Sunday 19th March 2006 (13:30) at St James Park

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GOALS: Crouch 10, Gerrard 35, Ameobi 41, Cisse pen 52

TEAM: Reina Carragher Hyypia (Fowler 90) Agger Warnock Gerrard (Alonso 74) Hamann Kromkamp Kewell Cisse Crouch (Garcia 63)

Subs: Dudek Traore

Booked: Cisse, Agger, Carragher

Att: 52,302
Ref: Mike Riley

Newcastle: Newcastle: Given, Ramage, Boumsong, Elliott, Babayaro, Solano, Parker, Emre (Clark 90), N'Zogbia (Bowyer 28), Shearer, Ameobi (Dyer 62). Subs Not Used: Harper, Moore. Sent Off: Boumsong (51). Booked: Ramage, Bowyer.

Rafael Benitez post match interview
Peter Crouch post match interview

Gerrard salutes the fans


Shola Ameobi's header gave Newcastle a lifeline after European champions Liverpool had raced into a two-goal lead at St James' Park.

Peter Crouch headed the visitors in front with just 10 minutes gone, and it was 2-0 25 minutes later when Steven Gerrard combined superbly with Crouch before rifling home.

However, Ameobi gave the Magpies hope four minutes before the break when he headed Scott Parker's cross past Jose Reina to reduce the deficit.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez made six changes to the side which trounced Fulham in midweek.

Out went Djimi Traore, Steve Finnan, Luis Garcia, Robbie Fowler and Fernando Morientes as Stephen Warnock, Sami Hyypia, Jan Kromkamp, Djibril Cisse and Peter Crouch returned.

Newcastle's caretaker manager Glenn Roeder kept faith with the 11 who started the 2-0 defeat at Manchester United last weekend, meaning a 398th appearance for the club for captain Alan Shearer - passing another of Jackie Milburn's landmarks.

There was no place on the bench for Titus Bramble despite his recovery from a hamstring problem, but Craig Moore was named among the substitutes for the first time in a competitive match.

The visitors lined up with Jamie Carragher, Hyypia and Daniel Agger operating as a back three with Kromkamp and Warnock playing as wing-backs.
Carragher played keeper Jose Reina into trouble with less than two minutes gone when his weak back-pass allowed Shola Ameobi to reach the ball at the same time as the Spaniard, although referee Mike Riley harshly awarded a free-kick against the striker.

However, Warnock was proving a useful outlet for the Reds down the left to keep full-back Peter Ramage on his toes, and he found space for the third time to cross for Crouch, who headed harmlessly wide.

But the England striker got it right five minutes later when he got between Jean-Alain Boumsong and Ramage to meet Kromkamp's deep cross with a downward header which Shay Given could not keep out to give the Merseysiders the perfect start.

The visitors cut through their hosts once again after 19 minutes when Harry Kewell and Warnock played a one-two for the Australian to cross, although the ball was too far ahead of Crouch and Cisse hammered it high over from a tight angle.

Roeder's side created their first real chance three minutes later when Ameobi laid the ball off for Shearer 20 yards out, but his shot, although well-struck, flew wide.

But Reina was called upon seconds later when he needed two attempts to collect Charles N'Zogbia's left-foot effort with Ameobi closing in.The home side were dealt a blow after 28 minutes when N'Zogbia limped off with a dead leg to be replaced by Lee Bowyer, the substitute partnering Scott Parker in the middle as Emre moved out to the left.
Newcastle were enjoying their best spell in the game although they were struggling to break the visitors down as they got men behind the ball in numbers.

Referee Riley was proving the central character as he continually stopped play for minor offences, much to the annoyance of the home supporters.

Former Magpie Dietmar Hamann hooked a left-foot shot wide 11 minutes before the break, but his side increased their lead a minute later.

Riley appeared to miss a foul on Shearer deep in the Liverpool half, but the Reds broke swiftly and when Cisse crossed from the left, Gerrard nodded the ball down for Crouch, who laid it off for him to blast an unstoppable low drive past Given.

Boumsong flashed a header wide from a Solano cross seven minutes before the break, but it was looking like a long afternoon for Roeder's side.

Ramage went into the book for a late challenge on Warnock seconds later, but his side gave themselves hope after 41 minutes.

Ameobi, who had been caught offside on several occasions previously, timed his run to perfection to meet Parker's excellent deep cross and head beyond Reina to reduce the deficit.

HT Newcastle 1 Liverpool 2Newcastle started the second half brightly, but they were stretched once again on 49 minutes when the visitors launched another attack from deep inside their own half with Kewell picking out Cisse in space on the right.
The Frenchman homed in on full-back Celestine Babayaro before firing in a right-foot shot which Given claimed comfortably.

However, he did get his name on the scoresheet with 52 minutes gone after Boumsong proved the architect of his own downfall.

The Frenchman got to a through-ball ahead of Crouch but missed his kick, and in his attempt to recover, bundled the striker to the ground in the box.

Referee Riley immediately pointed to the spot and then produced a red card to compound the defender's misery.

Cisse calmly sent Given the wrong way to increase his side's lead, but was then booked for his celebration.

He earned a talking to within two minutes for appearing to incite the crowd.

Ramage moved inside to partner Robbie Elliott as Nolberto Solano dropped in at right-back, but the game looked a lost cause.

Solano's intelligent free-kick gave Babayaro a chance to cross from the left, but the defender hit the ball high over the bar.

Roeder replaced Ameobi with Kieron Dyer on 62 minutes, and Benitez responded by withdrawing Crouch and sending on Xabi Alonso.

However, the visitors could have been further ahead with 65 minutes gone when Cisse once again found space on the right, although he sliced his effort horribly wide.FT Newcastle 1 Liverpool 3 Substitute Luis Garcia curled a long-range effort high and wide on 77 minutes as the visitors seemingly picked off the Magpies at will.
It might have been much worse for the home side but for the heroics of Given as the clock ran down.

The Irishman produced a superb fingertip save to deny Alonso from long-range on 78 minutes, and needed to be at his best once again from the resulting corner.

Alonso picked out Kromkamp on the edge of the box and the Dutchman thumped a volley towards the top corner, but Given once again refused to be beaten.

Reina had to get down well to save Solano's 89th-minute free-kick, but the result was already beyond doubt.

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Match Report filed: 19 March 2006