Newcastle 1-5 Reds: What the back page’s say

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Sunday’s fantastic hammering of Newcastle, which sees the Reds go into the new year three points clear at the top of the League, has earned high praise from the journalist’s in the morning newspapers. Many highlight the standing ovation received by Gerrard when substituted in the 71st minute, while also acclaiming Rafa Benitez’s side to be ready to push for a title challenge. At last, Liverpool are being taken seriously as title contenders.

Henry Winter of The Telegraph sets the tone;

“The Toon Army stood in salute of a player who had given everything, who had shown pride in the shirt and whose technique, work-rate and movement demanded the very deepest respect. The object of Newcastle United fans’ heart-felt acclaim was their nemesis, Steven Gerrard, who struck twice and sent out another message that Liverpool mean serious business in the Premier League.”

He praises the performance of youngsters Lucas Leiva and Emiliano Insua, and, of course, Gerrard;

“Gerrard drove his team to another triumph, firing in the first, creating the second for Sami Hyypia and third for Ryan Babel, and scoring the fourth before Xabi Alonso put away a penalty to ensure Liverpool enter the New Year in pole position.”

Joe Kinnear said of Gerrard; ‘œHe’s probably the best player I’ve seen for a long, long time.”

Winter explains how had it not been for Shay Given’s quality, Lucas would have had a hat-trick (and Liverpool 10). With Sammy Lee commenting on the previously under-fire Brazilian; “Lucas was terrific but we are not surprised. We have never had any doubts about him.”

Colin Young in The Daily Mail touches on the fact Liverpool’s starting 11 were missing several first team players in the shape of Torres, Alonso, Skrtel, Riera, Arbeloa, Aurelio and Keane;

“Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, still confined to the stands where he could relax and have his photo taken with a pretty blonde during the game, could afford to rest Robbie Keane and Albert Reira, keep Fernando Torres away from bench duty, sit Xabi Alonso on there for emergencies and even replace Steven Gerrard in the 71st minute after he had scored twice to make his season’s tally 13.”

George Caulkin in The Times colourfully describes the win;

“They say that football is not a science, yet St James’ Park witnessed a dissection yesterday. Liverpool were like a surgeon’s scalpel, slashing at Newcastle United with a clinical efficiency that added authority to their claims on the title, their biggest victory of the season achieved without the signings designed to make them champions.”

The last word goes to Kinnear who praised; “They look future champions. The game was one-sided because Liverpool are a world-class side.”

Read media match reports, download the goals and highlights and view photos here