Liverpool 1 Newcastle United 1

Last updated : 15 May 2004 By Footymad Previewer

With the battle for the final Champions League spot already decided before the teams took to the field, some critics were expecting Liverpool to rest on their laurels.

But the Anfield faithful created an electric atmosphere from the start that also infected the players.

There has also been much unrest at Liverpool recently with the rival investment bids from the Thai Prime Minister and property tycoon Steve Morgan.

However, the Reds players exuded confidence and composure and Harry Kewell and Steven Gerrard created some clever early linking movements.

The Reds attempted to monopolise possession with Michael Owen chasing every stray ball and back pass to the keeper.

Danny Murphy surprised Newcastle with a deft lobbed pass that left Emile Heskey through on goal, but his first time shot fell wide of the mark.

Liverpool were then caught napping on the counter attack as Lee Bowyer drove through the midfield with shocking ease.

The ex-Leeds star ran unchallenged towards Liverpool's penalty area and laid off a delicate ball to Shola Ameobi.

The young striker wrong-footed Jerzy Dudek with a shimmy before calmly tucking the ball into the net after 25 minutes.

The Reds were shell-shocked by the goal and their chances were few and far between for the rest of the half.

Gerard Houllier must have given his players a rollocking at the break because they came out firing on all cylinders and instantly put Newcastle on the back-foot.

A good ball from John Arne Riise found Gerrard on the wing and with a quick touch he charged towards the box.

His curling cross fell perfectly at Heskey's feet, but the England striker failed to silence his critics by characteristically misjudging his shot and the ball went backwards.

The Reds hunger was rewarded shortly afterwards, but credit must be given to a stroke of genius from captain Gerrard in the 66th minute.

He picked up the ball at the same spot on the right flank. But this time he unleashed an unbelievable 50-yard curling cross which swirled past two Newcastle defenders to find Owen with no-one but the keeper to beat.

Even the England striker appeared stunned by the audacity of his team-mate's pass and just managed to toe poke it past Shay Given to level the scores.

All-in-all, not the most exciting duel between the two teams at Anfield, but a fitting end to their seasons.