Newcastle United took another huge step towards Europe, as Papiss Cisse’s latest goals extended Liverpool’s miserable run and increased the gap between the sides to 11 points. Cisse headed in the opener from Hatem Ben Arfa’s cross, before doubling his tally in the second half to send Newcastle level on points with 5th placed Chelsea.

Liverpool turned in another abject performance and the pressure on Kenny Dalglish is sure to increase, as Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll failed to create anything in front of goal. To make matters even worse, the visitors ended the game with ten men and Jose Enrique in goal, as Pepe Reina seen red for a headbutt on James Perch.

In the absence of Fabricio Coloccini, Jonas Gutierrez captained the Newcastle side and operated from left-back, with Perch partnering Mike Williamson in the centre of the home defence. The potent trio of Demba Ba, Cisse and Ben Arfa started up front for the Magpies and caused problems all afternoon.

Liverpool’s attack was spearheaded by a familiar figure for the Geordie nation, as Carroll tried to haunt his former club on his first return to his boyhood club. As expected, the powerful striker was roundly booed whenever he touched the ball, as were his fellow former Geordies Jose Enrique and Craig Bellamy.

Carroll started like a man with a point to prove and caused problems in the heart of the Newcastle defence with his aerial prowess. He was involved in nearly all of the visitors’ early attacks and had it not been for some last-ditch defending, he could have had his name on the score sheet for only the fourth time this season.

The striker was involved in the clearest opening of the first half too, when he made a chance for himself by connecting with his own flick on before playing it through the legs of Perch. Faced with a one on one with Tim Krul, the big striker attempted to dance round the Dutch keeper, before tumbling to the floor with all the grace of a 6’ 4” Bambi. Referee Mike Atkinson judged Carroll had dived and replays proved the man in the middle was spot on with his decision, much to the delight of the capacity crowd.

Liverpool remained dangerous though and were causing problems down the right flank, with Bellamy regularly getting the better of Gutierrez. One occasion led to a deflected cross being tipped onto the bar by Krul, before Martin Skrtel headed a chance over the bar moments later.

Newcastle eventually started to gain a foothold in the match and Ben Arfa’s ongoing tussle with Jose Enrique was mouth-watering. The Frenchman regularly dazzled the Spaniard with his skills but the former Newcastle man was able to execute a number of last-ditch tackles to deny Ben Arfa.

That was until the former Marseille man peeled away from his marker with a slick turn and drifted a superb cross over Skrtel’s head where Papiss Cisse was lurking to head back across goal and in off the far post. The strike was the Senegal man’s sixth goal in his last seven games and was even showing his opposite number nine how to head a ball, as Carroll continued to misfire.

The in-form striker could have had a second superb header too, but his glancing effort from Danny Guthrie’s cross drifted just wide of Pepe Reina’s far post.

After the break, Liverpool couldn’t find the attacking flair that caused problems for Newcastle in the first half, with Perch and Williamson exemplary in the heart of the Magpies’ defence. Williamson was also a problem in the Liverpool box too, as he headed Yohan Cabaye’s cross off the base of the post.

The second goal looked like coming from Newcastle and eventually it was Cisse who benefited once more, as Demba Ba’s cross caused problems in the area. There were debates over whether Cisse was onside or not, but once the ball fell to him, he showed fantastic composure to go round Reina before calmly finding the unguarded corner.

Cisse’s second knocked the wind out of Liverpool and the Reds couldn’t create any clear-cut chances. Carroll continuously gave the ball away – much to the amusement of the crowd – and Bellamy failed to get at Gutierrez at all.

Frustration boiled over for Liverpool when Reina was angered by Perch’s half-hearted attempt to nick a fumbled ball and confronted the former Nottingham Forest player before thrusting his head towards the defender. There was minimal – if any – contact but Atkinson was right in showing the Spanish keeper the red card and forcing Jose Enrique to don the gloves as Dalglish had already used all three subs.

The incident summed up Liverpool’s day and sent them to yet another defeat, increasing the gap between them and Newcastle to 11 points. As for the Geordie old boys, it was a day to forget as Enrique would never have imagined he’d be keeping goal against the side he left in pursuit of Champions League football for.