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April 28, 2013
• St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Referee: A. Marriner
• Attendance: 52351
D. Agger 3'
J. Henderson 17', 76'
D. Sturridge 54', 60'
F. Borini 74'
Anyway, that'll be all from me, Sam Wells, this evening. Thank you for following the game with me and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Be sure to follow the post-match reaction on Goal.com and, until next time, farewell!
Liverpool, meanwhile, answered the Suarez-based questions resoundingly; can they cope without the Uruguayan? On that basis, most definitely. Sturridge was excellent upfront and Coutinho even better in and around the frontman; the Brazilian looked a class apart today, causing Newcastle all kind of problems with his movement and vision. Rodgers will be unequivocally delighted with that performance and for good reason - this showing offers Reds fans new hope going into the next season.
It's difficult to convey how disappointed Newcastle will be with both the performance and result in that game. They were thoroughly outclassed by a confident Liverpool side as the home side proved incapable of coping with the dual threat of Coutinho and Sturridge. They offered little going and, to exacerbate an already woeful performance, Debuchy managed to get himself sent off. With five points separating them from the drop and two consecutive thrashings at St. James' Park, questions will most definitely be asked regarding Pardew's job.
90' + 3'
Suso works the ball well before striking at goal; Elliot is equal to it and that is that. The full time whistle goes and, predictably, brings forth a chorus of boos from the home support - a truly dismal day for anyone involved with Newcastle football club.
90' + 2'
Chants of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' ring out around the ground as the Newcastle support are predictably, and somewhat understandably, outsung comprehensively.
Three minutes of stoppage time is called as Newcastle continue to play out the game; the end of this game can't come soon enough for the home side.
The home side are keeping possession in their own half, eliciting cheers from either the home or away support - it's hard to tell. Regardless of where they're coming from, it's difficult to envisage them being all that sincere.
This game looks set to peter out as, frankly, the only real talking point remaining lies in the reception the Newcastle support gives at the final whistle. One can't imagine that it will be all too positive.
Newcastle have an opportunity to retrieve at least some of their dignity but Anita's cross just about eludes Cisse and the home side remain without a goal to their name.
The two stars of today's ridiculously dominant display make way as Coutinho and Sturridge are replaced by Suso and Shelvey; the former pair have been truly excellent today.
Sturridge has another opportunity to make it seven after some more brilliant work from Coutinho. The Brazilian feeds Borini, who duly plays the ball out right to Sturridge. The striker strikes the ball goalwards on his left foot but the strike is blocked and the away side remain in search of that elusive seventh goal.
Coutinho goes oh-so-close to making it seven! After a lovely run, he decides to shoot himself, rifling an effort at goal from 25 yards out. Elliot does well to get a hand to it, tipping onto the bar and preventing a seventh goal. The home side have found their attempts to contain Coutinho largely fruitless this evening.
I think it's safe to say this is a pretty irretrievable situation for the home side, they don't look as if they're going to score and, even if they do, it would make little difference, both in terms of morale, support and their attempts to avoid relegation. Liverpool are currently playing the ball around nicely; they have really enjoyed themselves out there today.
This is truly abject for Newcastle; words cannot express how poor the home side have been and Pardew must be worried for his job. Matters almost get even worse as Johnson bursts forward down the right, going past Haidara before Taylor intervenes, putting the ball out for a throw.
GOAL! Henderson finishes from the ensuing free kick as the misery is piled upon Newcastle and Alan Pardew. The former Sunderland man whips the ball in, no-one gets a touch on it but the cross has enough of a bend on it to end in the far corner as Liverpool have now hit six! A truly terrible day for the Toon.
And matters are getting even worse for Newcastle as Debuchy is dismissed for a second bookable offence! He brings down Coutinho recklessly after being beaten by the Brazilian down the left wing; deserving of a booking, he can have no complaints, though the same cannot be said of Pardew - he can't be happy with his right-back there.
GOAL! Substitute Borini scores just a minute into his returning appearance! And that is his first PL goal for Liverpool! Wonderful play from Liverpool again and, this time, Downing is at the centre of it. He skins Haidara down the right with some nice footwork, before cutting back to Borini. The substitute duly toe-pokes the ball home and completes a rout in delightful fashion.
