Jurgen Klopp urges Liverpool to put Newcastle draw behind them
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has urged his players not to dwell on how they threw away a 2-0 lead against Newcastle.
Daniel Sturridge struck after just 58 seconds and Adam Lallana's goal on the half-hour had the Reds cruising in the first half only for the visitors to equalise through Papiss Cisse and Jack Colback with two of the Magpies' three shots on target.
It was not the ideal preparation ahead of an important Europa League semi-final first leg in Villarreal - equally so the pre-match news that defender Mamadou Sakho had failed a drugs test from last month.
The France defender was not considered for selection - although the club was keen to stress he has not been suspended either by them or UEFA - and is likely to ask for his B sample to be tested before Tuesday's deadline after his initial positive result for a substance used in 'fat-burning' supplements.
It was an unnecessary distraction to Klopp's plans when he discovered the news on Friday but the German wants to move on from the disappointment of the result.
"We cannot think about the reason (for drawing) too much," he said.
"We were dominant and played football. We did really well against an intensive opponent but you need a bit of luck in decisive moments.
"We had this penalty situation, I think it was a clear penalty (when Daniel Sturridge appeared to be fouled by Cheik Tiote).
"A 2-2 draw is not too good but we have to accept it."
Liverpool have had a physically and mentally draining couple of months and Lallana felt that may have contributed to their second half performance.
"It is very frustrating after such a positive performance in the first half," he told liverpoolfc.com.
"I felt we took our foot off the gas a bit and we lost momentum and credit to Newcastle who probably got a deserved point.
"It wasn't for us not fighting and trying to get back in the game but there was 15 to 20 minute period at the start of the second half and Newcastle seemed to pounce on that.
"We have set our standards high in the last few months which is why I am so disappointed for the lads.
"It is disappointing but we have a big game to look forward to now on Thursday."
On the positive side Sturridge's goal was his 11th of the season in just 21 matches this season - one behind leading scorer Philippe Coutinho who has featured 37 times - and his fourth in his last five appearances.
"He is in the best shape for a few months - I don't know for how long but now [playing] 90 minutes is no real problem any more and that's good," he said.
"You cannot see a difference between the first 60 and the last 30. For us, it's very important.
"It was a wonderful goal very early in the game. It was not a real chance to be honest but he made the best of it. It was good."