Saturday 8th March 2008 @ 3pm
Liverpool heaped more misery on relegation-battling Newcastle United after a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Anfield today. The reds went ahead thanks to one of the most bizarre goals this season, but within a 10 minute spell either side of the half time break the reds had added another two goals to complete the stroll to victory.
Benitez made some slight alterations to the side.
Kuyt and Babel, both of whom have been promising recently were replaced by Benayoun and Pennant. Mascherano, suffering from a slight knock, was replaced with Lucas Leiva. Without Babel and Kuyt, Liverpool started much more slowly than against West Ham, and it took half an hour before the reds flowing football made some brief appearances. When it did, the results were clinical.
Pennant’s persistence in the box paid off when Enrique attempted to clear the ball. Pennant’s jump managed to send the ball straight back over the keeper.
Within minutes and as half-time approached, Gerrard found Torres who scored once more at Anfield, and took his season tally to 25 goals in 34 games so far for Liverpool.
After the break, United showed little attacking intent and the reds sensed the third goal. This time Torres returned the compliment, setting up Gerrard who scored his 18th goal of the season to ensure the game was effectively over.
Once before Newcastle managed to claw their way back from 3-0 down (albeit eventually losing 4-3), but that was a very different Newcastle side to this one today. Michael Owen is no captain, and Newcastle face an embarrassing relegation fight as the season approaches its close.
Liverpool, meanwhile go 3 points ahead of Everton, and the pressure has turned the other way.
Jermaine Pennant (1-0)
Fernando Torres (2-0)Steven Gerrard (3-0)Post Match Reaction:
“It was more or less the perfect day – we got the points and we could take players off ahead of the Champions League in Italy on Tuesday.
“The first goal was a bit lucky but the second was a fantastic piece of play and that one was the big difference.
“The understanding between Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard is good and they can kill off any team those two.”
Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan:
“The opening goal was a freak one and that’s the sort of luck we need going for us at the moment.
“But the second goal killed us, it was bad to concede straight away and 2-0 down here at half-time, it’s difficult.
“Prior to that I was relatively pleased but we were blown to bits in the space of three crazy minutes. Were we unlucky to lose? No. They were better than us.”
Team Line Ups:
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Riise, Alonso, Lucas, Pennant (Hyypia 78), Gerrard (Kuyt 66), Benayoun, Torres (Crouch 72).
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Babel.
Goals: Pennant 43, Torres 45, Gerrard 51.
Newcastle: Harper, Beye, Faye, Taylor, Jose Enrique, Milner (Geremi 44), Butt, N’Zogbia, Duff (Martins 58), Owen, Smith.
Subs Not Used: Forster, Cacapa, Carroll.
Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).