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English Premier League (EPL)
West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
31 December 2011
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 44372
C. Bellamy 30', 67'
S. Gerrard 78'
D. Agger 25' (own goal)
90' + 3'
Once again Carroll has a chance as Krul and Williamson get into a mix-up just outside the area, but Carroll can't find the finish and the ball falls to Downing, but he fails as well and the ball goes well wide from his long range effort.
The home side are completely in control and more than willing to see out the game and claim all three points easily.
Liverpool seem desperate to try and get Carroll on the scoresheet, with Enrique racing down the left and looking for the striker, but Newcastle manage to clear the ball away from danger.
Liverpool now seem happy to hold onto their two goal lead, as the Newcastle attacks have dwindled out, allowing the home side to keep the ball and attack at will.
The home side are now in full control, looking to attack at will, with Newcastle being put on the back foot, especially with Gerrard being the main focal point for every Liverpool attack.
Assist Jordan Henderson
Goal Steven Gerrard
GOAL! Liverpool get their third of the game as captain fantastic Gerrard breaks into the box after a pass by Downing on the left hand side and knocks the ball through the legs of Krul and into the back of the net.
Greg Stobart: "Alan Pardew and Craig Bellamy just exchanged some heated words on the touchline as the Liverpool striker was replaced by Dirk Kuyt. You can be sure the Welshman had the last word in that altercation – and he will be hoping that his two goals will have the final say on the outcome on the pitch tonight."
Carroll once again is targeted by Gerrard, but once again he fails to get a goal as his header cannons off of Krul's bar and is eventually cleared
Newcastle should have got back on level terms straight away as Ba breaks the offside trap and puts the ball beyond Reina, but as the ball creeps towards goal Skrtel dives in to clear the ball
Goal Craig Bellamy
GOAL! Bellamy takes a free kick from just outside the box and unfortunately for Newcastle the ball hits off of Simpson in front of Krul and goes beyond the keeper and into the back of the net.
Hatem Ben Arfa
Liverpool should have taken the lead as Gerrard provides yet another ball towards Carroll, with the striker on his own this time, with only Krul to beat, but he takes a horrible first touch and the ball lansds easily in the keeper's arms, much to the amusement of the Newcastle fans behind the goal.
Gerrard nearly makes an instant impact for Liverpool as he gets the ball on the right wing and delivers a cross looking for Carroll in the box, but the striker can't get on the end of the ball as Williamson makes sure by holding off the striker.
Newcastle have a chance from a free kick after a superb passing move from the visitors sees Vuckic go down under a challenge from Spearing, but Cabaye can't make anything of the set piece as he blasts the ball over the bar and into the fans in the Kop.
Carroll nearly gets his name on the scoresheet for Liverpool as he gets his head onto a free kick from the right wing by Bellamy, but unfortunately for the former Newcastle favourite the whistle blows, with the referee giving a free kick against him for a push in the back on Williamson.
The game has pretty much continued from were it left off at the break, with Liverpool going forward in search of the goal to give them the lead, while Newcastle are more than happy to try and break on the counter attack.
Downing recieves the ball some 25 yards out from goal after Newcastle failed to properly clear, but once again for the former Aston Villa winger he fails to find the target, as the ball sails well wide of Krul's goal.
Liverpool start the second half in the same vain as they started the first, with Bellamy racing down the left wing before his cross was diverted away for a corner.
Newcastle get the second half underway.
Greg Stobart: "It's fair to say that the first-half has failed to live up to expectations and delivered a warning as to how much Liverpool rely on Luis Suarez, who could face a further eight games out through suspension. The Reds have been short of ideas in the final third and Andy Carroll barely won a header in the opening 45 minutes against an organised Newcastle side. I'd expect to see Steven Gerrard given at least half-an-hour off the bench if the game continues to follow this pattern as the Reds need to add some energy to their play. The one man who has looked to grab the game by the scruff of the neck is Craig Bellamy and it was no surprise that it was the Welshman who cancelled out Daniel Agger's own goal. Newcastle have defended very well but have offered little attacking threat, seemingly happy to rely on a stroke of luck or a piece of genius from lone striker Demba Ba."
HALF TIME! Liverpool are once again drawing at Anfield after Bellamy equalised an Agger own goal to put the sides level going into the break.
Liverpool have yet another chance at goal, as Spearing tries his luck from long range, but once again Newcastle stand strong and divert the ball away for a corner kick.
The Newcastle defence are being pushed to the limit, with former player Enrique putting in crosses from the left wing, but the visiting defence are more than up to the challenge so far, keeping the hosts down to jsust one goal so far.
Liverpool have regained full control over the game, with Agger feeling confident enough to stride forward and try a cross from the left hand side, just outside the Newcastle box, but Ryan taylor manages to get his head to the ball in order to clear it away for a corner.
The game is starting to slow down again after the Liverpool equliser, when the Anfield side started to launch forward looking to go into the lead, but the Newcastle defence has managed to regroup and regained their composure.
Yellow Card Ryan Taylor
Greg Stobart: "Liverpool really needed that equaliser and it was no surprise that it came from Craig Bellamy, who has looked the liveliest player in a side badly missing the influence of Luis Suarez. It was a great finish from the Welshman given the number of players in the penalty area – and it provided the immediate response the Reds needed after Newcastle's fortuitous opener. The Liverpool supporters were starting to get on their players' backs but all of a sudden the atmosphere has ramped up and so has the action on the pitch."
