Maxi (10), Kuyt (pen) (59), Suarez (65)
Newcastle United 0
The red machine, having spluttered and coughed at the beginning of the season, now appears to be purring along smoothly. That’s thirty points from a possible forty two. Sadly we are near to the journeys end so perhaps can’t make the crossing into the part of Europe many now feel we are again capable of.
Fifth place, our highest position so far this season, was easily achieved. Newcastle showed some resistance but after a stand off, which was broken with our second goal, we prevailed. Can we go higher? I suspect not, Manchester City continue to keep us at arms length and games are running out so the dubious “honour” of Europa League football beckons again. I can’t say I welcome those madcap, balmy, magic, Thursday Channel Five nights, together with the Sunday catch up game, with open arms like a long lost friend. However, I suspect for the club, the players and Kenny it’s something that will be embraced and used positively for the overall good? Anyway it’s not ours to talk about yet so let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it’s not happened yet, one game at a time as they say.
Kenny made just one change bringing in Glen Johnson for Jack Robinson. Andy Carroll was given a place on the bench suggesting that he would play some part against his old club but injury, and fitness, would preclude him from playing anything other than a small closing stages cameo.
The first goal came early, a deflected effort from Maxi. His shot was charged into the ground, and then hit Simpson which threw Krul in the Newcastle goal. A rather lucky finish however the build up was excellent showing plenty of movement right through the team which ended up with Flanagan crossing from the left to Maxi.
The early goal, Maxi scored after just ten minutes, should have settled us down. It did but perhaps too much. I don’t know if it was the weather or the early kick off but after the great opening in which we really looked as if we were going to finish Newcastle very early we went to sleep. Thankfully Newcastle, despite plenty of possession and winning some potentially dangerous set piece opportunities, were unable to take advantage of this in the final third.
It was just as well, the more Newcastle perked up the more you thought that the next goal would play a significant part in the game? In the first minute after the break they had a great chance to stake a claim however Barton, from Nolan’s cross, guided his shot wide. We also had a go, Maxi hit the cross bar when perhaps if pushed he would admit it was a cross!
Throughout this Luis Suarez was working his socks off to try and make the breakthrough we so badly needed. It was therefore no surprise that he was eventually involved in the second goal picking up Reina’s long clearance and advancing into the area only to be felled by Williamson when he threatened to go past him. It was a bad error, Wilkinson had an opportunity to clear but instead he opted to play football with Suarez in his own area, there was only one outcome. Kuyt made no mistake from the spot to net his fourth goal in four games.
From then on we were in the ascendency, Kuyt should have scored from Meireles’ free kick. Then Suarez, again from ever creative Meireles, skied into the Kop. The Uruguayan deserved a goal for his work rate and determination and for being a constant pest to Newcastle, just after the hour he got his reward. A move on the right involving the player himself, Lucas, Johnson and a final, clever pass from Kuyt saw Suarez receive the ball in “position A” on the penalty spot, it was an easy task after that, job done and game over.
All that remained was for Kenny to introduce Andy Carroll, which he did for Maxi. The Newcastle fans played there part in the pantomime by abusing and jeering the ex player but was it worth it? What did it achieve? Did it make them feel better? Whatever the case, like their team on the pitch today, their verbose defiance was eventually eclipsed by the hosts.
Liverpool: Reina, G Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Flanagan (Shelvey 81), Meireles, Maxi (Carroll 69), Lucas, Spearing, Suarez (Cole 87), Kuyt, Substitutes: Gulacsi, Kyrgiakos, Robinson, Cole, Shelvey, Carroll, Ngog
Newcastle: Krul, Coloccini, Jose Enrique (Ferguson 90+3), Williamson, Simpson, Nolan, Barton, Gutierrez, Tiote, Lovenkrands (Ranger 73), Ameobi (Kuqi 82), Substitutes: Harper, Taylor, Taylor, Tavernier, Ferguson, Ranger, Kuqi