Saturday 24th November 2007 @ 12:45pm
St. James Park, Newcastle
After the mid-week disappointments of England’s exit, and the spat between Rafa and the club’s owners, Liverpool remembered that they are involved in an important chase to attempt to land the 19th Premiership title.
Newcastle fans may question their decision to boo Steven Gerrard’s every touch as it was the reds Captain who sent the reds on their way to take a valuable three points, maintaining both their unbeaten record and stretching their impressive away performances this season.
Rafa sent out Fernando Torres in his first start for the reds since his injury early in the season and the return of the Spaniard kept United on their toes throughout the game. Peter Crouch was left on the bench as Dirk Kuyt was preferred as the striking partner. Harry Kewell also made his first start in a long while, after a number of substitute appearances in recent weeks. The wait on Daniel Agger and Xabi Alonso will continue – neither player being involved in today’s game.
Liverpool started brightly – Newcastle nervously as they sent out an ultra-defensive looking side. Newcastle fans crave attacking football, and Fat Sam’s team selection will not go down well on Tyneside.
Support for Rafa Benitez rang out amongst the travelling fans and within 10 minutes Gerrard had already put the disappointment of the Wembley disaster behind him – having a couple of shots and some driving moves from midfield – protected by the defensive Sissoko.
It was just before the half hour mark when Gerrard opened the reds account – arguably the reds goal of the season so far – a magnificent 25 yard cracker.
Torres had a great chance later in the half but hit the post.
The reds scored immediately in the second half – Gerrard’s corner was flicked on by Hyypia for Kuyt to grab the second goal.
Liverpool dominated the reds of the game. Fernando Torres missed a whole host of chances – his wizadry only let down by his finishing today – in all fairness he could have had an easy hat-trick.
Ryan Babel came on to bolster the reds and after combining with Stevie G he was on hand to smash the reds third goal.
Newcastle were deflated and the reds continue pushing hard. Kuyt and Stevie G earned an early rest – Gerrard being booed off by the Newcastle fans – almost a smile flashed across his face as he applauded the Liverpool supporters.
Liverpool were excellent. Newcastle were shocking.
These early kick off’s following internationals. Don’t you just hate them? 😉
Post Match Reaction:
The performance was almost perfect.
“The team played really well and with a lot confidence and they passed the ball around well and kept a clean sheet.
“Our team has kept the momentum and there are a lot of players performing and it’s the kind of display that you want to see.”
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Arbeloa, Gerrard (Crouch 80), Lucas, Sissoko, Kewell (Babel 58), Torres, Kuyt (Riise 76).Subs Not Used: Itandje, Mascherano.
Goals: Gerrard 28, Kuyt 46, Babel 66.
Newcastle: Given, Geremi, Beye, Rozehnal, Jose Enrique (Carr 78), Smith, Butt, Emre (Barton 51), N’Zogbia (Milner 59), Viduka, Martins.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Edgar.
Booked: Butt, Beye, Smith.
Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).