Goal Craig Bellamy
GOAL! Liverpool respond straight away as Adam gets the ball on the right from Enrique and crosses into the box, with the ball bouncing out to Bellamy, who smashes the ball home to give Liverpool the equaliser.
Yellow Card Jonas Gutierrez
Own Goal Daniel Agger
Assist Yohan Cabaye
GOAL! Against the run of play Newcastle go into the lead, as Ryan Taylor crosses from the right and Cabaye knocks the ball onto Ba, who's header is then diverted beyond Reina by the shoulder of Agger to open the scoring.
Krul is forced into making his first real save for Newcastle as Downing comes down the right hand side and shoots towards the keeper's near post, but he manages to get down well and smother the wet ball.
Greg Stobart at Anfield: "It's been a very low key opening 15 minutes here and neither manager looks particularly happy on the touchline. While Alan Pardew scribbles notes on a scrap of paper, Kenny Dalglish stands chuntering to himself with his hands in his pockets. Liverpool are yet to play with any tempo and there is a sense of frustration coming from the Kop, which is urging the home players to put more pressure on Newcastle. The away fans seem to be having a good time, though, and have just gone through an array of songs directed towards Andy Carroll, all of which are too rude to publish."
Newcastle's Obertan attempt to take the ball out of the box and runs into referee Probert, allowing the ball to land at the feet of Adam, who strikes the ball from 25 yards out, but it sails well over the bar and into the fans in the Kop.
The first real chance of the game comes Liverpool's way, as Bellamy finds Enrique on the left wing and the former Newcastle full back pulls the ball across the face of goal, but Downing can't get on the end of the ball to finish off the move and open the scoring.
Liverpool are starting to gain control of the match, but the final ball is lacking for the Reds, with the Newcastle defence standing strong so far, meaning that Krul has had little to do so far.
Both sides are attempting to play the ball long to their big target men, but both defences are making sure that neither Carroll nor Ba can get in on goal and thus the ball is spending a lot of the time in the midfield area as a result.
The visitors are trying to dictate the speed of the game, with goalkeeper Krul already taking his time when restarting the game with a goal kick, which irritates the Liverpool fans behind the big Dutchman.
Newcastle have slowed down the game by holding onto the possession, with Tiote being the focal point for the ball in the midfield area, looking to retain the ball rather than trying to quickly start an attacking move.
Liverpool have started the game on the front foot, with Bellamy being caught offside in the first minute, then Johnson eventually gaining a corner with a cross from the right after Newcastle had failed to clear another attacking move by the home side.
Liverpool get the game underway, shooting towards the Kop in the first half at Anfield.
Greg Stobart: "The rain is back and Anfield is almost full with just over five minutes until kick-off, with Coldplay belting out of the sound system. It's been far from Paradise for Andy Carroll so far at Liverpool and the striker's shooting was well off the radar during the warm-up as he continually scuffed his efforts wide of the post during shooting practice."
Goal.com's Greg Stobart at Anfield: "Welcome to Anfield as Liverpool look to revive their hopes of a top four finish against Newcastle tonight. The rain on Merseyside has been almost biblical this afternoon but there is a calm after the storm as the players warm up on the pitch ahead of kick-off. Andy Carroll is already taking a fair bit of flack from the Newcastle supporters housed in the Anfield Road end to my right and it does feel like a make-or-break night for the £35m man as he takes on his former club. Liverpool have drawn six of their nine Premier League home games this season and manager Kenny Dalglish has written in his programme notes about the need for his players to have more belief in front of goal. He writes: “We firmly believe that we are doing most things well. We can only control what we do and we need to keep on doing them and show a little more belief in ourselves when we get chances on goal. “The most important thing for me is the attitude of the players which remains excellent. That is the same attitude that all the great teams at Liverpool have always shown down the years and it's nice to see the current group demonstrating they have that same trait. “Naturally it's disappointing for all the supporters when they come to a game and don't see the team win but the important thing is that we all stick together. If the performances weren't good, we weren't creating chances and there were players who weren't contributing enough, that's something different. “This is an opportunity to learn from what has happened and hopefully in the long-term the experience and knowledge that will come from this can be turned to our advantage.”
The Newcastle subs are: Elliot (GK) Santon, Perch, Ben Arfa, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi, Best.
Newcastle starting line-up is: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, R Taylor, Tiote, Obertan, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Vuckic, Ba.
Liverpool subs are: Doni (GK) Rodriguez, Kuyt, Gerrard, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly.
The Liverpool starting line-up is as follows: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Enrique, Spearing, Henderson, Adam, Downing, Bellamy, Carroll
This fixture is most memorable for the times the two sides met in April 1996 and in March 1997 when Liverpool scored in the last minute to claim a 4-3 victory for both games.
The last two time the two sides met at Anfield, goals from Maxi Rodriguez, a Dirk Kuyt penalty and Luis Suarez helped Kenny Dalglish’s side to claim all three points
Their visitors Newcastle have claimed victory in four out of their eight away fixtures so far this season and also claimed a vital point at Old Trafford against Manchester United.
Liverpool come into the game at Anfield will poor home form this season, only winning three of their nine games at the ground this season, but they do remain undefeated having drawn six times already.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com’s live commentary of Liverpool vs. Newcastle in the Premier League, my name is Matthew Harold and I will be guiding you through the game
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