Eddie Howe wanted Newcastle United to show more consistency against Liverpool, bemoaning a lack of sustained pressure on their visitors.
Newcastle United suffered their first defeat in five games by losing 1-0 to Liverpool in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off. A solitary goal from Naby Keita proved to be the difference to condemn Howe’s men to defeat.
At this stage of the season, such a setback isn’t as weighty for Newcastle United as it would have been when they were in relegation danger. But still, Howe’s standards are high.
Therefore, he admitted they needed to raise their levels of consistency against a Liverpool side not at their best either.
Eddie Howe told Match of the Day: “I think Liverpool were probably not at their best but we weren’t either and when you play these games you have to be.
“We competed well but lacked the quality that could have got us a goal.
“It is difficult to it consistently against Liverpool as they have the quality to produce a counter-attack out of nothing. We were much more aggressive in the second half but did not have any concerted pressure in the game.
“We were not at our best today but we were still in the game right to the end, so there are positives to take. But we set our standards very high and next week we have to do much better.”
Eddie Howe explains Chris Wood decision
One factor that may have helped Newcastle would have been playing Chris Wood up front. However, Howe opted to rest the striker instead, bringing him on midway through the second half.
Of his 15 league appearances since his January transfer, this was the first time Wood has come on as a substitute.
Explaining that decision, he said: “We view every game independently. We needed to be strong down the sides against Liverpool’s wide players.
“Chris has been fantastic but it was an opportunity to look at something else.”
Newcastle are next in action a week on Sunday, when they visit another title challenger, Manchester City.