By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
At the Sports Direct Arena
Newcastle United 2 (Cisse 19, 59)
A goal in each half from Papiss Cisse earned Newcastle a 2-0 win over ten-man Liverpool in Premier League action on Sunday.
The Senegalese striker headed home midway through the first half, before rounding Reds keeper Pepe Reina and slotting home after the break - taking his tally at the Club to seven goals in seven appearances.
And it was a miserable afternoon for Reina, who was sent off late on for a spat with United centre-back James Perch.
And it was a huge win for the hosts, who strengthened their grip on sixth place and their hopes of a place in Europe next season.
A bright opening by both sides saw Liverpool carve out the first opportunity on four minutes when Jonjo Shelvey's 20-yard strike was deflected onto the roof of the net, but United went straight up the other end and Ben Arfa had a penalty appeal turned down when he tumbled under the challenge of former Magpie Jose Enrique.
Martin Skrtel then connected with a Steven Gerrard free-kick, only to head well over the top from close range, while another ex-United man, Carroll, soon found himself in referee Martin Atkinson's book for diving, having gone down untouched by goalkeeper Tim Krul.
The hosts' Dutch stopper was then called into action in the 15th minute, superbly tipping Craig Bellamy's deflected cross onto the bar, before Danny Simpson reacted quickly from the resulting corner to clear off the line and prevent Carroll from scrambling an opener.
But it was United who made the breakthrough, and it came on 19 minutes through the prolific Cisse, netting his sixth goal since his arrival on Tyneside in January.
Ben Arfa tricked his way first past Jay Spearing and then Shelvey, before curling a cross to the far post where Cisse rose above Martin Skrtel to head back across goal and in off the far post.
Liverpool were shocked and it took them almost ten minutes to force any kind of response. When it came it was through Carroll, who headed a loose ball over from close range, having seen Williamson cut out Bellamy's initial cross.
But the home side weren't content with one goal and refused to sit back on their lead. Ba almost doubled their advantage with a deflected strike that had Reina beaten, while from the resulting corner centre-back Williamson couldn't get his header on target.
With four minutes of the half remaining, Cisse was inches away from grabbing his second of the afternoon. Danny Guthrie seized on a loose ball by the corner flag, and when he chipped in a cross to the near post, Cisse glanced an effort agonisingly the wrong side of the far upright.
As the second half got underway, United continued where they had left off and Williamson struck the base of the post with a superb header after the visitors had failed to properly clear a Cabaye free-kick.
A rare Liverpool attack on 58 minutes saw Krul comfortably deal with a 20-yard effort from Shelvey, but Newcastle hit back immediately to double their advantage.
When Ba picked the ball up on the left of the penalty area he attempted to slip it into the path of Ben Arfa, and even though the French international was muscled out of the way, Cisse was on hand to collect, round Reina and tap into the unguarded net.
A mix-up in the Magpies' defence almost gifted Liverpool a way back into the contest, as Krul and James Perch both went for the same cross. The loose ball fell to Luis Suarez, but Perch recovered to throw himself in the way of the forward's shot and divert it behind for a corner.
United boss Alan Pardew made a couple of changes to freshen up his ranks, first replacing Danny Guthrie with Dan Gosling, before introducing Shola Ameobi for goal-hero Cisse, who left the Sports Direct Arena pitch to a deserve standing ovation.
Liverpool responded with three changes in four minutes, hoping to force their way back into the game, and Carroll, Bellamy and Shelvey were all replaced by Dirk Kuyt, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing.
But the Reds' cause got a lot harder in the 82nd minute as they were reduced to ten men. Williamson headed straight at Reina, who didn't like the challenge of Perch which followed. The pair clashed, going head to head, and Perch was booked by referee Mr Atkinson, with Reina seeing red for an alleged head butt.
With the visitors having used all their substitutes it was left to full-back Enrique to take over in between the sticks, but Newcastle were unable to test the stand-in keeper as they completed a memorable victory in front of a sell-out crowd.
Newcastle United (4-3-3): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, James Perch, Jonas Gutierrez (c); Danny Guthrie (Dan Gosling 65), Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye; Hatem Ben Arfa (Davide Santon 90), Papiss Cisse (Shola Ameobi 74), Demba Ba
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Ryan Taylor, Haris Vuckic
Liverpool (4-4-2): Pepe Reina; Jon Flanagan, Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel, Jose Enrique; Jonjo Shelvey (Stewart Downing 76), Steven Gerrard (c), Jay Spearing, Craig Bellamy (Jordan Henderson 80); Andy Carroll (Dirk Kuyt 79), Luis Suarez
Subs not used: Alexander Doni, Fabio Aurelio, Sebastian Coates, Maxi Rodriguez
Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)