Newcastle United (Edgar 45′ + 1) 1-5 Liverpool (Gerrard 31′, 66′, Hyypia 36′, Babel 50′, Alonso pen. 76′)
Stadium: St. James Park, England
Competition: English Premier League
Date: 28 December 2008
Kickoff: 12:00 GMT, 7:00 ET
Liverpool sent a message to the rest of the Premiership and thrashed not-for-sale Newcastle United by a score of 5-1. Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the live blog and feel free to leave comments below!
Liverpool will hope to maintain their slim lead in the standings by taking on Newcastle United. Liverpool are in uncharted territory, namely first place following Christmas, and their fans think that this could be their year. After a disappointing draw with Arsenal, Liverpool celebrated Boxing Day in style, as they thrashed Bolton, 3-0, behind a brace from under-pressure Robbie Keane, who has, seemingly, picked the best possible time to find his form. If Liverpool can continue their winning ways, then they’ll be in good shape once Fernando Torres returns after the New Year.
As for Newcastle, their recent form has been excellent, going unbeaten in 5 matches before losing a heartbreaker to Wigan Athletic on Boxing Day. They’re still in danger of relegation, though, and a victory would be just what the doctor ordered. Nevertheless, they’ve been getting by with excellent defense and timely scoring from a variety of players, not just Michael Owen, whose days at St. James Park could be numbered. Newcastle have several players rumored to be on the move, so this could be the last time we see several Magpie mainstays in the black-and-white. A strong run, starting with a win against the league leaders, however, could change those plans.
Should be an interesting match between two clubs in good form. Tune in and follow the action live!
Newcastle United: Given, Edgar, Enrique, Coloccini, Taylor, Butt, Guthrie, Gutierrez, N’Zogbia, Duff, Owen (c)
Subs: Harper, Geremi, Xisco, Ameobi, Kadar, Carroll, LuaLua
Three changes for the Newcastle side that lost to Wigan on Boxing Day. Bassong, who was sent off in that fixture, is suspended and will be replaced by Edgar. After getting his first start on Boxing Day, Viduka has picked up a slight groin strain and will miss out, as will Beye. They will be replaced by Taylor and Enrique.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Agger, Hyypia, Insua, Benyoun, Mascherano, Lucas, Babel, Gerrard (c), Kuyt.
Subs: Cavalieri, Keane, Riera, Alonso, Ngog, El Zhar, Skrtel.
Once again, Robbie Keane finds himself on the bench, but this time, it’s under far more different circumstances. He’ll be joined there by Riera, as the two goal-scorers from Boxing Day will be replaced by Lucas and Ryan Babel. Alonso will also sit out for the returning Mascherano. Liverpool will go with the same backline, which should get a boost from the returning Skrtel, who has been named as a substitute.
90′ + 2 There’s the whistle and we’re done! Thanks to everyone who followed along and Happy New Year! If you go to a New Year’s party, make sure you have a designated driver. You don’t want to ring in 2009 sitting in a crowded jail cell with a bunch of drunks, punks, thieves, and Joey Barton.
90′ + 1 Two minutes will be added on. Like it matters.
90′ Apparently, it’s a corner to Liverpool, and Given is absolutely incensed. He punts the ball into the crowd and he gets booked. I can understand why he’s frustrated. He doesn’t deserve to get beaten like this.
89′ Another chance for Liverpool as Insua whips a great cross from deep down the left wing and Lucas has a free-release on the header. Given blocks it right into the path of Ngog. He tries to head it into the open net, but he just pushes it wide. He needs to put that away.
88′ Another free kick for Newcastle deep in Liverpool territory. Guthrie takes it and whips in a cross into the box that is cleared away from danger by the Liverpool defense. Rafa leaves his seat and that should be that. Meanwhile, Robbie Keane looks like he’s at a funeral. Cheer up, man! Your team is in first place!
87′ Nothing doing on the corner. Oh well.
86′ Liverpool win a corner. Well, they do have that goal-difference to worry about.
