MATCH REPORTS

Liverpool 2 Newcastle 1

Shola Ameobi


By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor

At Anfield

 

 

Liverpool 2 (Agger 63, Sturridge 65)

Newcastle United 1 (Skrtel og 20)

 

 

Nine-man Newcastle United let slip a one-goal lead to suffer a 2-1 defeat at Liverpool on the final day of the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season.

 

Martin Skrtel's own goal gave the Magpies a shock half-time lead at Anfield following a resolute performance which saw them defend well and look dangerous on the break.

 

But two goals in as many minutes from Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge was enough to hand the title-chasing hosts all three points - although they ultimately fell short and had to settle for second place.

 

And United's misery was compounded by Shola Ameobi and substitute Paul Dummett both being sent off by referee Phil Dowd.

 

The Magpies ended the season with a narrow defeat and had to settle for a tenth-place finish following Stoke's victory at West Bromwich Albion.

 

Liverpool were starting the afternoon still in the hunt for the Barclays Premier League title, but it was the Magpies who created the first chance of the afternoon with less than four minutes on the clock.

 

Moussa Sissoko won a corner which Vurnon Anita duly drilled deep towards the far post. Ameobi - rising above Jordan Henderson - made a firm connection but was unable to direct his header on target.

 

Five minutes later Ameobi went even closer, forcing Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet into a low stop with a downward header from Sissoko's deflected cross.

 

However, Liverpool weren't title-chasers for nothing and began to apply heavy pressure, with talisman Luis Suarez seeing a quickly-taken free-kick ruled out by referee Phil Dowd.

 

But the Magpies held firm and were rewarded for their bright, disciplined start on 20 minutes when they made a surprise breakthrough.

 

Gouffan raced down the left flank and delivered into the centre, where Skrtel sliced an attempted clearance past his own keeper and into the back of the net at the Kop end.

 

It was United's first away goal since Anita found the back of the net at Hull City on 1st March.

 

The hosts attempted an immediate response and Tim Krul had to be at his best to smother a close-range Agger header from Steven Gerrard's corner.

 

But Newcastle promptly raced straight up the other end and should have doubled their advantage through Gouffran.

 

A sublime through-ball from Ameobi split the Reds' defence and Gouffran used his pace to beat the offside trap and bear down on goal, only to see his effort brilliantly blocked by Mignolet.

 

Needing a victory to stand any chance of lifting the trophy, Liverpool piled on the pressure but United continued to stand firm, with Krul saving well from a low Suarez strike before Sturridge glanced a header wide.

 

The Dutch international goalkeeper was called into action again early in the second half when he got down well to turn Raheem Sterling's low effort behind, and then smothered Suarez free-kick which threatened to sneak in at his near post.

 

Liverpool's pressure was building and they duly turned the game on its head with two identical goals in as many minutes just past the hour mark.

 

Both came from inswinging Gerrard free-kicks around 25 yards out - the first stabbed home by Agger at the far post, and the second seeing Sturridge apply a similar finish in almost exactly the same spot.

 

And having gone behind, Newcastle's task was made even harder before they had even kicked-off, with Ameobi shown two yellow yards in a matter of seconds to be sent off by Mr Dowd.

 

Having lost his lone front man, manager Alan Pardew promptly introduced another, with Luuk de Jong replacing defender Steven Taylor, and Sammy Ameobi was also soon entering the fray, in place of Gouffran.

 

Dummett was United's third substitution of the afternoon and lasted all of six minutes before being given a straight red card for a lunge on Suarez.

 

But the Reds were unable to further benefit from their two-man advantage as the game finished 2-1 to the hosts.

 

 

Liverpool (4-3-3): Simon Mignolet; Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Jon Flanagan (Aly Cissokho 46); Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard (c), Joe Allen (Philippe Coutinho 59); Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge (Lucas 80)

 

Subs not used: Brad Jones, Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho, Iago Aspas

 

 

Newcastle United (3-4-2-1): Tim Krul; Steven Taylor (Luuk de Jong 72), Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini; Mathieu DebuchyVurnon Anita, Cheick Tiote (Paul Dummett 81), Massadio HaidaraMoussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran (Sammy Ameobi 78); Shola Ameobi

 

Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Davide Santon, Lubomir Satka, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa

 

 

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

 

Bookings: Liverpool - none; Newcastle - Debuchy (35), Anita (63), Gouffran (65), Shola Ameobi (66, 66)

 

Sendings-off: Liverpool - Lucas (88); Newcastle - Shola Ameobi (66), Dummett (87)

 

Attendance: 44,724 (2,800 Newcastle)

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