Gerrard comes off for Borini which, though good news for the returning striker, signals the end, if I'm not mistaken, of the Liverpool legend's run of having completed every minute of every Premier League game this season.
This game, in terms of Newcastle instigating an unlikely comeback at least, looks well and truly dead. The home team look like they're willing this game to be over already as they stroke the ball around aimlessly.
This could end up much worse for Newcastle; Liverpool and, in particular, Sturridge, look hungry for more goals as Sturridge is just denied by Mbiwa, who manages to deflect the ball behind for a corner.
Sturridge is put through once again but, with Coutinho advancing and seemingly in a better position, the striker lives up to the criticisms often levelled at him - namely, selfishness. He goes for goal but is eventually crowded out, much to the frustration of his Brazilian teammate.
Slightly more positive from the home side as Sissoko lopes forward from midfield, doing well before his attempts to shoot are prevented by an untimely slip; his eventual shot going well awry.
Tiote comes off to be replaced by Anita in what is, on the surface, an odd move for a team attempting to get back into the game. Regardless, Anita is on and Shola Ameobi remains bench-bound.
A Cabaye cross is played backpost but it's well overhit and goes behind for a goal kick. This could be a fairly limp end to the game if Newcastle don't manage to buck their ideas up sharpish.
It's pretty difficult to envisage a Newcastle comeback in this one but you never know; the home side come forward but it all looks a bit lifeless as Ben Arfa is dispossessed on the edge of the area.
GOAL! Sturridge grabs another and it's a role reversal as Henderson plays the frontman in for a tap-in! Gerrard threads a lovely ball through to the former Sunderland man as the Newcastle defence don't bother to track him, preferring to play an abject offside trap instead. The midfielder duly advances, feeding Sturridge who converts for his second of the game. This is well and truly a mauling now.
Liverpool come forward with a nice move, ending in Coutinho attempting a strike on goal. The diminutive forward's play has really deserved a goal this evening but no doing, at least for now, as Taylor blocks well.
Newcastle continue to assert a level of pressure upon the Liverpool backline as Reina flaps at a cross unconvincingly. Luckily for him, the cross comes to nothing, eventually going behind for a goal kick.
Newcastle look for an instant response but Cabaye's corner is palmed away by Reina, before Ben Arfa rifles a shot goalwards. His shot is blocked by Lucas and, though it clearly hits his hand, the referee deems it accidental and unworthy of a penalty.
GOAL! It's Sturridge who converts and Coutinho is the provider yet again! Henderson puts Ben Arfa under considerable pressure, forcing him back into his own half before Coutinho comes along and dispossesses the Frenchman. The Brazilian runs at the bare Newcastle defence, shimmying this way and that before playing Sturridge in with a sublime through-ball. The striker converts with aplomb and Liverpool are three up!
Something's surely got to give sometime soon in this second half; Cabaye has a golden opportunity after Debuchy's cross is cleared to his feet at the edge of the area. The Frenchman tries to take a touch but it's an abysmal bit of control and the ball is cleared by Johnson.
Downing does really well down the right, running with the ball before eventually feeding Sturridge on the edge of the area. The striker tries to cut back onto his right but Cabaye reads it and clears the danger; Liverpool are proving dangerous on the counter in this second period.
Gouffran gets a header in on goal after a decent cross by Debuchy. The header doesn't really test Reina as he welcomes the ball into his arms gratefully but this is definitely better from the home side.
Newcastle have started the half in the ascendancy as the opening few minutes have been played solely in the Liverpool half. Ben Arfa whips in a cross but Reina claims with ease; encouraging signs nonetheless.
Hatem Ben Arfa
Newcastle get us underway in this second half and Pardew, as expected, has made two changes with Ben Arfa and Gouffran replacing Perch and Gutierrex as the home side push for goals in the second period.
Liverpool, meanwhile, will be delighted with their performance in the first half. They have played some lovely football and, despite fading somewhat towards the end of the half, Coutinho has been at the helm of most of their moves, threading balls through delightfully for the away side. Sturridge has also caused the Newcastle centre-backs problems and Rodgers will, quite simply, be hoping for more of the same after the break as he is no doubt aware that the home side will have a strong period sooner or later in the second half.