85′ Newcastle have a good chance on the corner as Reina (who has been somewhat sloppy today), can’t handle it and it trickles dangerously in the box. Luckily for Liverpool, Newcastle can’t pounce on the ball, and the ball is cleared away from danger.
84′ Meanwhile, the mercy rule has not been invoked and the match continues. Lucas is called for a foul on the edge of the box, and Edgar sends in a great free-kick that Reina just manages to tip over the bar for a corner.
81′ Owen is sporting a pretty large gash on his knee after a tackle from Mascherano. I’ve noticed that Owen has only played well against mediocre clubs this year. Whenever Newcastle has played a good club, he’s been largely invisible. Then again, he hasn’t gotten much help from his teammates today.
79′ Liverpool get another one past Given as Lucas makes the run into the box and centers it to Ngog. Lucas is called off-side, though, and it looks like he was on-side. Oh well. Why rub salt into that wound? Meanwhile, Skrtel will come in for Kuyt and, for Newcastle, Owen will come off for Lualua.
78′ Well, the stat-line won’t be flattering for Given, but he’s been amazing today. I don’t think any of those goals were really his fault, and he got absolutely no help from his defense at all. This score should be 8-1, at least.
76′ GOAL! Edgar brings Ngog down in the box and the ref immediately points to the spot. It will be a penalty for Liverpool and Alonso steps up to take it. Given guesses correctly and nearly gets a finger on the ball, but it gets past him and Liverpool have goal #5. I bet Gerrard is steamed he wasn’t on the pitch to take that penalty.
74′ Liverpool clear the corner away, but Given comes way off his line to kick it back into the Liverpool penalty area. Reina goes up for it, but Taylor charges at him and he’ll get a yellow for that. He’s lucky not to get a red.
73′ Free kick near the center-line for Newcastle and Geremi sends it right at Reina. He drops it and Owen pounces on the loose ball. He has a poor angle and he can’t get it on target. He’ll win a corner, though, and Reina is getting medical attention.
70′ No hat-trick for Gerrard as he’ll be replaced by Ngog. I’m surprised Kuyt is still out there. He’s run himself ragged today. Why not give him a rest?
69′ Guthrie tries a long-range shot, but Reina makes the diving save. It ended being a much more comfortable save than it first appeared to be.
66′ GOAL! Gerrard sends it back to Lucas, who plays it back to his skipper after he makes a great run at Colocccini. He easily beats Coloccini and chips it over Given, who is forced to come out and play defense. A cool, professional finish from Gerrard and this one is out of reach. Liverpool will remain on top of the table.
60′ Alonso will come in for Benayoun as Liverpool make their first substitution.
59′ Good chance for Geremi here, and we’ll see what he can do. His free kick beats Reina easily, but bounces off the crossbar.
58′ Owen gets free and Mascherano pulls him down on the edge of the box. Mascherano is booked for his trouble and it’s clear he was taking that one for the team. Owen would have been through, otherwise.
57′ Sloppy effort from Reina as he drops the free kick. Before anyone can pounce on the loose ball, Reina recovers and collects the loose ball.
56′ Insua gets called for holding Amoebi from about 30 yards out or so. Should be an interesting free kick.
55′ Geremi comes in for Butt as Newcastle make their second change.
54′ Owen and Butt try a give-and-go on the edge of the box, but it gets cut out by Arbeloa.
50′ GOAL! Hyypia wins a corner after N’Zogbia concedes it. The corner is out to Lucas, who chests it down and fires it on target. Given stops it, but Babel is there to put the rebound in. Newcastle wanted a hand-ball on Lucas, but they aren’t going to get that call.
48′ Clever run from Amoebi and he gets behind the defense. He whips a vicious cross to the center of goal and it’s just past the head of a diving Owen. It’s out to N’Zogbia, whose shot gets blocked. Guthrie tries to chip it over Reina, but the keeper takes it easily.
47′ It looks like Enrique was hurt in the first half.
