Newcastle United’s momentum continued to soar as Ayoze Perez struck his second goal in as many games to beat Liverpool at St James’ Park.

The Spaniard struck in the second half after replacing Papiss Cisse at half-time after reacting quickest to a loose ball in the box and lashing past Simon Mignolet.

It was just reward for the Magpies, who were disciplined from start to finish and attacked their Merseyside opponents with pace and numbers thanks to a 4-3-3 formation and some fine individual performances.

Moussa Sissoko was arguably the star of the show, running the midfield with his power and athleticism. Special mention must go to Mehdi Abeid though, after the Algerian filled in for the injured Cheick Tiote effortlessly on his first ever Premier League start.

Paul Dummett effectively marked Raheem Sterling out of the game, while Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor were rarely troubled by the lackadaisical Mario Balotelli.

Neutral viewers may say that the game lacked incident and tempo but for Newcastle fans, they will be hugely encouraged by their side’s performance and discipline.

Cisse started up front after missing the wins over Spurs and Manchester City and had the home side’s first sight of goal. Martin Skrtl dived in to deflect the Senegal striker’s snapshot over the bar from the edge of the box.

Five minutes later, referee Andre Marriner had a decision to make as Sissoko hit the floor inside the box under Joe Allen’s challenge but waved away the protests. Replays showed there wasn’t a great deal of contact and Cisse was blocking the ref’s view of the tackle.

Cisse was involved in a better chance minutes later, when Colback’s corner from the left found him at the far post. The striker was off balance when he flicked an effort towards goal and with Mignolet on the floor after making a hash of an attempted catch, Glen Johnson cleared off the line.

In response, Liverpool started to come forward but looked far from the team that scored over 100 domestic goals last season. Sterling couldn’t get any change out of Dummett, while Gerrard’s passing wasn’t helped by Balotelli’s lack of movement up front.

Perhaps it was no surprise that Brendan Rodgers’ side came closest to scoring from a set piece. Gerrard’s corner was met powerfully by Skrtl but the Slovakian headed narrowly wide of Tim Krul’s near post.

As the visitors became more of an attacking threat as the half wore on, Newcastle’s counter-attacking skills came to light. Sissoko powered away on one occasion before being hauled down by a scruffy Skrtl tackle.

Newcastle needed a free-kick specialist for the resulting set piece but with Ryan Taylor on the bench, Cisse floated an effort way off target.

Balotelli tried a free kick of his own after the break but Krul handled brilliantly as the ball bounced just in front of him.

Rodgers introduced former Sunderland loanee Fabio Borini but the Italian couldn’t net his customary goal against Newcastle, despite a powerful half-volley from Sterling’s layoff.

Another Newcastle counter-attack proved the difference in the end though. Sissoko was involved heavily as he carried possession deep into Liverpool’s half before finding Dummett on the left. The local lad’s ball into the box was trapped rather than cleared by Alberto Moreno and his Spanish counterpart Perez was on hand to lash past Mignolet to give Newcastle the lead.

Minutes later Newcastle should have made it two when Perez and fellow sub Remy Cabella broke away following a Liverpool corner but the Frenchman’s finish was deflected wide by Mignolet’s trailing leg.

There was a heart-warming moment late on as Daryl Janmaat booted Balotelli into next week and that kind of competitiveness saw Newcastle secure their third win over opposition from last season’s top six in the last week.