Newcastle will be disappointed with their contribution to that half; they were, virtually from start to finish outplayed by a confident Liverpool side. However, they should have at least one goal to their names as, in what was their only chance of the half, Perch missed a sitter to pull a goal back for the home side. Pardew will be looking for wholesale improvements in the second half and may even look to make some changes at half time as, frankly, nothing has really come off the Magpies thus far.
45' + 2'
Reina claims the ensuing free kick and, with that, the referee calls an end to what has been an entertaining (and occasionally feisty) first half!
45' + 1'
Johnson, minutes after the incident with Tiote, brings down Gutierrez, giving Newcastle a dangerous free kick down the left wing. He escapes a second booking but is treading a fine line here.
Tiote, as predicted, boils over with frustration as he comes together off the ball with Johnson! The Liverpool right back seemed to grab Tiote's boot and refuse to let go, leading to the Newcastle midfielder desperately trying to get free. Johnson, already on a booking, is perhaps lucky to get away with that.
Yellow CardSteven Taylor
Sturridge does exceptionally well to turn away from Tiote and Taylor with a swivel, leading to the latter bringing the striker down and earning himself a booking in the process. The Liverpool striker really has done well in this first half.
Lucas almost gets himself into trouble on the edge of his own area but worms his way out of it after appearing to dwell on the ball for too long.
Yellow CardGlen Johnson
A very scrappy few minutes ends with Cabaye taking out his frustrations with a late trip on Henderson, before the referee goes back and cautions Johnson for an earlier challenge on Haidara.
Yellow CardJonas Gutierrez
Sissoko is extremely close to getting through on goal after Tiote sets him away but Enrique does brilliantly to prevent the Newcastle man getting an effort in goal.
Gutierrez is booked for a cynical foul on Sturridge in the middle of the park; he can have no real complaints about that one.
Slightly better from Newcastle now as they seem to have been spurred on by that spurned opportunity. They've increased the tempo a bit now as Reina is called into action, having to claim a cross from Debuchy. He does so with relative ease however and the danger is gone.
Newcastle should have scored! Haidara does excellently down the left to whip a brilliant cross into area but Perch, the recipient of the cross, miscues woefully, sending his header well wide of the goal. A dreadful miss and one that they might rue.
Newcastle continue to struggle to gain a foothold in the game as their moves just aren't coming off. This in complete contrast with Liverpool where Coutinho and Sturridge are continuing to cause the home side problems whenever they link up.
Another opportunity falls to Sturridge, albeit an extremely tricky one to convert. Gerrard's corner is played out to Downing on the edge of the area and the winger duly chips it to the back post. It falls to the striker on his right foot but his effort is skewed across the area and the danger is eventually cleared by the Magpies defence.
Sturridge is filling Suarez's shoes well upfront as he is providing an excellent foil for Liverpool going forward; the striker earns a corner after receiving the ball from Downing down the right with some nifty hold-up play.
Liverpool continue to look much the stronger side as Gerrard strikes a long-range shot wide with his left foot. The home team will be grateful that the opportunity didn't fall on his right.
Liverpool threaten again and, once again, that man Coutinho is at the heart of things. He gets the pass slightly wrong this time though, proving unable to find the advancing Gerrard and the danger is averted adeptly by Mbiwa.
Newcastle have their first shot of the game! Unfortunately, it is a pretty poor one as Gutierrez, receiving the ball on the edge of the area, drives the ball well over the bar. Still, slightly encouraging signs for the home support.
Hatem Ben Arfa's name is being chanted by the home support and who can blame them? This has been a fairly abject performance thus far, devoid of any real creativity and, indeed, belief.
Liverpool have another opportunity to extend their lead as Sturridge stings the hands of Krul with an effort from the edge of the area. Pardew will be infuriated as to how he was allowed that amount of time and space in their own half.
Tiote is being spoken to by the referee as the Ivorian's customary yellow card seems forthcoming. The midfielder has put in some hefty challenges out there and just brushed Coutinho with his hand - a challenge that the Brazilian made the most of and the referee, perhaps correctly, deemed unworthy of a foul.
Yellow CardDaniel Sturridge
Yellow CardMathieu Debuchy
Newcastle's frustration are beginning to tell here as Debuchy gets booked for a heated confrontation with Sturridge after the former Chelsea man aggravated the right back by not giving him the ball back.
