YOHAN Cabaye is hoping he has avoided a lengthy spell on the sidelines at Newcastle United.
The midfielder was forced off against Liverpool in yesterday’s draw at Anfield with a tight hamstring.
Cabaye opened the scoring with a stunning first-half goal – the 26-year-old dispatched a Hatem Ben Arfa cross past Brad Jones with a fierce right-footed shot – but Luis Suarez claimed a point for Brendan Rodgers’s side with a 67th-minute equaliser.
The France international – whose injury was today being assessed by the club’s medical team – has already been ruled out of Thursday night’s Europa League game against Club Brugge.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew – who also lost James Perch and Demba Ba to injuries in the game – is now waiting to discover if he will be available for Sunday’s home game against West Ham.
While Cabaye was delighted to score at Anfield, Suarez’s equaliser – and his own injury – took the shine off the afternoon, though he was content with the point United took back to Tyneside.
“It’s special to score at Anfield, but I would have preferred the goal got us three points, ” Cabaye said.
“We want to look forward and push up the table. It was difficult for us. I think a point here is a good point.”
Cabaye left the field after Suarez’s goal, and the France international’s hoping he caught it in time.
“I felt a tight hamstring,” added Cabaye. “I don’t think it’s too bad, but I prefer to come off the pitch.
“We have a lot of important games, and I don’t want to risk making it worse. I don’t know yet – we’ll see.”
Suarez upstaged Steven Gerrard on a landmark day for the Liverpool captain as he underlined his value to Brendan Rodgers’ side once again.
Gerrard became only the 10th player to make 600 appearances for the club but it was the 25-year-old Uruguay international who stole the show against Newcastle, who finished with 10 men after Fabricio Coloccini was sent off late on.
With Liverpool trailing to Yohan Cabaye’s fine strike late in the first half, Suarez produced a brilliant equaliser, but just could not inspire his team to victory.
Tim Krul made first save of note from Suarez, and the striker also headed wide from Gerrard’s cross.
Such was Liverpool’s dominance and confidence, Gerrard attempted a 60-yard free-kick in an attempt to catch Krul off his line but it dropped just over – unlike Xabi Alonso’s effort from inside his own half which beat Magpies keeper Steve Harper on this ground in 2006.
Newcastle took a foothold in the game and took the lead just before the break. Hatem Ben Arfa made a thrilling run to the byline and crossed to the far post where Cabaye controlled and smashed a superb half-volley past Brad Jones.
Demba Ba’s failure to last more than five minutes of the second half was something of a bonus for Liverpool, although he had not really posed much of a threat up to that point.
The home side picked up the tempo and just before the hour Suarez’s shot was turned around the post by Krul, with Sahin’s strike bouncing just past the same upright soon after.
Newcastle were restricted to counter-attacks and one could have resulted in a penalty when Skrtel challenged Ba’s replacement Sammy Ameobi, but referee Taylor judged it fair as Ameobi appeared to stand on the ball rather than being felled by the defender.
For all Rodgers’ insistence on short passing football, the equaliser came from a 50-yard ball out of defence by Enrique. However, to say it owed a lot to Suarez’s brilliance would be an understatement.
The Uruguay international, running at full tilt, controlled it on his shoulder, brought it down and quickly side-stepped Krul to roll it into the net.
Once again, Suarez had ignited Liverpool and when he cut in from the right byline soon afterwards, substitute Jonjo Shelvey could not get enough on the ball to divert it into the net.
Another Liverpool mistake, this time from Enrique, sent Ameobi racing clear but with Ben Arfa then shot tamely at Jones.
Newcastle captain Coloccini put his side under pressure when he raked his studs down the back of Suarez’s leg and was sent off with six minutes to go.
Still Suarez could not be contained and a deflected free-kick and freakish bounce almost snatched a bizarre winner in the last minute of added time.
Liverpool: Jones, Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Gerrard, Allen, Sahin (Downing 74), Fernandez Saez (Shelvey 66), Suarez, Sterling. Subs not used: Gulacsi, Assaidi, Henderson, Coates, Carragher. Goals: Suarez 67.
Newcastle: Krul, Anita, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Perch (Simpson 26), Cabaye (Ferguson 68), Gutierrez, Ben Arfa, Cisse, Ba (Sammy Ameobi 49). Subs not used: Harper, Williamson, Shola Ameobi, Obertan. Sent Off: Coloccini (84). Booked: Santon. Goals: Cabaye 43.
Att: 44,803 Ref: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).