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Premier League

  • May 11, 2014
  • • 15:00
  • • Anfield, Liverpool
  • Referee: P. Dowd
  • • Attendance: 44724

Liverpool 2-1 Newcastle: Agger & Sturridge ensure Reds sign off on winning note

Liverpool 2-1 Newcastle: Agger & Sturridge ensure Reds sign off on winning note

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Brendan Rodgers' side could not win the Premier League title but did finish the season on a high of sorts, coming from behind to beat the Magpies at Anfield on Sunday

Goals from Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge gave Liverpool a 2-1 victory over nine-man Newcastle at Anfield on Sunday, but the Anfield crowd were left heartbroken come full-time, with Manchester City having defeated West Ham at the Etihad Stadium.

Brendan Rodgers' men went into the final Premier League match of the season on Sunday knowing that a win, combined with rivals Manchester City losing at home to West Ham, would see Liverpool crowned champions and end a 24-year wait.

By Wayne Veysey

Liverpool were way below their best today but ended an uplifting season with a 2-1 win over nine-man Newcastle to clinch a fully deserved runners-up spot.

It needed the team's 101st league goal of the season, from Daniel Sturridge, to overcome a stubborn Newcastle, but the manner of Martin Skrtel's first-half own goal showed why this team fell short in the final reckoning.

Ultimately, the attacking brilliance of Brendan Rodgers' team could not mask the team's defensive flaws, which were apparent even during their remarkable 11-match winning run.

As it transpired, City put the title out of their reach with a 2-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium, but even with the disappointed news filtering through to Anfield, Liverpool managed to sign off with a hard-earned victory.

Martin Skrtel, a regular source of goals in important matches for Rodgers' side throughout the campaign, put through his own net on this occasion, turning Yoan Gouffran's centre past Simon Mignolet in front of a shell-shocked Kop after 20 minutes.

It looked as though the hosts were going to be frustrated, until two almost identical goals from set-pieces midway through the second half from Agger and Sturridge changed the game.

The visitors then saw Shola Ameobi sent off for dissent in the aftermath of Sturridge's winner, as Newcastle's dismal second half of the season ended with an eighth defeat in the last 10 league outings and was further compounded when Paul Dummett also saw red late on.

The hosts worked an opening in the 11th minute as Raheem Sterling got in behind the Newcastle backline, but Mathieu Debuchy recovered smartly to poke the ball away from the forward in the nick of time.

Liverpool thought they had gone in front in the 18th minute when Luis Suarez took a quick free-kick, bending a superb finish over the head of Tim Krul from wide on the right, but referee Phil Dowd brought play back as he was talking to a Newcastle player when the set-piece was taken.

Newcastle stunned the Anfield faithful by taking the lead two minutes later, Skrtel slicing Gouffran's cross from the left inside the far post off his right shin.

Agger, recalled to the side in place of Mamadou Sakho, ought to have equalised in the 24th minute, but the Denmark international sent a free header straight at Krul after meeting a Steven Gerrard corner from the right.

Gouffran could have extended the visitors' lead soon afterwards when played clear on goal by Ameobi's accurate throughball, but Mignolet rushed from his line to make a fine one-on-one stop from the Frenchman.

Suarez was a constant threat, evading the attentions of three Newcastle defenders in the 34th minute, but the finish did not match the approach play as he sent a weak shot into the arms of Krul from the edge of the area.

Sturridge wasted another glorious opportunity five minutes before the break as Jordan Henderson, back after a three-match suspension, got to the byline and delivered a perfect cross for the England forward, who headed wide of goal unmarked from eight yards out.

After a quiet start to the second period, Liverpool turned things around with two goals in as many minutes shortly after the hour.

Agger first stretched to prod home a Gerrard free-kick at the back post before Sturridge tapped in at the far post after yet another fine delivery from the Liverpool captain.

Ameobi was sent off by Dowd, receiving two yellow cards seemingly for dissent as Newcastle prepared to kick off after Sturridge's strike.

Substitute Dummett, only introduced in the 81st minute, was then given his marching orders three minutes from time for a rash challenge on Suarez as Liverpool ended a fine campaign with a win, albeit ultimately just falling short of champions City.