PREMIER LEAGUE: Liverpool go fifth with easy win over Newcastle
Liverpool managed to move into fifth position in the Premier League with a comfortable 3-0 home victory over Newcastle United today. The Reds cruised past the Magpies in a fairly lacklustre encounter which spurned a trio of goals to the home side who never really had to get out of second gear.
The first goal came in the 10th minute when a dangerous ball was played into the box with a poor Newcastle clearance falling to Maxi Rodriguez who volleyed home with the help of a deflection before Dirk Kuyt converted from the penalty spot just prior to the hour-mark after Luis Suarez was brought down.
Suarez added a third just over five minutes later with some nice interplay with Kuyt which was enough to send the Reds above Tottenham on goal difference whilst the Magpies went winless for a fourth-straight match but remained 12th with three games remaining.
Liverpool made most of the running early, looking like they were really here to play and it worked to their favour in the 10th minute when they opened the scoring. GOAL A well-worked move ended with young full-back John Flanagan sending in a ball from the right which was not properly cleared by Mike Williamson, his headed clearance falling to Maxi Rodriguez. The Argentine, fresh from last week's hat-trick, hit a first-time volley and even though he did not get hold of it fully, it took enough of a deflection off Danny Simpson and in past Tim Krul to make it 1-0.
The Reds were completely dominating possession as the half progressed and were close to a second in the 23rd minute when Jay Spearing tried his luck from outside the area but Krul was able to keep things at bay despite two opposition players bearing down on him.
Newcastle were struggling to string three passes together but around the half-hour mark started to come right into the contest with a series of corners where they looked decidedly more dangerous, especially at set pieces.
The Magpies were by far the better team in the closing stages of the opening term but were unable to really test Pepe Reina in goals for Liverpool as proceedings really petered out prior to the break.
Newcastle started the second half in a very bright fashion and had a chance immediately when skipper Kevin Nolan played a neat ball from the left into the path of Joey Barton but the midfielder's shot flew wide of the mark in what was a big let-off for the home side.
Straight away down the other end, Luis Suarez turned Jose Enrique on the edge of the area before skipping past Fabirico Coloccini and then sending a shot goalward which took a wicked deflection off Williamso and went agonisingly close to bobbling into the back of the net as Krul was left scrambling.
Just prior to the hour-mark, Reina cleared a long ball into the Reds forward third where Suarez got on the end of it, rounded Williamson near the byline and was brought down in the area. GOAL Referee Peter Walton had no hesitation in pointing to the spot with Dirk Kuyt stepping up to the plate to send Krul the wrong way for his seventh goal in his last eight matches, making it 2-0
The Dutchman was close to adding a third just moments later when Raul Meireles floated in a free-kick from the left but Kuyt's glancing header was too thin and it went inches by the near upright when it really should have ruffled the back of the net.
GOAL In the 65th minute it was 3-0 when Suarez had some fortune when he played a ball forward from the edge of the area to see it deflect off a Magpies defender to Kuyt. He played a deft flick back into the path of the Uruguayan who was able to tuck it past Krul from six yards for his third league goal for the Reds, essentially wrapping up proceedings in the process.
All the sting went out of the contest after the third goal as the players basically looked like they were playing for time and that's the way it panned out until the final whistle as the Reds recorded a vital win.
Liverpool Pepe Reina (gk) - John Flanagan (Shelvey 81'), Martin Skrtel, Jamie Carragher, Glen Johnson - Raul Meireles, Jay Spearing, Lucas Leiva, Maxi Rodriguez (Carroll 70') - Dirk Kuyt, Luis Suarez (Cole 87')
Subs - Peter Gulacsi (gk), Andy Carroll (70'), Jonjo Shelvey (81'), Joe Cole (87'), Sotirios Kyrgiakos, David Ngog, Jack Robinson
Newcastle Tim Krul (gk) - Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique (Ferguson 90+4') - Joey Barton, Cheik Tiote, Kevin Nolan, Jona Gutierrez - Peter Lovenkrands (Ranger 74'), Shola Ameobi (Kuqi 83')
Subs - Steve Harper (gk), Nile Ranger (74'), Shefki Kuqi (83'), Shane Ferguson (90+4'), Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor, James Tavernier