46′ Newcastle will make one change as Enrique will come off for Ameobi. I would assume that Duff would move into the midfield and Butt would take Enrique’s place on defense. Liverpool kick it away and we’re underway. Mascherano is limping after a poor tackle on Amoebi.
Liverpool dominated the first half and it took some superhuman goalkeeping from Shay Given to keep Newcastle within striking distance. The Magpies looked dead and buried until they snatched a goal right at the stroke of halftime and will go into the second half with the momentum. That’s football, I guess. It will be interesting to see what adjustments the teams make at halftime. Liverpool have been playing well, but their lackadaisical defending on set pieces is a cause for concern. As for Newcastle, they’ll need to figure out a way to keep possession so that their beleaguered defense won’t be constantly exposed to the Liverpool attack.
45′ + 1 GOAL! One minute will be added on. Corner for Newcastle as Agger knocks it out. Guthrie sends in the corner and Edgar gets a free release this time. He eludes Carragher and heads it past Reina. Wow. Some really sloppy defending from both sides on set pieces.
45′ Taylor gets a free release on the corner, but his header is just wide of the near post. Rafa Benitez (who’s barking out instructions from the stands via cellphone) won’t be happy about that.
44′ Good cross from Duff as he lifts a corner from the right wing. It’s knocked out by Agger for a corner.
42′ Think they’ll mark Hyypia this time? Apparently not as Hyypia gets another header on target as he shakes off his marker. Given makes another great save to force another corner. Wow. On the ensuing corner, Kuyt gets a free release but misses the ball, otherwise it would have been 3-0. Given is doing all he can to keep the score somewhat close. If not for him, then Liverpool would have 4 or 5 goals already.
41′ Babel wins a corner after Taylor knocks his cross out of bounds.
38′ Well, that disallowed Owen goal certainly looms larger, doesn’t it? Especially if you consider that, with the celebration, Liverpool would have been kicking it off in the 36th minute, and probably wouldn’t have been close to scoring.
36′ GOAL! Benayoun wins a corner for his team and Gerrard will take it. He sends in a great corner and Hyypia does what he does best and sends a powerful header that gets between Given and N’Zogbia. Well, he’s still a threat on those set pieces. That’s for sure.
34′ Owen finds the back of the net as Duff gets through and sends a great cross to the center of the box to Owen, who taps it past Reina easily. The ref calls Duff off-side, though, and it’s a terrible call as Duff clearly was on-side. Replay shows that he was clearly behind Insua when the ball was played through to him by Gutierrez.
31′ GOAL! You knew it was coming. Benayoun gets a clever through-ball from Mascherano down the right edge of the box. He sends it back out to Gerrard, who fires on target. He clips the post, but it still hits the back of the net and Liverpool take a deserved lead.
29′ Owen has only touched it twice, so far. And he’s been fouled each time. Probably not the start he was looking for.
28′ Gerrard with a volley from long range as he’s clearly just trying to catch Given off-guard. It’s well off target, though. Hey, if they can’t beat him from point-blank range, might as well see if they can catch him napping from long-range.
24′ If there were any doubts about Given’s ability, I think he’s answered them with that opening display. What a keeper! He’ll look great in a Manchester United kit in a couple of years. You know it’s coming.
23′ Gutierrez makes a nice move towards the box, but his pass to N’Zogbia down the left is long and allows Carragher to close him down.
21′ Lucas heads in the corner that Given somehow gets a hand on. Wow! What a save! Another corner that Hyypia gets a flick on. It’s cleared off the line and Newcastle escape again.
20′ Kuyt’s shot is deflected out for a corner.
19′ Dangerous cross from Gerrard that goes across Given and trickles in front of the keeper. Kuyt and Lucas have chances and Given somehow keeps it from going over the line. Wow. I have no idea how that ball didn’t go in.
18′ Duff gets in deep down the left flank and lays it off to N’Zogbia, who makes a nice overlapping run. He sends in a cross into the box for Owen, but it’s cut out by Reina.
17′ Gerrard sends in a great free kick to the far post where Hyypia is completely unmarked. It bounces just out of his reach, otherwise he would have buried that one.
