Despite all the controversy surrounding Newcastle’s new manager, Alan Pardew, arriving this week after the shocking (to some) sacking of Chris Houghton by the very unpopular owner, Mike Ashley, the Magpies and their fans came out very happy from their match with Liverpool at St. James’ park, beating Roy Hodgson’s men 3-1, with goals from Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Andy Carroll.
Newcastle’s win brought them up to 8th with 22 points, same as Liverpoo who are now a spot below them. Liverpool, who have won only once away from home this season didn’t, as usual, failed to produce a solid performance, especially on defense, where Skrtel and Kyrgiakos failed to provide the safety net a very unconfident Jose Reina needed.
In the first half it was Shola Ameobi and Carroll who troubled the Liverpool defense creating the chances and eventually the goal for Kevin Nolan (his 8th of the season and first since October).
The second half opened well for Liverpool who (sort of) blitzed Newcastle, or as close to a blitz a limited side (these days) like Liverpool can produce. Eventually, a Sol Campbell mistake in the 49th minute allowed Dirk Kuyt to score his third goal of the season, with his shot deflecting off of Steven Taylor’s blocking attempt.
The next 10 minutes were all Liverpool, with Torres missing a fantastic opportunity and Newcastle in general being pushed back while the Reds, with Lucas and Meireles pushing them forward, dominated with ease. When youngster Nile Ranger came on for Newcastle instead of Ameobi, the visitors momentum stopped, and the game became very fast paced but evenly matched. Skrtel, with another mistake, allowed Barton to penetrate the Liverpool penalty box with ease and score his second goal of the season, beating Reina.
Bringing on Jovanovic and Babel didn’t add anything to Liverpool, who attacked without really creating any real danger, leading to Carroll’s 10th of the season, getting a free attempt from the weak Liverpool defense to shoot at Reina’s goal from just over 20 meters, scoring with a very sharp kick to the bottom of Reina’s left corner.
So what now? Newcastle finally won after five consecutive win-less outings and there’s nothing like points to silence protesting fans. Pardew might find himself becoming a popular figure in the North East. He just needs to hope the rumors about the forthcoming sale of Andrew Carroll in January will stay as hearsay and nothing more.
Liverpool? They haven’t played well all season, but at home, against mediocre (at best) sides it’s enough. With players like Lucas, Maxi Rodriguez, a terrible centre back like Skrtel, without Gerrard and a keeper who seems to have lost confidence and a manager that seems out of his league many times it’s going to be a sea-saw kind of ride this season and nothing more than a Europa League ticket come May.