New boss off to flier as Reds lose away from home againLate goals from Joey Barton and Andy Carroll gave Alan Pardew a dream start as Newcastle United manager and condemned Liverpool to their third consecutive league defeat away from home.
Following the tumultuous events that had preceded this game for the home side, it was no surprise that they conceded control of the match in the opening ten minutes, as Liverpool enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and territory.
After Maxi Rodriguez’s wayward long-range effort in the first two minutes, Sotirios Kyrgiakos produced the game’s first shot on target five minutes later. However, the Greek defender could only direct his strike straight at Newcastle ‘keeper Tim Krul, after finding himself with space inside the left hand side of the penalty area following a Liverpool free-kick from the right.
Newcastle’s most threatening moment of the opening exchanges came when Fernando Torres gave the ball away in midfield, allowing Jonas Gutierrez to slide a ball through to Andy Carroll, but the England international could stretch far enough to gain proper control of the ball.
The home side did not have to wait much longer to break through the visitor’s defense though, as Pardew’s side took the lead within the opening quarter of an hour. After primarily winning the free-kick, Carroll nodded Barton’s chipped ball across the six-yard box for Kevin Nolan to strike the ball past Jose Reina for his eighth league goal of the season.
Liverpool will feel aggrieved that not only did the goal come against the run of play, television replays also showed Carroll to be marginally offside as he headed the ball.
Newcastle’s almost doubled their lead following another set-piece, although despite finding himself between the Liverpool defense and Reina, Sol Campbell could not get a touch on the ball as it sailed over his head.
Almost immediately, Liverpool wasted a good chance of their own up the other end of the pitch as Rodriguez put his header over the bar from Glen Johnson’s cross.
The game seemed to be opening up as Johnson continued to provide the greatest threat for the visitor’s, whilst Chiek Tiote was intelligently breaking up attacks and manoeuvring play in the Newcastle midfield.
After half an hour, Newcaslte’s came the closest to conceding an equalizer as they would in the opening half as a Matin Skrtel hook across the home side’s penalty area found Raul Meireles, but Jose Enrique was on hand to block the Portuguese international’s shot on his own goal-line.
Liverpool were settling into their passing game at this point, whilst Newcastle were relying on a longer-game directed at the aerial threat of Carroll and Shola Ameobi.
However, the visitor’s were unable to find a break-through and their desperation was summed up when Maxi Rodriguez threw himself to the floor in search of a penalty just before half-time, despite the apparent absence of any contact on the Argentine midfielder.
It was left to Kyrgiakos to waste Liverpool’s brightest moment of the opening period just before Lee Mason signaled for the break, as he put his header wide of the post following a corner.
Despite physically reappearing on the pitch, the Newcastle player’s thoughts still seemed to be in the dressing-room during the opening moments of the second half.
Indeed, it a defensive lapse by Sol Campbell that allowed Liverpool to equalize just five minutes after the break. The former England international allowed a long ball to hit his back, conceding possession to Dirk Kuyt who drove into the box. The Dutchman’s subsequent strike took a deflection off Steven Taylor and dribbled past Krul to put the visitor’s back on level terms.
Campbell again lapsed defensively as he and Jose Enrique were at fault for allowing Torres to latch on to a ball unnoticed in the Newcastle penalty are just three minutes later. However, despite being one-on-one with Krul, the Spaniard couldn’t find a way past the home side’s goalkeeper.
Newcastle’s poor start to the second period continued as David Ngog wasted another great chance to put the visitor’s ahead as he could not find the net with his header on the six-yard-box.
Nile Ranger, on as a substitute for Ameobi, should have made Liverpool rue their missed opportunities with almost his first touch of the game. The young striker collected Carroll’s flicked header and drove into the Liverpool box, but put his shot wide despite having only Reina left to beat.
The game turned into a slightly ill-tempered affair as both sides began to over-zealously challenged for the ball, coming at the expense of any meaningful goal-mouth action.
However, Carroll was continuing to win his every header for the home side and it was this aerial dominance that allowed Newcastle to re-gain the lead. The England international flicked on a long goal-kick by Krul, which the Liverpool defense failed to deal with. As a result, Barton was able to pounce on the ball behind the Liverpool defense and guide his strike past Reina, to rapturous scenes at St James’ Park.
Carroll then wrapped up victory for Newcastle in fantastic style as his stunning strike from outside the box ensured that Pardew began his managerial reign at St James’ Park in happy fashion.
However, Roy Hodgson will continue to be concerned by Liverpool’s form on the road, as his side suffered their sixth league defeat out of nine games away from home this season.
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