By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Liverpool 2 (Sterling 9, Allen 70)
Newcastle United 0
Ten-man Newcastle United suffered a fifth successive Barclays Premier League defeat as they went down 2-0 at Liverpool on Monday night.
A goal in each half from Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen was enough for the Reds to secure all three points at Anfield, while United had captain Moussa Sissoko dismissed late on.
Liverpool dominated large parts of the first period but only had Sterling's ninth minute strike to show for their efforts - a fine, curling strike having cut in from the left.
And the Magpies almost made them pay with half-time approaching. Ayoze Perez could have had a penalty following a wild Dejan Lovren challenge, before the Spaniard was then inches away with a fine header that was matched by an equally impressive save.
Allen's close range finish midway through the second half doubled the hosts' advantage and put the result beyond any doubt, with Newcastle's misery compounded by two bookings in just five minutes for Sissoko - meaning he will miss Sunday's visit of Tottenham Hotspur.
United looked bright in the opening exchanges and a rapid, slick counter-attack on five minutes ended with Remy Cabella's 20-yard strike being deflected behind for a corner.
But it was Liverpool who opened the scoring soon after through Sterling.
If the England international forward's control from Jordan Henderson's diagonal crossfield pass was impressive, what he followed it up with was even better, cutting inside and jinking past the challenges of Ryan Taylor and Gabriel Obertan before curling past Tim Krul and into the far corner.
The Reds were buoyed and Krul did well to save Alberto Moreno's angled drive before racing off his line to smother before Joe Allen could pounce on a through ball.
It was almost one-way traffic, as Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho were inches away from cutting the Magpies open with a free-kick routine straight off the training ground.
Sterling was next to try his luck, this time from distance, but his effort was too close to Krul, who saved comfortably.
A rare Newcastle attack in the 28th minute came close to yielding an equaliser. Daryl Janmaat and Gabriel Obertan combined down the right, and when Liverpool failed to properly clear their lines from the latter's cross, Abeid warmed the palms of Simon Mignolet with a left-foot volley.
But Liverpool were soon back on the front foot and Krul was forced into a superb one-handed block to keep out Lucas' header, as the defensive midfielder nodded Jordan Henderson's free-kick goalwards.
On 38 minutes, Newcastle should have been given the chance to level from the penalty spot, only to see a strong appeal turned away by referee Lee Mason.
Perez knocked the ball past Lovren, with the centre-back taking a big swipe at thin air which sent the Spaniar tumbling to the floor. But while the whole of Anfield held its breath in anticipation of the inevitable spot-kick, Mr Mason had other ideas.
Having scored the winner against Liverpool in the reverse fixture back in November, Perez clearly had the Reds in this sights again, sending a looping header towards the top corner at the Kop End, which was only kept out by the fingertips of Mignolet.
United started the second period as they had finished the first - on top.
Perez was agonisingly close to connecting with a cross from the right, while Moussa Sissoko's low drive brought a save out of Mignolet as the home crowd grew increasingly edgy.
Those nerves should have been settled in the 56th minute when Henderson's low cross from the right was missed by Ryan Taylor, leaving Sterling the simple task of finishing from six yards out with just Krul to beat.
However, astonishingly, the forward pulled his effort the wrong side of the upright.
Liverpool doubled their advantage with 20 minutes remaining through Allen's first goal of the season.
As a corner from the right was only partially cleared, Emre Can hooked it back into the danger area, with Allen pouncing on a heavy Mike Williamson touch to rifle past Krul.
Newcastle's night went from bad to worse with time running out when Sissoko was dismissed by Mr Mason.
Booked just five minutes earlier following a scuffle with Glen Johnson over a throw-in, the stand-in skipper's late tackle on Lucas earned him a second yellow card and an early bath.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Simon Mignolet; Glen Johnson, Emre Can, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno; Joe Allen, Lucas Leiva, Jordan Henderson (c); Jordan Ibe (Fabio Borini 58), Raheem Sterling (Rickie Lambert 88), Philippe Coutinho
Subs not used: Brad Jones, Javier Manquillo, Kolo Toure, Cameron Brannagan, Lazar Markovic
Newcastle United (4-3-3): Tim Krul; Ryan Taylor, Daryl Janmaat, Mike Williamson, Vurnon Anita; Moussa Sissoko (c), Mehdi Abeid (Adam Armstrong 75), Jack Colback; Gabriel Obertan (Jonas Gutierrez 67), Ayoze Perez (Yoan Gouffran 86), Remy Cabella
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
Bookings: Liverpool - Johnson (78), Moreno (90); Newcastle - Sissoko (78, 83)
Sendings off: Liverpool - none; Newcastle - Sissoko (83)