16′ Gutierrez picks up a yellow for a hard tackle on Insua from about 30 yards on the left flank.
14′ Babel with a good cross into the box for Kuyt. He lays it off to Gerrard in the center of the box, who fires a hard shot on target. Given makes another great save and he’s really bailed out his team so far.
12′ Owen gets fouled hard by Carragher on the left flank and Newcastle will have a good free-kick chance here. Carragher really lunged at him and I’m surprised he wasn’t booked. The free kick is into the box towards Gutierrez, but it’s cleared by the Liverpool defense.
11′ Gerrard gets into the box once again, and he makes a move to his left. He tries to shoot, but Given comes out and knocks it away with his hands. Great play by the keeper there.
10′ Gerrard gets loose in the box cuts out a pass that’s intended for Babel. He shoots it and it gets blocked but the ball bounces to Kuyt. He tries a shot from up close, but Given blocks that one too. The ball goes out towards Babel, who tries a shot that gets blocked by the Newcastle defense.
8′ Hyypia greets Owen rudely and gets called for a foul. N’Zogbia gets a cross into the box from the left flank to Gutierrez. His header goes over the bar, and it’s a little tough to see with the sun in his eyes. I’m surprised it isn’t raining.
7′ Gerrard tries one from long-range, but it’s well over the crossbar. He had options to either side, but chose to go it alone there.
4′ Speaking of which, Babel nearly gets free in the box, but Taylor does a good job closing him down and taking the ball away.
3′ Big spot for a few players for Liverpool. Babel, who seems to be easing his way towards the exit, will get to show his stuff today, while Lucas will be looking to redeem himself for his horrendous performance against Arsenal last weekend. Plus Hyypia, who finally seems to be getting playing time, could see his minutes go down once again with Skrtel’s return.
2′ Gutierrez tries to spring Duff down the right flank, but the pass is too long and easily dealt with by the Liverpool defense.
1′ Newcastle kick off and we’re under way! Mark Halsey is our ref.
0′ The teams line up in the tunnel and we get a very tepid handshake between Owen and Gerrard. Interesting…
0′ Interesting how Carragher used to raise a stink whenever he had to play at right-back for England, but never makes a peep when he has to do it for Liverpool. Say what you will about Gerrard, but he hasn’t complained about Capello moving him around the pitch.
0′ It would be really interesting to see what kind of reception Michael Owen got if this match was taking place in Liverpool. Especially with those Everton rumors running rampant.
0′ The big news this morning is that Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley, has taken his team off the market. I guess it’s good for the short-term stability of the club, but you have to think that this whole thing is far from over. Still, you have figure that Ashley’s unpopularity will surely go away if the club starts winning. Look at what happened with the Glazers at Manchester United.
0′ It’s 6 AM here in Pittsburgh, PA, but I’ve got a gigantic cup of coffee. Let’s hope the match won’t put me to sleep.
0′ Hello everyone! Welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of the Liverpool vs. Newcastle match. I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger today.
Not much to be happy about if you’re a fan of Newcastle. They played about as poorly as possible and were lucky not to have lost by seven or eight. Their defense was thoroughly dominated by the Liverpool attack, and they were unable to generate consistent chances on offense. Even if that Owen goal had stood, they still would have been soundly beaten and if it weren’t for Given’s brilliance, the damage would have been much worse. Still, Newcastle will have some stability in light of Mike Ashley’s announcement, and things can only get better.
As for Liverpool, they’ll be upset that they didn’t put some of those chances away. Additionally, they had a couple of defensive breakdowns, and that won’t cut it against better teams in the Premiership. Still, there’s not much to be upset about, and Liverpool are exactly where they want to be as 2008 turns to 2009. In first place.
Man of the Match:
Couldn’t give it to Shay Given, even though he was probably the best player on the pitch today. After all, a four-goal loss is a four-goal loss, no matter what the circumstances are. Gerrard, once again, pulled the strings in midfield, and generated many chances for his team. He really should have had 3 or 4 goals, but he’ll take a brace any day.