MATCH REPORTS

Liverpool 3 Newcastle United 0

Maxi Rodriguez

By Anthony Marshall, at Anfield

 

Liverpool 3 (Rodriguez 10, Kuyt 59, Suarez 65)

Newcastle United 0

 

Newcastle were unable to complete the double over Liverpool this season as they suffered a 3-0 defeat away at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday.

Goals from Maxi Rodriguez, Dirk Kuyt and Luis Suarez gave the hosts a deserved victory as they continue to chase a European place at the end of the season.

Argentine Rodriguez struck after just ten minutes when a cross was headed into his path and he volleyed home via a slight deflection, but the Magpies grew into the contest and Shola Ameobi, captain Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton all had chances to level things up.

However, spurred on by a fantastic performance from Suarez, Liverpool put the contest beyond any doubt in the second half. The front man first won a penalty which Kuyt converted, before they swapped roles for Suarez to bag number three.

Liverpool carved out the first opening inside seven minutes when the visitors failed to properly clear a Glen Johnson cross from the left, but Raul Meireles' 15-yard volley trickled harmlessly wide of the far post.

But just three minutes later the Reds were in front. Youngster John Flanagan's right-flank delivery was headed away by centre-back Mike Williamson, but only straight into the path of Maxi Rodriguez and, following his hat-trick last week against Birmingham, the Argentine international needed no second invitation - sending a volley past Tim Krul with the aid of a deflection off Danny Simpson.

They almost had a second in the 23rd minute as midfielder Jay Spearing danced away from a couple of challenges before trying his luck from distance, but Krul smothered the ball at the second attempt with Meireles ready to pounce.

Newcastle were struggling to make any sort of impact in the opposition half, but sparked into life around the half hour mark with Shola Ameobi meeting a couple of Joey Barton set pieces. The first - a free-kick - he was unable to direct, but he then rose highest at the far post to connect with a corner, only to see his thumping header scrambled to safety by a clutch of Liverpool defenders.

Barton's balls into the box were starting to cause problems for the hosts' defence and goalkeeper Pepe Reina came and missed one before Kevin Nolan blazed a shot from the resulting corner wide as Barton laid it cleverly into his path.

Liverpool hit back as Lucas sent a looping free header towards the top corner, which Krul plucked out of the air, but the Magpies were soon back on the front foot and left-back Jose Enrique saw a free-kick deflect off the wall and behind for yet another corner.

The half-time break did nothing to stop Newcastle's momentum and they could have been level within 40 seconds of the restart. Gutierrez and Nolan combined well down the left and the latter picked out Barton at the far post, who could only sidefoot wide.

And the hosts almost made them pay immediately, with Luis Suarez racing straight down the other end, breezing past the challenges of Enrique and Fabricio Coloccini before finding the side netting with a shot which took a huge deflection off the face of centre-back Williamson.

On 57 minutes the same player then sent a left-wing cross onto Krul's crossbar and just 60 seconds later he had won Liverpool a penalty. Reina's long punt downfield was chased by Suarez and Williamson, and as the Newcastle defender tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick, the little forward pounced.

Williamson tried to atone for his error but only suceeded in bundling Suarez over just inside the box, with referee Peter Walton having no hesitation in pointing to the spot. And Dirk Kuyt did the rest from 12 yards, sending Krul the wrong way as he placed his spot kick low into the bottom left corner.

Kuyt should have grabbed his second - and Liverpool's third minutes later but he somehow contrived to head a Meireles free-kick wide of the target from seven yards, having found himself in acres of space.

Liverpool had found another gear and Suarez got the goal his performance deserved in the 65th minute, driving towards the edge of the area, exchanging passes with Kuyt and then slipping a side-footed effort past the helpless Krul.

Former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll was introduced with 20 minutes remaining in place of Rodriguez, and the visitors swiftly made their own front line change, replacing Peter Lovenkrands with Nile Ranger.

Meireles almost made it four on 75 minutes with a diving header, while at the other end Kevin Nolan was not too far away with a long range curling effort as the click ticked down. But that was as close as Newcastle came as they left Anfield goalless and pointless.

 

Liverpool (4-4-2): Pepe Reina; John Flanagan (Jonjo Shelvey 81), Jamie Carragher (c), Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson; Raul Meireles, Lucas, Jay Spearing, Maxi Rodriguez (Andy Carroll 70); Dirk Kuyt, Luis Suarez (Joe Cole 87)

Subs not used: Peter Gulacsi, Jack Robinson, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, David Ngog

 

Newcastle (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique (Shane Ferguson 90); Joey Barton, Cheik Tiote, Kevin Nolan (c), Jonas Gutierrez; Shola Ameobi (Shefki Kuqi 82), Peter Lovenkrands (Nile Ranger 74)

Subs not used: Steve Harper, James Tavernier, Steven Taylor, Ryan Taylor

 

Referee: Peter Walton

 

Attendance: 44,973

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