Danny Simpson - Newcastle United News

Familiar foes ensured Newcastle’s wretched run at Anfield continued as Kenny Dalglish’s side brushed aside the Magpies, running out 3-1 winners. Two strikes from former striker Craig Bellamy and a third from Steven Gerrard, who has tormented Newcastle regularly for years, did the damage.

Yohan Cabaye set the Geordies on their way with a debated goal, as the final touch came courtesy of Daniel Agger’s bicep to give Newcastle the lead. However, Dalglish’s side were too strong, even without Luis Suarez, and easily came back to take all three points on home soil.

After Hatem Ben Arfa inspired his side to the Boxing Day win over Bolton, it was somewhat of a surprise that Alan Pardew chose not to start with the French international, instead opting for 19-year old Slovenia international Haris Vuckic.

The youngster enjoyed an excellent league debut for the Geordies in the 3-2 defeat to West Brom, but found it tougher to impose himself in the intimidating surroundings of Anfield. Time and time again Vuckic was caught in possession and looked uncomfortable when he had the ball, which was rare as Liverpool dominated possession throughout the first 45 minutes.

However, Vuckic was involved in the opening goal, which came against the run of play when the visitors took the lead after 24 minutes. After losing possession, Vuckic chased down Glen Johnson and managed to block the England right-back’s attempted clearance with his face. As Vuckic held his face in pain and made his way towards the sidelines for treatment, the deflection landed at the feet of Ryan Taylor. Taylor, back in the side ahead of Davide Santon, whipped in a superb cross and after the slightest of touches from Yohan Cabaye; Daniel Agger couldn’t get out of the way and deflected it in off his arm, giving Newcastle a surprise lead.

The goal seemed to spur Liverpool on more than dishearten the home side though, and within five minutes they were level. Charlie Adam, after being jeered for some of his earlier poor passes, twisted onto his weaker right foot inside the box and slammed a cross into a dangerous area. Cheick Tiote was able to clear it away but only as far as former Magpie Craig Bellamy, who picked his spot well to claim his 150th goal in England.

Liverpool almost completed a quick fire turnaround minutes later, when Bellamy’s excellent corner was glanced wide by Martin Skrtel, with Adam inches away from making what would have been an ominous connection.

With the home side easily controlling the first half and probably unlucky to go in without a lead to show for their efforts, Pardew made a tactical half-time switch when Santon came on for the already booked Taylor, who was also carrying a knock.

However, it was another substitute that would change the course of the match, as he has done so many times over the years. Steven Gerrard came on for the home side and lifted the Anfield crowd when he replaced Charlie Adam. The Scouse talisman instantly provided Andy Carroll with a couple of sumptuous crosses, both of which the former Newcastle man couldn’t convert.

Another former Newcastle man made the breakthrough for Liverpool in the second half though, when Cheick Tiote’s foul on Agger gave Bellamy a free-kick to sink his teeth into. With the kick in a dangerous position for Tim Krul, Danny Simpson tried a last-minute change of position to potentially block the ball if it headed for Krul’s bottom right-hand corner. It was a good theory from the former Manchester United defender, but when Carroll realised and went back with him, it only conspired to block the Dutch keeper’s view. When Bellamy eventually smashed the free-kick goalwards, Krul’s vision and concentration was affected and Simpson’s slight touch couldn’t stop the strike from flying past all three men and into the net, giving Bellamy his second against his former employers.

Newcastle responded brightly to going behind, keeping possession well at times and forcing the home side deep into their own half without creating much in the way of goal scoring chances.

By far the best chance the Geordies created was when Cabaye slipped a superb through ball to Demba Ba, who was travelling away from goal at speed as he clipped it back over the onrushing Pepe Reina. It looked like Newcastle had found their equaliser, until the charging Martin Skrtel somehow hooked it off the line.

From then on it only looked like Liverpool were going to go on and get more goals and they duly did when Gerrard burst onto Jay Spearing’s slick pass and expertly finished from a tight angle. The Anfield legend had been on the pitch half an hour in total when he ripped Newcastle apart and left with the man of the match award, much to Bellamy’s potential annoyance. Bellamy had already gone off at this point, as an innocuous looking elbow from Coloccini left the spiky striker sporting a nasty cut over his eye.

Newcastle were unable to create anything since falling further behind and Liverpool should have had more. Carroll was desperate to score against the team that made him who he was but couldn’t as the crossbar and sheer luck prevented him from becoming the most unpopular man on Tyneside (again).

The defeat means Newcastle still haven’t won at Anfield since the Premier League kicked off nearly 20 years ago and slip below the Scousers once again in the current table. It’s interesting to think how many points the Geordies would have got over the years if a certain red number 8 hadn’t been playing.


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  1. dave

    Negative performance, no support for Ba, vuckic and cabaye ineffective, obertan had his worst game yet and there’s some stiff competition, should have started Ben Arfa up top and been positive

  2. dave

    PS: We won at anfield in the premier league in our first season up 93-94, rob lee and Andy Cole scored

  3. Denis Sullivan

    Whilst the players were timid and uninspired, the real problem was poor strategy and tactics which made Newcastle easy meat against an organised, harassing if boring side like Liverpool. A change of manager to stop the slide? The current high league position may be solely due to the wonderful opportunism of Ba.


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