Liverpool ended with 10 men after Pepe Reina was sent off, leaving Jose Enrique to put on the goalkeeping gloves, as the reds horrendous Premier League form continued.
Liverpool have dropped a mammoth 18 points over the last 7 league games since winning the League Cup, obliterating the chance of Champions League football.
The reds can feel aggrieved that they were not handed an early penalty for handball, and the opportunity to play against 10 men themselves, but the difference in the two sides was that Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse took his two chances – whereas Liverpool, like so often this season, simply did not take theirs.
There were changes from last week’s team – with Shelvey coming in to the side alongside Bellamy, as the reds opted for a 4-3-3 formation.
Carroll, Bellamy, Enrique and Dalglish were all returning to their former club, and all four endured the boos from the home crowd.
Liverpool started brightly, and Andy Carroll was behind all of Liverpool’s good work in the first half. But he angered both reds and geordies when after doing so well to give himself a one-on-one with Newcastle’s Tim Krul, he fell to the ground without being touched. Whilst he did not claim for a penalty, the referee handed him a yellow – being of the opinion it was a clear cut dive.
Carroll reacted well to get to a header which went narrowly over, Bellamy saw a cross deflected on to the crossbar but it was Danny Simpson who stopped the reds going 1-0 up when he handled the ball on the goal-line. The referee and the assistant who was shielding his eyes from the glare of the sun failed to spot the foul, and Newcastle escaped with what should have been a penalty and a sending off.
Ben Arfa at the other end, made the most of a lack of protection in front of Enrique to whip in a fine cross. Skrtel was caught out and Cisse fired the header in off the post past Reina.
The second half started out as a more sterile affair. Newcastle hit the post, and at the other end Shelvey drove forward to force a save from Krul.
Ben Arfa and Ba were involved as Newcastle doubled their lead – although it was Cisse again who put the ball past Reina.
Things went from bad to worse when Reina was sent off in the 82nd minute.
Having collected the ball he was deliberately tripped by Perch. Pepe reacted furiously and feinted a head at Perch. The Newcastle player went down dramatically such was the force of air. Perch was booked for the foul. Reina was sent off for the simulated headbutt.
After 183 consecutive league games in goal, Reina will miss the next 3 games, including the FA Cup Semi Final against Everton at Wembley.
Jose Enrique was forced to don the gloves for the final minutes of the game but had little to do apart from one punched clearance.
Liverpool slip in to 8th place, one point and place behind their Merseyside neighbours.
Dalglish has banked a trophy in his first season in charge, but things change quickly in the mind of the modern football fan – and irrespective of the varying performances, the last 7 Premier League games have placed a degree of pressure on him.
Liverpool have 7 league games of pride left in the Premier League. Liverpool supporters everywhere will be hoping 2 successful cup games can be added to that.
Since the Robin Van Persie show at Anfield 6 games ago, we knew the game was up for 4th place. It appears that the players did as well.
Aston Villa travel to Anfield next Saturday. Three points for LFC will be the minimum acceptable return.