by John Kennedy
Scorers: Newcastle – Nolan (15), Barton (80), Carroll (90); Liverpool – Kuyt (49)
Newcastle line-up and ratings: Krul – 7.5, Simpson — 7, Campbell — 5, Taylor – 6.5, Enrique — 7, Barton — 8 (Routledge — NR), Tiote — 8, Nolan – 8 (Smith — NR), Gutierrez — 6, Ameobi – 5 (Ranger — NR), Carroll — 8
Liverpool line-up and ratings: Reina — 6, Johnson — 6, Kyrgiakos — 5.5, Skrtel — 5.5, Konchesky — 6, Kuyt — 6.5, Meireles — 7, Lucas — 6, Rodriguez — 5 (Jovanovic— NR), Torres — 5, Ngog — 5 (Babel — 4)
Alan Pardew’s reign as Newcastle manager got off to a surprisingly sweet start Saturday as the home side took advantage of another lackluster performance on the road from Liverpool.
Most of the pre-match publicity centered on the sacking of popular manager Chris Hughton and the appointment by controversial owner Mike Ashley of the less-than-charismatic Pardew. Smiles were more in evidence at the final whistle, however, with United winning a shade less comfortably than the 3-1 scoreline suggested.
In the absence of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, Liverpool failed to name one local player in the starting line-up, so it was with some irony that Scousers Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton were so instrumental in their downfall.
Nolan put Newcastle ahead against the run of play after 15 minutes when home-grown striker Andy Carroll, above, nodded down a Barton free kick for Nolan to finish. And after Dirk Kuyt had scored a somewhat fortuitous equaliser just after the break with a scuffed shot that took a deflection, it was Barton who restored Newcastle’s lead with 10 minutes remaining. A long kick from Krul was headed on by Nile Ranger, and catching Liverpool’s defense flat-footed, Barton stole in to finish decisively.
Newcastle made it difficult for Liverpool to push for an equaliser, but the visitors were finally put out of their misery with the best goal of the game from Carroll, who struck from outside the box to kill the game in injury time.
After the match, Pardew was understandably cautious in his comments, but there was no hiding his relief. Conceding it had been “a really heavy two or three days,” he was quick to give the credit to his players, acknowledging “the spirit they had already was great to see.”
Victory saw Newcastle leap-frog Liverpool into eighth place in the Premiership, and Pardew now has the luxury of a full week to work with his new squad before they visit Birmingham City next Saturday.
|45 %||Possession||55 %|
|3||Shots on target||5|
|3||Shots off target||12|