stages.
The result left Newcastle in 10th spot, two places above Liverpool whose fans also had to contend with being soaked by a malfunctioning pitch sprinkler which drenched them instead of watering the pitch during the halftime break.
Liverpool have now gone five league matches without defeat - although they have only won one home match all season - and Rodgers told Sky Sports: ”Our possession was good and it was fast, but we just could not finish it off.
“That was our fifth draw in 10 (league) games but I am sure we will soon turn that into wins because with that type of football we will always create chances.”
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was upset that Coloccini was sent off but did not criticise referee Anthony Taylor, saying match officials had enough problems to deal with at the moment.
“He said he thought it was serious foul play. The morale of referees must be really low because of constant criticism and the issues around them are unfair. We accept his decision and I thought he had a good performance.”
In the early kickoff, QPR and Reading shared the points in an early-season relegation scrap at Loftus Road.
QPR manager Mark Hughes has been consistently backed by owner Tony Fernandes but Hughes admitted afterwards, “we need to get maximum points on the board as soon as possible.”
Former QPR defender Kaspars Gorkss put Reading ahead with an acrobatic volley in the 16th minute after the ball rebounded off the bar before Djibril Cisse equalised with a well-taken goal, controlling and firing home from close range after 66 minutes.
Adel Taarabt had a golden opportunity to win it for QPR in the closing stages but Reading keeper Alex McCarthy made a superb block with his feet to steer the ball past the post.
It was his second important save after a brilliant effort stopped Esteban Granero’s freekick in the first half.
The result left Reading in 18th place with five points from nine games and QPR 19th with four from 10.
Southampton, who have a worse goal difference than QPR, also have four points and are now bottom although they have a game in hand at West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
Manchester United moved into first place when they beat visitors Arsenal 2-1 on Saturday when Chelsea, who were top, slipped a place after being held to a 1-1 draw at Swansea City.