By guest writer: Jamie McLaughlin
With the games coming thick and fast at this busy time of the year Liverpool were next to face a Newcastle side at Anfield who have had a great start to the season, but have started to struggle a bit in recent times. Liverpool went into the match trying to sort out their home form having drawn far too many for Dalglish’s liken. An added interest in this fixture is former Newcastle favourites’ Enrique and Andy Carroll facing their old team.
Kenny made two changes to the side that drew with Blackburn on Boxing Day, with Bellamy and Spearing coming in for Maxi and the suspended Suarez. So all eyes were on Andy Carroll in the absence of Luis Suarez to find his goal scoring form against his old team. The defence was unchanged leaving Carragher once again on the bench with Adam and Spearing in the middle of midfield and Bellamy on the left and Downing playing once again on the right. Gerrard started on the bench as he looks to get his match fit.
Liverpool started on the offensive and Adam miscued an early chance in the first couple of minutes. Then Agger made a surging run from defence only to drag his shot five yards wide. Liverpool kept up the pressure and Downing had the next chance with a near post drive but Krul was equal to it.
But Liverpool was stunned in the 25th minute when Taylor sent in a dangerous cross which was flicked on by Cabaye only to be diverted past Reina via Agger’s arm. It was a real shock to the home side who had been on the attack for most of the half.
But Liverpool responded quickly and drew level just 4 minutes later when Bellamy fired in a low drive after good work from Adam. The home side continued to press and Martin Skrtel almost made it two but he headed just wide from a corner.
The second half started with Liverpool struggling to get possession as Newcastle found their passing game. There was a feeling inside Anfield that this could be another one of these games that would end up in a draw. Dalglish brought on Gerrard with half an hour to go and he lifted the whole stadium. Suddenly Gerrard was orchestrating Liverpool. Gerrard sent over a superb cross from the right but Carroll just failed to connect and then Gerrard found Carroll inside the box with a superb pass but the big striker’s control let him down when clean through.
Then in the 67th minute Liverpool were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out, Bellamy’s shot flew past Krul thanks to Carroll making a nuisance of himself in front of Krul, confusing Simpson and Krul. There was relief all around Anfield. But Newcastle almost equalized when Ba got behind the Liverpool defence, but his clipped effort was brilliantly cleared off the goal line by Skrtel who ended up in the net.
Next Gerrard whipped in a dangerous cross which Carroll headed off the crossbar, but Liverpool got their deserved third goal when a good move ended up with Gerrard bursting into the left side of the penalty area before slotting the ball underneath Krul from a tight angle sending the crowd wild in celebration. Liverpool saw out the rest of the match comfortably giving them a much needed home win.
Great to see Bellamy come back into the side with Carroll up front in the absence of Suarez. I was very worried when we fell behind to a freakish goal as we were struggling to create many chances. Bellamy was superb and took his goals superbly. Jay Spearing was superb and lucky to have both legs intact after being on the end of a horrific tackle. But I felt this is the fewest chances we have created in a match and yet we scored three goals which is very pleasing. But the turning point was the introduction of Gerrard who produced so many quality crosses and passes and what a goal. Great credit to Skrtel who produced an amazing clearance off the line. Great to see us get a much needed win at home.
Man Of The Match – Bellamy – scored 2 goals and was dangerous all night, great energy and pace shown.
Written by Jamie McLaughlin, who writes for Anfield News
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