Liverpool players returned from the international break in style to cruise to a 3-0 victory at St James’ Park against a lacklustre Newcastle side.
Steven Gerrard had a superb game, ignoring the ignorent booing from the Toon Armey to show why he is world class despite recent criticism following his performances for England.
It was the Reds skipper that put the visitors ahead with a cracking shot on 29 minutes, thunderbolting past Shay Given from 30-yards out.
Fernando Torres could have made it two shortly after when he hit the post and was frustrated by a strong performance from Given, denying him on several occasions.
Just one minute into the second half, Liverpool doubled their lead when Sami Hyypia flicked on a Gerrard corner for Kuyt to scramble home. The Dutchs triker didn’t know much about the goal, his fifth goal of the campaign.
Half-way through the second half, substitute Ryan Babel added a third with the most beautiful of team goals. A fifteen pass move from the Reds was rounded off with an exquisite link-up between Gerrard and Babel, with the Dutchman finishing low past Given’s right from the just inside the area.
It could have been four or five as Liverpool continued to attack throughout the second half, whilst Newcastle fans called for the head of manager Sam Allardyce.
The result keeps Rafa Benitez’s men in the title race, and with Bolton defeating Manchester Utd at the Reebok Stadium this afternoon, this is shaping out to being a very exciting Premier League season indeed.
Match Report By Matthew Watson
After the strange and misguiding events of the last few days, this was all Liverpool fans wanted to put a smile back on their faces with an emphatic 3-0 win over Big Sam Newcastle side.
Liverpool never gave the Geordies a sniff throughout and even with our El Nino misfiring in front of goal, Liverpool overcame Big Sams men with ease with a big thanks
to skipper Steven Gerrard who overcame harsh constant booing from the home support due to the mid week exploits to put in his best performance of the season capped with a stunning 25 yard screamer.
Out of form Dirk Kuyt started the game with Fernando Torres upfront and put in a good, professional performance capped with a goal (however fortunate it was) which will hopefully keep his critics who were calling harshly for him to leave, leave him alone for at least abit. Brazilian wiz kid Lucas Leiva started his first Premiership game and put in a very impressive performance partnering Momo Sissoko in the centre of midfield.
Liverpool dominated the game from the off, but it wasn’t until half way through the first half that Liverpool really tested the Newcastle goal when man of the match Steven Gerrard charged with the ball to hit a 25 yard swiveling strike that moved awkwardly in the air for a wrong footed Given to beat away the ball well from danger. Liverpool were looking more comfortable by the minute with a rare sight to behold enforced this when we saw Jamie Carragher bombing forward to hit a 40 yard strike to see it fly way wide of Shay Givens net. (maybe next time Jamie, keep trying) Liverpool got their reward for their dominance when they were awarded a free kick in shooting range of the Newcastle goal. The impressive Lucas laid the ball off for skipper Gerrard to bang a thunderbolt made better by the pressure he was under by two Newcastle players who had chased him down to see their efforts in vein when the ball flied into the top of the net giving Irelands number 1 no chance. Newcastle barely had a sniff in the first half with only Alan Smith coming anywhere near testing Reina in the Liverpool net when we saw his volley sail just wide of the goal. Just before the close of the first half, Shay Given came rushing out his box to thwarted Fernando Torres effort, only for him to stop, the almost certain goal bound effort with his arm, for the referee to not see it, luckily for Liverpool the ball fell to the foot of Torres to have a free goal to slot the ball into from 25 yards for him agonizingly to hit the post.
Half Time: 0-1
Liverpool began the second half much like the first, and got their just rewards after being denied a goal by Givens handball, when a minute in, Gerrard’s corner from the left was flicked on nicely by Sami Hyypia for it luckily to hit Dirk Kuyt on the knee and go in. He didn’t know much about it, but luckily for us he was their in the right place at the right time. The set piece itself was clearly a worked one from the training ground.
Newcastle couldn’t get a sniff of the ball, with Rafas’ men in complete control over the team in black and white. Fernando Torres came agonisingly close twice in the space of two minutes, firstly seeing his good work pressuring the Newcastle defence inside their box saw his chance go just wide of the right hand post, and then his chance was well saved by Given.
The second half saw the introduction of the excellent Ryan Babel, who within 5 minutes of his introduction scored his second league goal for the club, when he and Gerrard combined well down the left, for Gerrard to slide Babel in to slot home nicely past Given.
Torres had another handful of excellent chances all for them to see either go agonisingly close or saved by Given. Liverpool saw the game out in ease, and on another day could have so easily have been 6 or 7. It was great to hear the Liverpool fans out singing the home support who were kept quiet throughout, and was lovely to hear the barcodes being booed of the pitch after them being run ragged by our lads. Mind you, I did enjoy the home support’s “Big Sam for Ingerlund!”
Very good performance and result with some very good performances, especially from Lucas, Gerrard and Babel. Also Mr. Harry Kewell put in a nice shift of near an hour, just hopefully now he can stay fit.
Don’t rule us out yet the rest of the country, because we certainly by no means are out of the title hunt yet.
Man of the Match: Steven Gerrard
Team Line-ups & Stats
Given, Geremi, Beye, Rozehnal, Jose Enrique (Carr 78), Smith, Butt, Emre (Barton 51), N’Zogbia (Milner 59), Viduka, Martins.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Edgar.
Booked: Butt, Beye, Smith.
Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Arbeloa, Gerrard (Crouch 80), Lucas, Sissoko, Kewell (Babel 58), Torres, Kuyt (Riise 76).
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Mascherano.
Goals: Gerrard 28, Kuyt 46, Babel 66.
Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)
————- NEW — LIV
Shots (on Goal) 6(2) 17(11)
Fouls 13 11
Corner Kicks 0 8
Offsides 5 1
Time of Possession 39% 61%
Saves 5 1