There's a palpable sense of disillusionment in the stands and for good reason as, having failed to really get going, Newcastle are two down within 18 minutes here at St. James Park.
GOAL! Liverpool grab another goal with an absolutely majestic move! A long ball is played into Coutinho by Sturridge who, with everyone expecting him to play it into Henderson, bursting down the left, plays it back to the former Chelsea man, putting him through on goal with a brilliant pass. The striker squares unselfishly to the still-advancing Henderson and he tucks home to make it 2-0! That really was brilliant football.
Enrique is crowded out down the left, leading to Debuchy coming away with the ball. The former Newcastle left-back fights back though and is eventually, somewhat bewilderingly, awarded a foul as they both tumble to the ground.
Newcastle stroke the ball around in the Liverpool half but there is little sign of any impending threat for the away side. Indeed, they give away possession before Haidara fouls Downing, giving the Reds a free kick in their own half.
Nothing is really happening for the home side as of yet; Coutinho is pulling the strings with aplomb and Reina has had nothing to do. Liverpool threaten again down the right as an offside flag is all that prevents Sturridge from being through on goal after a nice ball by Johnson.
Agger finds himself in another advanced position after Coutinho, yet again, threads the centre-back in behind the Newcastle defence. The defender is adjudged to have fouled Debuchy though and the danger is gone.
The away side are retaining possession fairly comfortably as the game has settled down somewhat since that lively opening.
Coutinho, bright from the outset here, weaves his way past Tiote and almost sets Henderson through on goal. The pass is just too heavy though and it runs through to Elliot in the Newcastle goal.
Sissoko tries to bundle his way through down the right in his inimitable style but Lucas makes an excellent challenge. The ball rebounds off the Newcastle man and it's behind for a goal kick.
That's the last thing Newcastle needed; the pressure will really be on them now to respond to that early goal. They try to make an instant response as Gutierrez forces a throw-in deep in the Liverpool half down the left.
GOAL! Liverpool's early dominance pays off with a goal after just three minutes! After a corner is cleared away, Enrique knocks it back into the box hopefully and Agger finds himself free in the area. Elliot comes but then dallies and, with the goalkeeper left in no-mans-land, the centre-back loops a header over him and Liverpool are 1-0 up!
Liverpool are close to breaking the deadlock just a minute or so in! A lovely ball by Coutinho sets Johnson away down the right but his cross, aimed at Sturridge, is cleared behind for a corner by Mbiwa.
Daniel Sturridge and Coutinho get us underway at St. James' Park as Liverpool instantly cede possession, leading to Steven Gerrard giving away a free kick deep in the Newcastle half.
The teams, led by Yohan Cabaye and Steven Gerrard respectively, are lined in the tunnel now as we are minutes away from the action here at St. James Park.
Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, also makes a solitary change from the team that drew against Chelsea last Sunday as Daniel Sturridge replaces the suspended Luis Suarez in a move than many expected. Fabio Borini also returns to the bench for the first time since dislocating his shoulder in February.
The home side make just one change from the side that earned a 1-1 draw against West Brom as Cheikh Tiote returns from injury to replace Yoan Gouffran in midfield.
Liverpool: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique; Lucas, Henderson, Gerrard; Downing, Sturridge, Coutinho. Subs: Jones, Coates, Skrtel, Wisdom, Suso, Shelvey, Borini.
Newcastle: Elliot; Debuchy, Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara; Perch, Tiote, Cabaye, Sissoko, Gutierrez; Cisse. Subs: Harper, Williamson, Gosling, Anita, Ben Arfa, Gouffran, Shola Ameobi.
And here come the team line-ups...
This is set up to be an enthralling encounter as both teams set out with a point to prove; Newcastle could do with a result after Wigan's surprise point against Tottenham leaves them just five points clear of the drop, while Liverpool's motive is completely different – to prove they can operate without Luis Suarez. With the Uruguayan out for ten games after his already infamous bite of Branislav Ivanovic, many are suggesting that the Reds will struggle to cope without their star striker. His expected replacement Daniel Sturridge will be looking to prove otherwise while the Magpies will be hoping that turns out to be the case as they could really do with the points. It could be a cracker!
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of tonight's Premier League clash between Newcastle and Liverpool, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through this evening's proceedings.
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