Liverpool took on the Newcastle today in a must win game if the reds wanted to be playing in Europe next season. With Tottenham Hotspur losing out to Chelsea yesterday, Liverpool had an opportunity to climb above Spurs into fifth place on goal difference. Once again it was up to Liverpool to go out and get the result they needed and the reds didn’t disappoint.
There was one change to the team from the Birmingham game. The young Robinson who’d been filling in at left back was on the bench and in his place was Johnson, returning from a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. There was also the returning Carroll who was deemed not fit to start the game and instead took up a place on the bench, following his knee injury from the Arsenal game.
The game started off in quite a laid back manner and Liverpool didn’t really get their foot on the ball as much as they’d liked to. Newcastle were out to try stop Liverpool from playing and were working hard to close the reds down. Gutierrez was proving to be a threat down Liverpools right flank and the young right back Flanagan – who has been excellent, ever present and strong since his debut, was more than a match for the Newcastle player. But he was getting caught on a few occasions, with no thanks to the referee. It resulted in Flanagan picking up a yellow card for simply matching the physical strength with his opposite number. Flanagan and Johnson later swapped positions.
Maxi, who had scored a hat trick in the previous game against Birmingham, was back to finding the net after only ten minutes. A smooth passage of play from the reds found Maxi seeing his shot from inside the box, slightly deflected and going past the Newcastle keeper. It was the start Liverpool needed as Newcastle we here to frustrate.
After the goal, there wasn’t much to write home about concerning Liverpools attack. There was a Spearing effort from outside the box that made the Newcastle keeper struggle. But Newcastle were finding themselves in the Liverpool half with plenty of set pieces. Thankfully, they all resulted in nothing after a combination of good defending and poor delivery.
Early on in the second half, Barton went close to leveling for Newcastle with a driven shot, which just ended up wide. If that had of gone in for Newcastle, the game could have taken a different route and proved more difficult for Liverpool. But it didn’t and the reds got stronger as the game progressed.
Suarez was soon causing danger. Newcastle had tried their best to keep him quiet in the first half and they hadn’t done a bad job of it to be fair. But you can’t keep Liverpools amazing number 7 quiet for long. In the 57th minute he was causing danger on the edge of the Newcastle box and was brought down, just inside. Penalty to Liverpool. Kuyt stepped up and slotted the ball home to make it 2-0.
In the 65th minute it was Suarez driving forward into the box, linking up with a one-two with Kuyt and placing the ball in the net to round off the scoring for the reds. And Suarez deserved his goal. The reds number 7 has been nothing short of brilliant since joining Liverpool in the winter.
Carroll came on against his old side in the second half for the last twenty minutes. But it was more of a chance to get a run out at the end of the day. The game had been won and Liverpool had done their job of moving into a European place in the league. It is a testament to Kenny Dalglish and his back room staff at how Liverpool go out to play football and enjoy it these days. The improvement is a sign of things to come.